Senator Rand Paul’s recent filibuster was possibly the most bold attempt yet to bring the debate over drones to the forefront of the collective American consciousness. Yet, on the whole, there seems to be little if any new meaningful discussion happening over the constitutional or moral ramifications of our targeted assassination program. One can’t help but wonder why this is; certainly if George W. Bush were in office there would be calls for impeachment.
As stated in the cartoon, the mere threat of war with Iraq in 2003 prompted the largest anti-war rally in world history – this before a single bullet was fired. One administration and ten years later, The Federal Bureau of Investigative Journalism announces a new project called “Naming the Dead,” aimed at giving names and faces to all individuals killed by the U.S. targeted assassination program. As of February 4th, 2013, TBIJ had officially named 331 non-combatant civilians, which included 87 children. Moreover, it’s been confirmed that the U.S. has also engaged in a policy known as “double-tapping.”
Typically, double-tapping involves striking an area a second time after the initial strike, once medical response teams have already arrived in the area; this usually results in massive civilian casualties. Further, Al Jazeera has confirmed reports that U.S. drones have gone as far as attacking funerals – a tactic that, supposedly, the mafia won’t even resort to.
Whatever your stance on the morality or necessity of drone warfare, I think we can almost all agree that the once sizable U.S. anti-war movement has grown curiously silent – especially when one considers the vitriol once inspired by such practices as waterboarding and indefinite detention under Bush.
For such an objectively controversial issue as targeted assassinations to pass without so much as a hearty and thoughtful discussion should cause people on both sides of the debate to raise an eyebrow.