2012 was the year of drone assassination operations in Afghanistan. It is widely quoted that a report by U.S Air Force shows that Washington has launched about 450 unmanned drone strikes over the past 12 months. The latest news is that a U.S. drone strike has killed an al-Qaida commander in Pakistan’s northwest.
Breaking ranks – we wish!
The Future Programme of the British Parliament’s Defence Committee, whose members do not include any of the ‘usual suspect’ MPs appreciated by the peace movement, are to include in their programme an assessment of the effect of changes in the interpretation of the law on the prosecution of operations, and the use of remotely piloted aircraft – “drones”.
The Financial Times reports, under the headline, ‘America’s drone war is ‘out of control’
“America’s expansion of this secretive programme is finally attracting legitimate criticism and concern – and not just from the usual civil-liberties types.
“Kurt Volker, a former US ambassador to Nato for George W. Bush, asked recently in The Washington Post:
- What do we want to be as a nation?
- A country with a permanent kill list? …
- A country that instructs workers in some high-tech operations centre to kill human beings on the far side of the planet because some government agency determined that those individuals are terrorists?”
The precedents set could come back to haunt the US and its allies
Many countries – from Turkey to Russia and China – claim to be waging a war on terrorism and many of them are manufacturing drones – see an overview of proliferation.
Some of them might well feel free to follow the example set by America and decide to start eliminating enemies on foreign soil through the use of drone strikes.