Seven factoids about drones -- the new cause célèbre of libertarians and select liberals -- cannot stay aloft.
Critics argue that drones reflect a usurpation of power by the "imperial presidency." This is to say that President Obama, who has greatly expanded the employment of drones, is acting without Congressional authorization and oversight. Actually Congress granted the president on September 14, 2001, the power "to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States." If the critics' concern was merely that this resolution might not apply to those who are not card-carrying members of al-Qaeda -- and that Obama was thus overstepping the resolution's bounds -- they would focus their efforts on urging the president to return to Congress and ask for a new resolution with slightly more inclusive wording. He wouldn't need to worry; even the much-divided Congress would approve what it takes to stop terrorist, in particular after the latest attack in Boston. However, this is hardly what critics call for, revealing that their true motive is to curb the use of drones rather than find ways to dot the i's and cross the t's when it comes to their use.
Critics also complain that drones are not subject to Congressional oversight. Actually Congress is regularly briefed about this campaign. As Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein of California, a strong liberal herself, recently stated: "Senate Intelligence Committee is kept fully informed of counterterrorism operations and keeps close watch to make sure they are effective, responsible and in keeping with U.S. and international law."
Critics further claim that, according to international law, force should be used only when terrorists pose an imminent treat. However, because terrorists do not abide by the rules of armed conflicts, which require that combatants identify themselves as such, and not merely reveal their status only when ready to strike, all those who can be reliably identified as terrorists are a legitimate target. Imagine if the terrorists wore uniforms and belonged to, say, the German army in World War II. They then would be a fair target whether they were training, regrouping, rearming, or even at rest. Simply because al-Qaeda and its associates hide their status does not mean that they should be accorded better protection.Read the rest at The Atlantic--