tv Book Discussion on Drones and Targeted Killing CSPAN April 23, 2016 9:45am-11:01am EDT
>> thank you. thank you. behind me is the library bookstore, and dr. sullivan will be signing right over there. so please go and get his terrific book. thank you very much and see you next week for books at noon. thank you. [applause] >> oh, thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> and today marks the 400th anniversary of william
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international. i'd like to thank you for coming for this presentation tonight. the use of drones is becoming more and more widespread, and there's a lot of issues related to this topic. local, national, international. war and peace, privacy, you name it. before i introduce our special guests, the moderator of the event is dr. bill anderson. i'm going to introduce him. dr. anderson a local peace activist. he's the chair of the center for peace and justice. he's been over 15 missions all over the world for peace. he's a retired faculty from the university of virginia. as you know, amnesty international is the human rights group that's been working for more than 50 years.
our most interest in this local group is the -- [inaudible] so if you'd like to work on people who are being detained illegally, unlawfully for the simple expression of their opinion, that's just like we do right to now here, please join us. we meet every month, and we work on a lot of activities for human rights. without further ado, i'd like to introduce dr. anderson. >> thank you so much. [applause] it's really an honor and a pleasure to welcome you to this event on behalf of virginia foundation of the humanities and the festival of the book. and i'm sure that host of you have gotten -- that most of you have gotten this brochure which you can get down at the omni and some other stories on the mall like the new dominion book stop.
we've got such a wonderful set of programs here today -- what's wrong, you can't hear me? you need to mic me? people can't hear? >> [inaudible] >> it just has to be many front of you. >> okay. all right. technical difficulties. is this right? is this the one? okay. no, that's not the one. this is the one? go both of them. >> oh, both of them, okay. [laughter] but we really want to thank you for coming out for this event which is a very timely and very interesting one. i want to ask you all to, please, silence your cell phones. i've got one that has a very irritating ring, so turn any
kind of cell phones off, other electronic devices, turn them off now. at this time. and i want to encourage you to tweet to others about this event at hashtag v-a-book 2016. i really want to thank isham and the amnesty international for bringing ms. cohn here, and i really want to thank mississippi cohn for coming -- ms. cohn for coming. i want to ask you also to remember to support the festival of the book. it's free of charge but not of cost. and you can either go online to give a gift of support, or you can make a contribution by picking up an envelope which these envelopes are available
down at the only any. omni. at the end i'll remind you to, please, give an evaluation, because that also helps to strengthen the festival of book, and it will help it to endure. those two things, the contribution and evaluation, will help it to endure for years to come. the topic for discussion today, as i said, is by ms. cohn, and she's going to talk about her book, "drones and targeted killing." ms. cohn is a professor at the thomas jefferson school of law in san diego. and she's the author of several other books which are related and which are very fascinating
books. among those are "cowboy republic: six ways the bush gang has defied the law," "rules of disengagement: the politics of honor and military dissent," "and she's the editor of another volume entitled "u.s. and torture: interrogations, incars separation abuse." today's book is really interesting. it saw starts off with a very interesting forward by archbishop tutu, and in it he asks the question, he talks about the problem of drones and how the valuable contribution that ms. cohn has made in editing this book and bringing together a number of authors. by he says a very interesting thing that i thought we should ask ourselves. he did this in an early that he
wrote in the new york timings. he says do the united states and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not the same, of the same value as yours? that president obama be can sign off -- president obama can sign off on a decision to kill us with less worry about judicial scrutiny than if the target is american. really want to tell human kind that we, like the shave dred scott in the 19th century, are not as human as you are? i cannot believe it, he says. i hope that his disbelief is really true, that we won't tolerate this, that we will find ways to resist. but now i'd like to introduce ms. cohn and have her say some
things about this really, really interesting book which i found to be very revealing. [applause] >> i want to thank amnesty international, charlottesville chapter and isham for inviting me and bill for his very nice introduction. i'm delighted to be here. in his 2009 acceptance speech for the nobel peace prize, president barack obama declared: we're forced -- and i'm going to go like this when i quote -- where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. and even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, i believe the united states of america must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war.
by the time obama accepted the award, one year into his presidency, he had ordered more drone strikes than george w. bush had authorized during his two presidential terms. the bush administration detained and tortured suspected terrorists. the obama administration has chosen to ill rely -- illegally assassinate them. often with the use of drones. the continued, indefinite detention of men at guantanamo belies obama's pledge two days after his first inauguration to close the prison camp there. however, obama has added only one detain knee to the guantanamo roster. this government has decided that instead of detaining members of al-qaeda at guantanamo, they are going to kill them according to john bellinger who formulated the bush administration drone
policy. on terror tuesdays, obama and john been man -- his former counterterrorism adviser, now cia director -- go through the kill list to identify which individuals should be assassinated that week. obama orders two different can types of drone strikes; personality strikes which target named high-value terrorists and signature strikes which target training camps and suspicious compounds in areas control ared by militants. and we often see in newspapers like "the new york times" a u.s. drone strike killed four militants or ten militants or twelve with militants. not sure what a militant looks like. in the signature strike, sometimes called crowd killing, the obama administration often doesn't even know who it's killing.
