For drone war advocates, the legitimacy of the targeted killing program rests on the notion that those targets pose a threat to America and US troops in neighboring Afghanistan. The AUMF and the principle of “imminence” supposedly form the legal basis of the drone war.
As the Obama administration has said, drone strikes are authorized only against “specific senior operational leaders of al-Qaeda and associated forces” involved in the Sept. 11, 2001. “It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative,” Obama said on CNN. “It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.”
There are basically three categories of people who still believe drone strikes adhere to these standards: (1) right-wing hawks, (2) Obama/Democratic Party sycophants, and (3) the general public, which refuses to read the newspaper.