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Are Drones Hostile?


It’s been over 60 days since commencing the attacks on Libya in support of Resolution 1973. Skeptics were already wondering what the point of it all was when the operation began considering the same uprisings and violence were occurring in other states across the region. But now the skeptics can really begin bashing into the Obama Administration’s intent considering his decision to “opt out” of adhering to the 1973 War Powers Resolution. In a nutshell, “Section 4(a)(1) requires the President to report to Congress any introduction of U.S. forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities. When such a report is submitted, or is required to be submitted, section 5(b) requires that the use of forces must be terminated within 60 to 90 days unless Congress authorizes such use or extends the time period.” This little legal requirement was deftly sidestepped by determining that American drone activity was not hostile and therefore exempt from the rule. The President chose the White House legal team’s opinion over the legal recommendations from the Pentagon and Justice Department to continue operations in Libya.

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Someone should ask about the Elephant in the room here.

The obvious question here is why those legal opinions are so blindingly different. These are supposed to be learned professionals expressing an expert opinion on the intent of a law, and so there is no valid reason for them to be so different. Laws are carefully drafted so that legal professionals will understand the intent of the legislature. This is not some highly nuanced arcane legal issue. Its about war for God’s sake! That is something that should be unambiguous because a lot of people are going to die because of actions that will inevitably be taken or not taken as a result of the interpretation. Mistakes like this on such a fundamentally important legal point as whether we are, or are not, at war are just not acceptable.

Obviously, politics is involved. If so, then the people who have given an incorrect opinion should be publicly and professionally shamed because they have failed badly to uphold the ethics and professional standards that their high salaries are intended to reflect. Loyalty to a President or a Party does not trump professional ethics.

We should not accept this as being par for the course for politically involved lawyers because it is not. These guys should be as accountable for their professional standards as are members of the medical or engineering professions. After all, people are being killed here just like if surgical operations are botched or a bridge falls down.

This is a serious fuck-up that should have major consequences for any political appointees or public servants involved.

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