PILR has blogged before on the use of Drone airplanes to “police” Mexico and the use of Drones in combat. An article in the guardian, written by Amos Guiora and Laurie Blank, raised new issues on how the Obama administration is using drones for targeted killings and how the current administration might be using this new technology to stretch the “law of war”. Any country is allowed to target those who pose an imminent threat and lawfully exercise their right to self-defense. The article, however, is concerned that the United States targeted killing program allows the military to strike terrorists whenever they are found using unmanned aerial vehicles. The concern is about who the U.S. targets and when “that raises serious questions of law and morality. In a nutshell: are we killing the right people?”
It is not unlawful to used unmanned areal vehicles for counter terrorisms. The real concern seems to be the accuracy of our intelligence agencies and their ability to pinpoint where terrorist threats are and a question of what imminent threat means when dealing with terrorism. Drones are without a doubt accurate but they can only be as accurate as the intelligence telling them where to strike. The fear is that with these unmanned drones, it is quick and easy to strike our “enemy.” When you send a manned plane into combat, care is usually taken to make sure the pilot can get in and out safely, time and research is done to make sure the mission is necessary. Will this happen if there is relatively little risk to the U.S. military? Will the military be quick to send in a drone and attack with less information because U.S. lives are not at stake?