Friday, May 24, 2013
When the president of the United States, as commander-in-chief of the nation’s military, makes life-or-death decisions it’s gut wrenching — for Democrats and Republicans alike.
And those decisions can, and do, upset the president’s political supporters when their philosophical views clash with the harsh realities of war.
President Obama’s decision to use unmanned drone planes to deliver bombs in Afghanistan, Parkistan, Yemen and elsewhere in the war against terrorists has drawn scorn from some of his supporters as well as the usual anything-Obama-does-is-bad crowd.
Those who have a heartfelt opposition to drones worry killing becomes so detached it becomes easy. The signs they carry in protest call the use of drones a “War Crime” or worse.
Those ordering the use of drones are not detached. Obama and advisers understand the consequences,
Drones are an effective way to attack our enemies and keep Americans out of harm’s way.
On Thursday, Obama once again defended U.S. drone attacks as legal and a necessary linchpin in the nation’s counterterrorism policy.
This doesn’t mean Obama or any president should be deploying drones around the world as a show of force or using them domestically. Their use should be only when necessary and prudent.
The fact drones have pilots thousands of miles away safely using a computer screen and controller has little bearing on whether their use is inhumane.
If the targets are legitimate military targets, essential to defeating the enemy, it is no different from dropping bombs from maned airplanes.
The use of drones has, and will continue to, save the lives of U.S. troops.
Yes, civilians are sometimes unintentionally killed, but that happens in all war regardless of the type of weapon.
In fact, civilian casualties appear to be lower with drones. Experts contend drones are far more precise than manned aircraft causing less collateral damage. That’s because drones, which are smaller and more difficult to detect or shoot down than some other aircraft, have more time to establish an exact target.
Still, the unintended death of one innocent civilian is one too many. Obama also sees it that way.
“For me,” Obama said, “and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live.” Before any strike, he added, “there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set.”
The Obama administration seems to have established proper standards for drone use and the drones appear to be used properly and effectively.