Opinion: USA usage of drones

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.

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