RON PAUL: Drone wars undermine American values

Cagle cartoon syndicate Published:

Earlier this month, CIA-operated drones killed as many as 55 people in Yemen in several separate strikes. Although it was claimed that those killed were "militants," according to press reports at least three civilians were killed and at least five others wounded. That makes at least 92 U.S. drone attacks against Yemen during the Obama administration, which have killed nearly 1,000 people including many civilians.

The latest strikes seem to contradict President Obama's revised guidelines for targeted killings, which he announced last May. At the time he claimed that drones would only be used against those who posed a "continuing and imminent threat to the American people," that there must be a "near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured," and that safeguards to prevent civilian casualties were at "the highest standard we can set."

None of these criteria seem to have been met. In fact, the threshold in Yemen is considerably lower than the president claims. In 2012 President Obama approved "signature strikes" in Yemen, a criteria for attack that is not based on actual or suspected wrongdoing, but rather on a vague set of behaviors that are said to be shared by militants.

This means that the individuals killed in the most recent drone attacks were not necessarily terrorists or even terrorist suspects. They were not proven to have committed any crime, nor were they proven to have been members of al-Qaeda or any terrorist organization. Yet they were nevertheless targeted for attack, and the sovereignty of Yemen was violated in the process.

Some may claim that we need to kill suspected terrorists overseas so that we can be safer at home. But do the drone attacks in places like Yemen really make us safer? Or are they actually counter-productive? One thing we do know is that one of the strongest recruiting tools for al-Qaeda is the U.S. being over there using drones against people or occupying Muslim countries.

How can we get rid of all the people who may seek to do us harm if our drone and occupation policies continually create even more al-Qaeda members? Are we not just creating an endless supply of tomorrow's terrorists with our foolish policies today? What example does it set for the rest of the world if the U.S. acts as if it has the right to kill anyone, anywhere, based simply on that individual's behavior?

W e should keep all of this in mind when the U.S. administration lectures world leaders about how they should act in the 21st Century. What about the hundreds and even thousands killed by U.S. drones not because they were found guilty of a crime, but because they were exhibiting "behaviors" that led a CIA drone operator safely hidden in New Mexico or somewhere to pull the trigger and end their lives?

What about a president who regularly meets in secret with his advisors to determine who is to be placed on a "kill list" and who refuses to even discuss the criteria for placement on that list? Is this considered acceptable 21st Century behavior?

The Obama Administration needs to rein in the CIA and its drone attacks overseas. They make a mockery of American values and they may well make us less safe.

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© Copyright 2014 Ron Paul, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Ron Paul is a former Congressman and Presidential candidate. He can be reached at RonPaulChannel.com.

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  • "If the Excerpt is false or misinformation, prove the info wrong, and post it."

    interesting you say that redleg, because you're the only one that has said anything about the excerpt possibly being false or misinformation.  Why say such a thing? Just because someone else does not read the same propaganda as you, you feel the need to get defensive about it?

  • @stanback...I bet you read the whole excerpt...

  • If the Excerpt is false or misinformation, prove the info wrong, and post it..

  • "Excerpt from: billoreilly.com"........don't need to read any farther.

  • Excerpt from: billoreilly.com...Talking Points Memo...Featured on April 29, 2014

    "President Obama continues to decline in the polls, and some brand new stuff on Benghazi"......By Bill O'Reilly

    New ABC News survey out today taken among 1,000 American adults says the following; 41 percent approve of Mr. Obama's job performance; 52 percent disapprove. On the economy 42 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove. On Obamacare 37 percent like it, 57 percent do not. Finally on the way the President is handling Russia and Ukraine, 34 percent approve, 46 percent saying no, 20 percent have no opinion.

    Not good news for the President. In addition, Judicial Watch got a White House memo through the Freedom of Information Act that confirms the worst fears about Benghazi. The memo written by the communications guy Ben Rhodes was sent three days after the 9/11 attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The memo was written to prep Ambassador Susan Rice on what to say to the media the instructions are these, quote: "The goal to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure or policy."

    By the way Ben Rhodes is now a deputy White House security advisor. So there is no longer any doubt that the White House was pushing this spontaneous uprising theory and playing down the organized terror angle. No longer any doubt they did it President Obama should have told the nation the truth. But he did not. That's one of the reasons his poll numbers are slipping. Some Americans no longer trust him.

  • Democrats like to kill as much,or more than Republicans. Most Democrats are ok with abortions, over 54 million babies killed in America since Roe v Wade. Killing with drones v abortions. Like Hillary said, what difference does it make.