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Der Standard, Austria

The US Debate over Drone
Warfare: Presumptuous Executives

Translated By Catherine McGuinness

8 February 2013

Edited by Kyrstie Lane


Austria - Der Standard - Original Article (German)

America's image, which Obama thought he had just polished up, has acquired ugly scratches again due to drones.

It took a while, but now at last the U.S. debate over drone warfare has begun. Since John Brennan, Barack Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor, was announced as the next CIA Director, the focus has turned to this discussion. Yet the focus is strangely narrow, concentrating on the question of whether U.S. citizens must be involved — as if Afghans, Pakistanis and Yemenis killed by drones were merely collateral damage. Still, the U.S. legislature has woken up. They quarrel publicly with an executive which itself presumes to execute terror suspects without judgment.

Of course, those who operate with drone strikes save larger contingents of troops in crisis areas. It is precisely for this reason that Barack Obama uses the alleged miracle weapon — much more intensively than George W. Bush, by the way. For political reasons, the White House must weigh the pros and cons of this kind of warfare more skeptically than it has thus far. The remote-controlled missile strikes have fuelled resentment and anger in the Islamic world in a manner similar to the humiliated detainees in Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib.

America's image, which Obama thought he had just polished up, has acquired ugly scratches again due to drones. A president who authorizes killing in small areas is as far from a Nobel Peace Prize laureate as the illegal procedure is from the constitutional law that Barack Obama studied.



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