The Trouble With Drones

The Obama administration has floated a plan to shift drone operations from the Central Intelligence Agency to the military. This is supposed to make targeted killings of suspected terrorists more transparent and accountable, but so far it looks as if it would be a marginal improvement. Popular discontent with the drone program has built slowly as drone missions grew from 50 strikes under President George W. Bush to more than 400 under President Obama, and it dawned on Americans that remote-controlled killing had become a permanent fixture of national policy. The issue came to a head when Mr. Obama named John Brennan, who created his drone policy as chief counterterrorism adviser, to be C.I.A. director and critics raised legal, moral and practical objections. Among the complaints: an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed in Yemen in 2011 without due process; too many civilians have become collateral damage; and drone strikes are increasingly projecting a harmful, violent image of American foreign policy.

The New York Times, United States

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