Kucinich On The Ever-Expanding Use of Drones to Kill: “Unaccountable, Immoral And, by Definition, Inhuman”
According to reports, software is currently being developed that would enable a drone to fire a missile without any input from a human being despite the fact that the New America Foundation has found that 32% of those killed from drone strikes in Pakistan were civilians.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is a proponent of peaceful resolution of conflict who has steadfastly opposed the expansion of war around the world and has consistently opposed the use of drones abroad. Kucinich released the following statement in response to the expansion of U.S. drone bases abroad and the development of technology that would allow robotic drones to hunt and kill human beings.
“This week, The Washington Post featured two articles documenting the troubling expansion of the United States’ drone program through the establishment of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) drone bases in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the development of technology that will allow for the automated use of lethal force by drones – drones that ‘hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans.’ This futuristic use of technology is reminiscent of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984, two fictional novels in which advanced societies use technology to control their populations both mentally and physically. In 1984, a facial tic could grant the appearance of guilt leading to arrest. In real life, we are building a society where robotic drones act as judge and jury and instantly dispense death from 10,000 feet.
“The use of lethal force by the United States in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – countries we are not at war with – constitutes an already troubling method of waging war in which we are accountable to no one. As Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions recognizes: ‘Not even the American public, let alone the international community, knows when and where the CIA has authorized the kill, the criteria for individuals who may be killed, how the CIA insures killings are legal, and what follow-up there is when civilians are illegally killed. It follows that the international law requirements of transparency and accountability are comprehensively violated.’
“The drone program is operating with increasing impunity. Last year, it was reported that the CIA had added U.S. citizens to its targeted killing list, in subversion of their basic constitutional rights and due process of law. Intelligence operations that have no transparency, no accountability and no oversight inevitably leads to violations of international law and violations of the Constitution of the United States.
“It is no secret that drone strikes conducted by the CIA abroad as part of our counter-terrorism operations have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians. According to a study by the New America Foundation of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, at least 32% of those killed by the strikes were civilians. I have long argued that the legal justification for the use of drones in Pakistan could be used to justify strikes in other countries we are not at war with. The concern that our current legal framework will stretch the battlefield to anywhere in the world appears to be coming true.
“Earlier this year, the House passed the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act which included dangerous and unprecedented language declaring that the United States is in an armed conflict with not only al Qaeda and the Taliban, but ‘associated forces’ and individuals, organizations and nations that support such forces. The President could then have the full legal authority to send American troops to engage in acts of war anywhere--Yemen, Somalia, Iran, even the United States--without constitutionally required Congressional authorization and, consequently, without any restrictions or oversight from the American people or Congress.
“The increasing malleability of who the United States calls its enemies and the legal justification it uses to go after them significantly undermines our moral standing, international law and laws of war. This technology and this malleability are leading us toward a state of permanent global war.”