On Tuesday, April 23, 2013, the Senate held its first-ever public hearing on the U.S. secret drone program, 12 years after the United States launched its first deadly drone strike. By some estimates, more than 4,000 people have been killed in drone strikes since then.
The Obama administration is facing criticism after it refused to send anyone to testify at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, despite President Obama’s vow to be more forthcoming about the drone program.
Witnesses at the hearing included Georgetown University Law Professor Rosa Brooks, who served as the Pentagon’s special coordinator for rule of law and humanitarian policy during Obama’s first administration.
Rosa Brooks: “What it comes down to, Senator—Senator Durbin, Senator Cruz, is that right now we have the executive branch making a claim that it has the right to kill anyone anywhere on earth at any time for secret reasons based on secret evidence in a secret process undertaken by unidentified officials. That frightens me. I don’t doubt their good faith, but that’s not the rule of law as we know it.”
The most moving testimony at the Senate hearing on drones came from Farea al-Muslimi, a youth activist from Yemen. His family’s village was hit by a U.S. drone strike last week.
Fereak al-Muslimi made the most succinct argument on the drone strike program I have ever heard:
“Now, however, when they think of America, they think of the terror they feel from the drones that hover over their heads, ready to fire missiles at any time. What the violent militants had previously failed to achieve, one drone strike accomplished in an instant.”
So simple, yet so powerful. I think it deserves very special attention.
Please take a look at his entire testimony.
New Stanford/NYU study documents the civilian terror from Obama’s drones. New research shows the terrorizing impact of drones in Pakistan, false statements from US officials, and how it increases the terror threat: http://livingunderdrones.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Stanford_NYU_LIVING_UNDER_DRONES.pdf