Obama Defends US Drone Program
Barrack Obama defended the use of drones and announced more narrow parameters for the use of them to kill terrorists overseas.
In a speech on counterterrorism policy at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., Obama defended the drone strikes as legal and necessary to national security, saying “We must define our effort not as a boundless 'global war on terror' - but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America. In many cases, this will involve partnerships with other countries."
He added that much had changed since the attacks on Sept 11, 2001. “The threat today is more diffuse, with Al Qaeda's affiliates in the Arabian Peninsula - AQAP -the most active in plotting against our homeland. While none of AQAP's efforts approach the scale of 9/11, they have continued to plot acts of terror, like the attempt to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day in 2009.”
He said, “As we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”
Regarding future drone use, he said he is narrowing the cases in which his administration will use remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, to kill suspected al Qaida terrorists.
He said, “It is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”