Research Paper: Drone Strikes Target Drone Legality

Pages: 20 (5572 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 25  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The use of drone attacks for target killings is weakening the rule of law and can also be manipulating the international law in their own favor. Killings can be a lawful act in an armed conflict (a place like Afghanistan) but many of the target killings are taken in places where people are unarmed and cannot be recognized as an armed conflict.

In some of the cases there have been secondary drone strikes which have killed or injured the rescuers who were helping the killed or injured people from the primary drone strikes, if that is true then the further attacks were a war crime and are punishable according to the international laws. All the drone attacks have been justified by the U.S. As a reaction to the 9/11 attack and Heyns has criticized the U.S. policy as he says that "It is hard to understand that how are the killings in the year 2012 be a justification for the reaction of 9/11 killings." He is of the opinion that many of the states have been inventing new laws just to justify strong states' practices.

The targeting is often falling outside the scope of any accountable action because it is operated by foreign intelligence agencies which are not accountable to any international organization or the United Nations as a matter of fact. The term given to the drone attacks is target killing however this term can be challenged because it shows only little amount of violence that it causes. There are many civilians killed in the "targeted killings" which means that the targets are not the only victims of the drones.

The UN needs to conduct an independent investigation and clear out all the conspiracy theories as at the moment all of the killings from the targeted drone attacks are legitimized by the international laws and they must be sorted out before things get out of the hand of the United Nations and the international laws. So far the use of drone attacks has not been able to kill the disease of terrorism instead the acts of terrorism have increased since the drone attacks have increased. Drone attacks have led to greater level of terrorism instead of reducing it.

US has been defending the use of drone strikes for target killings as their act of self-defense against the terrorist groups such as Al Qaida and Taliban which according to them are a serious threat to the national security of United States of America and a matter of international security as well. The U.S. Congress is in no mood to change their drone policies as they have been able to kill many of their top targets and many other terrorist groups and terrorists are to be countered with the use of drone attacks as it causes less damage to the U.S. military.

According to some reports U.S. drone strikes have killed almost 4,000 people since 2002 in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries. Out of these 4,000 people a significant portion of the deaths were of civilians. The numbers have escalated heavily under the Obama Administration.

The International Court of Justice doesn't seem to be satisfied with the U.S. drone attacks and have been highlighting the fact that they have breached many international laws and have damaged the reputation of International Court of Justice. However they have been unable to take any action against the drone strikes.

Obama Administration

John O. Brennan is the assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, justifies the use of drones against the domestic and international laws in his speech on April 30th 2012, by acknowledging the fact for the first time that they have been using drones to kill a few selected members of Al Qaeda. With regard to the domestic law he has stated that the Constitution of America has given them the power to protect their country from any threat. AUMF has given them the authority to use any kind of strategy to encounter any terrorist activity which can cause damage to their country. AUMF stands for Authorization for Use of Military Force which was passed by Congress after the 9/11 attacks. AUMF has stated that they can use any kind of appropriate force necessary to face the terrorists who are responsible for the 9/11 attacks, which means that they can use every force that they have against Al Qaida. With regard to the international laws, Brannan has stated that U.S. is in armed conflict with Al Qaida, Taliban and their allied forces in retaliation to the 9/11 attacks and are allowed to use any kind of force to combat their enemies as it is a matter of their self-defense. The international law has nothing that can stop the U.S. from employing their strategy of drone attacks.

The process of selecting the targets was altered in the year 2011/2012 in order to make a certain group of people of White House to call all the shots. They compiled a list of terrorists who were to be targeted and the agencies were given those names in a weekly meeting held in White House. Obama was at the top of the selection process and he was the ultimate decision maker when it came to selecting the potential targets for the drone attacks. He was also responsible to decide the priority of target killings in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

The Congress of United States of America reviews their policy of drone strikes, which had increased to a great deal under the Obama regime, every month. The staff members of the White House and intelligence agencies watch all the videos and calls recorded by the intelligence agencies and then they discuss among themselves whether to continue with their policy or not.

The Congress has not been critical of the drone strikes. However recently there were 26 lawmakers who questioned Obama over the drone strikes claiming that the armed men were attacking in a behavior which can be called terrorist activities. The signature strikes (a term given to the drone attacks) curbed in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. In Pakistan the signature strikes were common for the past few years but in 2012, Obama gave permission to use signature strikes in Yemen in order to target an Al Qaida affiliate. These signature strikes can easily kill civilians and have been killing many innocent civilians which are a concern for the international community.

Drone attacks in Pakistan

The Government of United States has made a number of attacks on their suspected targets in Pakistan's northwest area. It has been happening since the year 2004. America has used unmanned aerial vehicles (which are called drones); these are controlled by CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). These drone attacks are all part of the strategy against "War on Terrorism." The War on Terrorism is against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants residing in Pakistan. FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) has been most affected by the drone attacks which are situated along the Afghani border. The drone attacks have increased a great deal in the Obama's Presidency. Media often has termed these series of attacks as "drone war." This series of drone attacks has caused the relationship of the two countries to deteriorate and is responsible for a lot of undue tension between Pakistan and the United States of America.

Pakistan's Government has played an extremely critical role in the drone strikes. They have publicly condemned the drone attacks however they have taken the United States intelligence in confidence and have shared much important secret information with them. The Pakistan Government has also allowed these drone strikes as they have given permission to Americans on 150 bases and strike drones on their own country. Wikileaks has revealed that the chief of Pakistan Army General Ashfaq Kiyani had agreed to the drone attacks, in fact he had asked the Americans to increase the number of drone flights. On the contrary Rehman Malik who is the Interior Minister of Pakistan has that the Government and the people of Pakistan are extremely agitated by the drone attacks and they are being victimized by America. In general public of Pakistan there is a growing Anti-American sentiment.

The number of causalities caused by the drone attacks differs a great deal that are mentioned in various reports. According to a report compiled by Daniel L. Byman, the number of militants killed by the drone strikes is extremely low compared to the number of civilians and innocent people killed in the drone strikes. On the contrary, the report presented by the New American Foundation has given an estimate of 80% militant killings from the drone strikes. This report has been backed up by the Pakistan military who claim that many hardcore workers of Taliban and Al Qaeda have been killed by the drone attacks. The CIA has mentioned that they have killed over 600 militants in the drone attacks since 2010 and they have not caused any damage to the civilians in the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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