Safety and Security in the Post-Hiroshima World

Information Breakdown: Drones, Extrajudicial Killings, and What the Obama Administration Is and Isn’t Saying

Following is a list of resources about the debate surrounding the Obama administration’s use of drone strikes to kill “imminent” threats to America–even when those threats are American citizens themselves:

  • The breaking story at NBC detailing the release of a 16-page “white paper” on the extrajudicial killings of American citizens by way of the US’s drone program.
  • The text of the white paper.
  • An NYT article highlighting the perils of the secret-but-not-so-secret drone war in Yemen.
  • Another NYT article outlining the Obama administration’s desire to include Congress in on the development of a legal framework for the drone program.
  • Live updates on current top counterterrorism official John Brennan’s confirmation hearing for the post of CIA director (from The Daily Beast; note that the hearing took place on Thursday, February 7th, and so the “live” updates function more as a timeline of the hearing now).
  • A more in-depth look at the hearing and its connections to the latests events surrounding the US drone program (from CNN).
  • Amy Davidson blogs at The New Yorker about the dangers of robbing an American of his rights based on his actions (quote of note: “That there may have been a good deal of evidence against al-Awlaki is why his case should have gone before a court, not why it shouldn’t have. What happened to the idea that it is precisely when we are the most enraged, and the least popular, that we need to be the most careful?”).
  • At The New York Review of Books Blog, Georgetown University law professor David Cole addresses the legal ramifications–and perils–of the recently released white paper.
  • In another article, this time at the Washington Post, David Cole gets down to the most troubling issue about the white paper: “The policy permits the government to kill its citizens in secret while refusing to acknowledge, even after the fact, that it has done so.” (Another notable quote: “There may be extraordinary occasions when killing a citizen is permissible, but it should never be acceptable for the government to refuse to acknowledge the act. How can we be free if our government has the power to kill us in secret? And how can sovereign authority be accountable to the people if the sovereign can refuse to own up to its actions?”)
  • At The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky takes issue not with the fact that Anwar Al-Awlaki was killed but with the secrecy surrounding it, boiling the affair down to this idea: Even if the target should be killed, there must be a deliberate process to that killing, and that process cannot be kept a secret (much along the same line as Cole’s thinking).
  • As cited in Tomasky’s post, Joan Walsh gives her take on the white paper at Salon.com.
  • At CNN, a more general look at the rise of drones technology throughout the world.
  • Living Under Drones, a report that illustrates the psychological and physical realities of living in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where drones hover nearly 24/7.
  • Finally, the NYT article that first began bringing Obama’s drone program out of the shadows (note: it is in this article that Obama is reported as saying that the choice to kill Anwar Al-Awlaki was an “easy one”).
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Categorised in: Drones, Middle East, News Briefs, North America, Regions, Security Issues, South Asia, Special Editions, Terrorism and Counterterrorism

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