Blogs > Liberty and Power > Is Murder by Drone a War Crime?

May 7, 2009 12:05 am

Is Murder by Drone a War Crime?

Anthony Gregory’s most recent post below has inspired me to ask some moral questions of my own. I seem to remember that awhile ago we found out that the CIA once planned to assassinate Fidel Castro and that this revelation caused a great deal of controversy. If I remember correctly the outcome of this debate was a consensus that the killing of enemy leaders by the U.S. Government was wrong and it would not be done. Now my question is this; if it is not OK to assassinate Castro, Iran’s president, Assad in Syria or Kim Il Jong, why is it alright to kill what are probably mid-level clerics, not to mention any women and children in the vicinity, with drones in Pakistan? Are we not assassinating these people? And, who exactly are they? What is the justification for their deaths? We know that the government was not too concerned with guilt or innocence when they started throwing people into Guantanamo, are they being anymore careful in this case? Lastly is it just fine to murder these people because Barak Obama is a Democrat?

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More Comments:

Keith Halderman - 5/7/2009

I agree.

Anthony Gregory - 5/7/2009

I oppose the government killing foreign leaders, of course, but they are surely the most worthy of being killed. A morality that forbids assassinating dictators but allows for killing inferiors and incidental civilians is deeply flawed.

Yes, Obama's drone attacks constitute acts of mass murder, as were Bush's bombings and attacks that killed civilians, and Clinton's, and Bush I's, and Reagan's, as well as Nixons, LBJ's, Eisenhower's, Truman's, FDR's, Wilson's and Teddy Roosevelt's. Every single one of these characters committed crimes at least on par with the torture crimes ordered from on high and conducted on the battlefield and in America's foreign dungeons.