Prior to Monday’s presidential debate between Republican nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, a debate that focused primarily on foreign policy, filmmaker and president of the Brave New Foundation Robert Greenwald co-authored an editorial for the Huffington Post opining that America deserved to hear Mitt Romney and President Obama talk about drone strikes in their last debate.
The numerous legal, ethical and tactical questions about America’s use of drone strikes overseas – which the Obama administration justifies by pointing to the 2001 authorization of military force against perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks – are enough to warrant the candidates’ full views on how they would use drones in the next four years and how they view said litany of concerns over the policy. (Just Foreign Policy’s Robert Naiman has summarized the issues well.) The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has counted as many as 884 civilian deaths – including 176 children – in Pakistan alone as a result of U.S. drone use, which counters the government’s claims that drones are a precise tool that allows for minimum “collateral damage.” And a recent report by researchers at Stanford and NYU found strong evidence of “double tapping,” or drones firing on civilian rescuers following an initial strike on certain targets, in Pakistan.
That President Obama has a “kill list,” revealed by the New York Times earlier this year, is one of the most shocking, revealing parts of the drone policy. The “kill list,” sans due process or any real judicial or congressional oversight, is comprised of individuals the Obama administration has deemed terrorists worthy of assassination, usually by way of a CIA drone strike. Needless to say, this “kill list” has been the subject of much debate, though the U.S. government does not officially acknowledge the CIA’s drone program, much less share results of its strikes with the public.
While Mitt Romney and President Obama did in fact talk about drone strikes during Monday’s debate, their discussion centered around Mitt Romney agreeing with President Obama’s increased use of unmanned drones to assassinate American citizens suspected of terrorist activities without the benefit of those due process rights our Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee to all Americans.
Here’s Mitt Romney agreeing with President Obama on the use of unmanned drones.