To the Editor:
Re “Hazards of Drone Strikes Face Rare Public Scrutiny” (front page, Feb. 6) and “To Kill an American” (editorial, Feb. 6):
In targeting American citizens with drone strikes without due process of law, President Obama and his nominee to be C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, have put expediency ahead of the Constitution, which they are sworn to uphold.
Killing by remote control is seductive, because it does not put American forces at risk (except, as has happened, by faulty targeting).
But the consequences are innocent lives ended when a target is misidentified, communities embittered and turning against the United States, and a precedent set that could permit a future president to kill politically inconvenient American citizens overseas virtually at whim.
In Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, American drone strikes enrage local populations and create new terrorists. Soon other nations will follow the United States’ example, and we will have destroyed any legal or political basis to protest. The unintended target of every drone strike is our common future.
Bloomington, Ind., Feb. 6, 2013
To the Editor:
It’s plain to me that the constitutional rights afforded to Americans were never intended to apply outside the United States, except in rare special circumstances.
The contention that an American, a traitor, who has adhered to the cause of an enemy of the United States, who has secreted himself with that enemy in lawless territory and who could not be captured without grave risk, cannot be killed by the United States because he is protected by the Constitution is an absurdity.
The same goes for other people, in similar situations, whether they be Americans or not.
HARVEY J. KAUFMAN
Miami, Feb. 6, 2013
To the Editor:
The use of C.I.A.-controlled drones to assassinate suspected or known Al Qaeda militants is unconscionable. The estimated number of deaths from the strikes, which are reported to have killed a large number of innocent civilians, has increased fourfold under President Obama, according to a report of the New America Foundation.
This is the same man who, during his first presidential campaign, pledged to curb the excesses of the George W. Bush era in relation to terrorism, and to conduct a counterterrorism policy in accordance with the legal and moral values of the Constitution. On Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said, “These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.”
In my opinion, every militant killed by a drone has been denied the right of due process in a court of law. And every man, woman and child killed accidentally by a drone has been the victim of an immoral, unethical and very possibly unconstitutional act. I add my voice to that of former President Jimmy Carter and all others who oppose Mr. Obama’s strategy of drone strikes. Our country should not accept this cowardly practice.
Stanford, Calif., Feb. 6, 2013