If suspected of terroristic involvement, the U.S. Executive branch may soon have unprecedented authority to order drone strikes on U.S. citizens on foreign soil.
The Department of Justice has created the White Paper; a document that is to be considered by congress to construct the legalities for a possible bill that would grant the U.S. government to use lethal force, such drone usage, in a foreign country against a U.S. citizen who is an associated force of Al-Quaeda.
Drone use is becoming increasingly common and is being referred to as Obama’s “weapon of choice” due to the fact that drone use has increased by eight times the amount as compared to the term of President Bush. However, this is because drones have proved to be effective weapons for the U.S. in killing Al-Quaeda terrorists. However, to many the line between right and wrong became hazed when U.S. born citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi was suspected of involvement with Al-Quaeda and killed by a drone strike in Yemen.
At face value, this seems unethical. However, the White Paper clearly instructs that lethal procedure can only be enacted if a “high level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States” as well as, “capture is unfeasible and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible.” In other words: lethal force will only be enacted as a last resort.
Al-Quaeda has been a threat to the United States ever since the September 11 attack shattered the lives of thousands of families and threatened the safety of the country. After this nation-wide devastation, President Bush created the Patriot Act in 2001. The purpose of this Act is in its very name: Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (PATRIOT). This illustrates that the need for a preemptive measure has been realized since 2001. Additionally, the Safety Act was passed in 2002; Support of Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology Act of 2002 (SAFETY).
Drone usage, weather against U.S. citizens or not, is the next step in a progression of many laws created on the basis of martial law to protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks. Webster Dictionary defines martial law as “the law administered by military forces that is invoked by a government in an emergency when the civilian law enforcement agencies are unable to maintain public order and safety.” The key word here is emergency. Those who are suspected of terrorism against America will only be acted upon if they violently threaten to cause a state of emergency concerning the safety of U.S. citizens as a whole.
If a U.S. citizen has joined Al-Quaeda, turned their back on their home country and is making advances to violently attack masses of U.S. citizens, they are no different than any other foreign terrorist. They have betrayed their allegiance. In order protect the loyal citizens of the United States of America, the government cannot sit idly and watch such traitors brew terrorism.