The recently leaked Justice Department memo that outlined the overly broad and vague legal boundaries used to justify drone strikes should shake the American people to the core.
While I applaud President Obama for releasing more information to the Senate and House intelligence committees, the root of the problem remains: The administration is using the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by the House on Sept. 14, 2001, as one of the justifications for the lethal use of drones. As the only member of Congress who voted against this blank check, I believe now more than ever that we must repeal it.
We need a full debate of the consequences of the September 2001 action, and meaningful oversight by Congress is vital. As commander in chief, it is Obama’s duty to keep our country safe, but Congress must not retreat from its constitutional obligation of oversight. These checks and balances are the foundation of our democracy, and they must stay intact.
Rep. Barbara Lee
Obama has a lot in common with George W. Bush, who rationalized torture using the same kind of legal mumbo jumbo Obama is using to kill American citizens anywhere without due process. What happened to change we could believe in?
Several years ago the United States told the world that torture was no longer morally acceptable and would no longer be used. This week, the United States announced that an “informed high-level official” can approve a strike against an Al Qaeda official, including an American citizen, even without solid evidence that the targeted person is planning a specific operation.
In summary, torture is morally unacceptable but killing fellow American citizens without evidence isn’t. Am I the only one confused?
Using drones to kill certain individuals may be legally justifiable, but their use is morally reprehensible. The collateral damage they cause is indefensible, and the international community doesn’t support their use. Deploying drones doesn’t conform to America’s or the United Nations’ idea of human rights.
It is an unwarranted abuse of executive power to resort to using drones so quickly, and other methods should be exhausted to either isolate targeted individuals or bring them to justice first.