Moral Outrage
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U.S. “ill-defined license to kill without accountability”

The United States was identified Wednesday as the world’s No. 1 user of targeted killings — largely as a result of its dependence on unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A report released by the United Nations called the drone attacks part of a “strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability” and warned that they are contributing to an erosion of longstanding international rules governing warfare.

Philip Alston, the report’s author, a New York University law professor who also works for the U.N. Human Rights Council, says this “ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other states can have without doing grave damage to the rules designed to protect the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions.”

In the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency, unmanned aircraft — or drones — attacked militant targets 45 times. Since President Barack Obama took office, the numbers have risen sharply: 53 last year and 39 so far this year in Pakistan alone, according to the New America Foundation, a Washington foreign policy think tank.

The report distinguishes between drone attacks conducted by the Pentagon and those launched by the CIA. The U.S. military has a “relatively public accountability process,” Alston said. But CIA attacks responsible for the deaths of “many hundreds of people … remain shrouded in official secrecy.”



One Response to “U.S. “ill-defined license to kill without accountability””

  1. […] the Obama administration has increased drone attacks and other clandestine military operations in Pakistan, they have been cautious not to call it the […]

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