There is little question the use of drones by American presidents has become an accepted practice of war in the struggle against “terrorism” in the world. Drones began to be used during the Bush administration, but since the election of Barack Obama they have exponentially expanded in size and use. Drones are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of insurgents, including the recent death of al-Qaeda leader, Mustafa al-Yazid — along with his entire family. Failed Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad insisted he was driven to attempting to set off a bomb by what he termed the unfair practice of sending drones to kill people down below. There is no sign President Obama will curtail this CIA initiative or that he is concerned over legal issues of these killings. Philip Alston, a UN investigator, released a report which urges establishing rules and regulations on the use of drones since so many of these strikes have also resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians. As he stated in his report; “unlike a state’s armed forces, its intelligence agents do not generally operate withuin a framework which places appropriate emphasis upon ensuring compliance with international humanitarian law rendering violations more likely and causing a higher risk of prosecution for war crimes and for violations of the laws of the state in which any killings occur.”
Issues raised by the Alston report should be discussed in legislatures and some effort made to restrict the use of drones when, most likely, a strike will kill innocent people.