The Obama administration’s unwavering support of automated drone strikes has grown into one of many issues that have caused great concern among millions of Americans. According to a recent Associated Press report, the White House is only compounding the controversy as officials decide whether to use a drone strike to kill a U.S. citizen.
Granted, the possible target is believed to be working with al-Qaida in plotting attacks against his home country. To many Americans, however, a unilateral strike against a citizen sets a dangerous precedent they feel could one day be used to take down citizens for other infractions.
The CIA has already reportedly sent drones to monitor the target, though restrictions implemented last year prevent the agency from using lethal force until the Department of Justice is able to build a case against him. Nevertheless, the AP reports that this administration is looking for a potential end run around such legislative safeguards.
The suspected terrorist is reportedly living in a nation resistant to action by U.S. armed forces. Officials believe he has already taken part in deadly missions against Americans.
Eric Holder’s Justice Department, however, has not proven these allegations; and any lethal action taken against this target would inevitably result in widespread domestic indignation as well as negative consequences within his current home country.
The Department of Defense is reportedly weighing its options, though one source indicated it is recommending a drone strike.
While there is an obvious need to curtail potential plots hatched by foreign terrorists or American citizens, there is an understandable backlash against using deadly strikes against Americans who have not received the benefit of a trial. Outrageously, many on the left suggest radical Islamic terrorists from other nations deserve a legal defense in the American court system while the Obama administration attempts to restrict that very right from U.S. citizens.
No matter one’s personal stance on the issue, cases like this one are important to follow closely. As with other policy shifts implemented under Obama, the use of drones against American citizens will help shape this nation’s societal landscape.