And frankly I'm puzzled as to why:
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the federal government Tuesday to learn the use of unmanned drones for targeted killings by the military and CIA.
“In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and other basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings,” the ACLU said in a statement, announcing its action.
The nonprofit civil liberties group filed initial Freedom of Information Act requests with the Defense, Justice and State departments and with the Central Intelligence Agency on Jan. 13. Only the CIA responded, and the ACLU is pursuing that request with an appeal to the agency.
What am I missing here? How would striking them with an piloted aircraft be significantly different than a drone strike? The drone is remotely piloted. Would they be asking the same questions about air strikes against the Taliban?
And since when was it the job of the ACLU to determine the "wisdom" of using drones, much less the "legality"? Does it also claim the right to determine the "wisdom" and "legality" of artillery strikes? Air strikes?
These aren't mindless uncontolled robotic killer bees out there popping anything that moves. In effect they're utilized no differently than any other means of killing our enemy - their strike is developed based on intel that we'd feel comfortable using with any other weapons delivery means on if it was available or could reach the target. That being the case, why not use one that risks no lives on our side?
“The government's use of drones to conduct targeted killings raises complicated questions – not only legal questions, but policy and moral questions as well,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU National Security Project. “These kinds of questions ought to be discussed and debated publicly, not resolved secretly behind closed doors. While the Obama administration may legitimately withhold intelligence information as well as sensitive information about military strategy, it should disclose basic information about the scope of the drone program, the legal basis for the program and the civilian casualties that have resulted from the program.”
Again we're talking about a weapons delivery means. The only difference is the means - not the intent. The intent is chrystal clear - kill the enemy where he lives. The "how" produces no "legal, policy or moral" questions for me. And the "why" is quite simple - we're at war. This isn't a legal exercise. The legal basis for the war has been in place for years.
And here's a further thought - even with strict guidelines in place, and every attempt to ensure that innocent civilians aren't mistakenly targeted, what would disclosure of civilian casualties (which I assume would mostly be a guesstimate) accomplish?
It would accomplish nothing but more caterwalling about the program and demands for its elimination.
Look, we all believe in an open and free society, but I just don't see where this sort of nonsense contributes to that, especially in a time of war. That's my opinion. Yours may differ. If so, I'd love to hear the reasoning behind the difference.