Recent reporting in the Wall Street Journal that President Trump “has given the Central Intelligence Agency secret new authority to conduct drone strikes against suspected terrorists" is causing a lot of hand-wringing. Should it?
Targeted Killing: Drones
As the long war drags on, armed drones are increasingly the tool of choice for targeting and killing of individual terror suspects. Supporters argue that the comparatively precise targeting enabled by drones has saved the lives of both soldiers (who need not endanger themselves) and civilians (whose lives are spared by more tightly confined and targeted violence). Meanwhile, detractors criticize not only the legal rationale for targeted killings in general, but also the lack of transparency, limited institutional oversight and lower threshold costs that accompany the American drone program in particular. Especially since the killing of American citizen and extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011, the use of armed drones for targeted killings has come under increased legal scrutiny under both international and domestic U.S. law.