When Obama announced last week the parameters of drone strikes on Americans in his speech at the National Defense University, the world gasped at what seemed to be a new era of transparency — at least in the drone debate.
“I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone, or with a shotgun — without due process,“ said Obama. “But the high threshold that we’ve set for taking lethal action applies to all potential terrorist targets, regardless of whether or not they are American citizens.”
According to experts quoted in a BBC article, the speech signified a revelation in previously secretive drone policy and a symbol to the international audience that American drone usage isn’t as arbitrary as it seems.
Recently, however, the confirmed death of Waliur Rehman, the No. 2 Commander of the Taliban in Pakistan, from a drone attack early Wednesday morning raises questions on the authenticity of Obama’s attempt to gain international and American approval on drone strikes.
Was it just more Presidential rhetoric to people please? Was it a failed attempt to actually shed light on U.S. drone policy? Or, the largest question, are Americans and foreign governments satisfied with Obama’s drone rules?
While the death of Waliur Rehman is certainly another feat for Obama in this War on Terror, the administrations concealments of information on the attack propose that the status quo on drones has not changed. Neither have the public’s reservations, at least not the American public.
Essentially, whether we accept it or not, the administration will continue to use drones to take down terrorists. And they will not tell us anything about them … unless we kill the second in command of the Taliban.