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Real News': Is Obama Above the Law on Drone Attacks?

Matt Welch, Will Cain talk drones on Real News 11/26

Complaints about President Barack Obama's willingness to conduct drone strikes are not uncommon in conservative circles, but a new report from The New York Times says that when facing the possibility of not getting reelected, the administration had begun to hastily put together a set of clear standards and procedures for all presidents to follow on drone strikes:

Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.


Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.

Though publicly the administration presents a united front on the use of drones, behind the scenes there is longstanding tension. The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes; Justice Department and State Department officials, and the president’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, have argued for restraint, officials involved in the discussions say.

The irony in the alleged action by the administration is that conservatives have bashed the president's murderous, not-so-secret drone program for years; making the implied fear from the Obama administration of the power to conduct drone attacks going into Republican hands ridiculous.

Also, showing how far we are from the global attitude during George W. Bush's time leading War on Terror, the U.N. is now seeking to use drones in peacekeeping missions in Africa. Peacekeeping drones that could be armed.

On "Real News" Monday the panel discussed the Obama administration's drone attack guidelines plan, and with news of the U.N. use of such procedures, who will decide and enforce if the U.N. use of drones obscures human rights. Hypocrisy aside, is the Obama administration right to seek clearer guidelines for the use of drone attacks? Are they ethical permissible for certain military scenarios?


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