but, write jo becker and scott shane in "the new york times," some state department officials have complained to the white house that the criteria used by the cia sees three guys doing jumping jacks -- i'm sorry. the signature for identifying a terrorist signature were too lax. the joke was that when the cia sees three guys doing jumping jacks, the agency thinks it's a terrorist training camp. men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers, but they also might be farmers. as the news broke on march 7th, 2016, that u.s. drone strikes had killed 150 people in somalia, the white house announced it will will reveal for the first time the number of people killed by drones and manned airstrikes outside areas of active hostilities since
2009. the tallies will include civilian deaths. this is a critical towards much-needed transparency, but it will not go far enough. the obama administration has been lying for years about how many deaths result from its drone strikes and manned bombers. in 2011 john brennan false hi claimed that no civilians -- falsely claimed that no civilians had been killed in drone strikes in nearly a year. the bureau of investigative journalism which -- and this is an anthology collection -- one of the chapters is written by a person from the bureau of investigative journalism which is a premier organization, nongovernmental organization that tallies civilian casualties from drone strikes. they're based in london. the bureau of investigative journalism and other nongovernmental organizations that calculate drone deaths put the lie to brennan's claim. it is believed that of the
estimated 5,000 people killed on obama's watch, approximately 1,000 were civilians. but the administration has never released complete casualty figures. plus, the numbers by themselves were not sufficient. even if the white house makes good on its promise to publicize death tallies, it must also publish the policy guidance which has provided the legal justification for the u.s. targeted killing program. in may 2013 responding to international criticism about men starving themselves to death at guantanamo and his drone policy, obama delivered a speech at the national defense university in washington d.c. ..
. we will take place in the immediate future. third, there must be certainty that the terrorist target is present, but the fact sheet doesn't address the signature strikes where the obama administration where obama administration doesn't charge individuals but activity. there must be certainty that noncombatants will not be injured or killed. but the administration defines combatants as all men of military age in a strike zone unless there's explicit
intelligence. five, there must be an assessment that capture is not feasible at the time of operation and i don't like the word capture, people are apprehended but we will use their terminology. it's unclear what feasibility means, the department of justice white paper seems to indicate that infeasible means inconvenient. it was feasible to capture osama bin laden who was not armed at the time military as is nateed -- assassinated, well, osama ben laden was this evil man and took him out. after world war ii, leaders of victorious, churchill said, just
take them out and shoot them. if we don't provide due process even to the nazi leaders we will pas a poison which he chellies to future generations. number 6, there must be an assessment that relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated, cannot or will not effectively address the threat to u.s. persons which is left un undefined. no reasonable alternative to
threat to u.s. persons also undefined. the fact sheet would include conditions when a president takes action in extraordinary circumstances which are both lawful and necessary to protect the united states and its allies. there is no definition of extraordinary circumstances for what would be lawful. releasing the presidential policy guidance declassifying it, would clarify listed in the force sheet. in february february 216 the bipartisan task force on u.s. drone policy gave the obama administration and f in three areas the task force had flagged for improvement. the first area is focus on the progress and releasing information on drone strikes. the second involved explaining the legal basis on u.s. and
international law for the drone program. the third is about developing more robust oversight and accountability mechanisms for targeted strikes outside of traditional battlefields. regarding the first area, releasing information, the administration has made almost no information public about the approximate number location, which agent is responsible for what strike, the cia or the military. the organizational affiliation to people have been known to be killed by strikes and the numbers of identities by civilians to be been known to kill. speaking about the second area, a few governmental documents have been made as a court order.
one was redacted or edited, black lines through it, a redacted memo about the legality of the 2011 targeted killing of the u.s. citizens without due process of law. this followed a successful new york times freedom of information act request, the other release document was the department of defense's law of war manual with she short sections on the use of remotely piloted aircraft in war. the only qualifications it contained was that the weapons cannot be inherently indiscrime -- discrimnant. the administration continues to oppose any release of public
information on the lethal drone program. the lack of action reinforces the culture of secrecy surrounding the use of farm drone according to reports. the skimson report note that had the administration as a rule been reluctant to public acknowledge the use of leetal force by unmanned vehicles in foreign country. after the discovery that two westerners had been -- who were held by al-qaeda had been killed by u.s. drone strike, the administration admitted the death, but provided few specific details. note, that they were westerners that were killed. i want to say that when we hear about isis beheading someone we are outraged. of course, we don't hear about
saudi arabia, one of our closest allies beheading people on a daily basis, but we don't hear about or see the images of the babies whose limbs are strewn about after air drone strike. interestingly one of the essays in the books, the only one reprinted was called the predator war. it was a 2009 piece by new yorker and it was first comprehensive report program and major interviewed former cia lawyer nikki duval. people are a lot more comfortable the predator drone strike that kills many people than with a throat-sliding that kills one.
lethal drone strikes have been reported in yemen, pakistan, libya, afghanistan and somalia. and against isis in iraq and syria. the report identified 12 countries believe to host u.s. drone basis. that includes afghanistan, et -- former cia director michael mounted program in the 2016 new york op-ed, the targeted killing program has been the most precise and effective in the history of arms conflict, but
claims are impossible to document without documentation, hayden also said we probably kill people when revealed the nsa was collecting meta data, they are supposedly not looking at the data, not looking at the content by just this meta. we kill people based on our meta data. the nsa's program that identifies terrorists in pakistan, somalia and afghanistan, would result in 99,000 false positives. so what happens is that they target a cell phone believed to
be carried by a terrorist, let's say give it to his mother, she's the one that get killed based upon this meta data. obama said in an interview in the atlantic recently that he has no second thoughts about the drone strikes in the middle east. arm drones are operated by pilots located thousands of miles from their targets. how many of you saw the film, good kill? do you know who was in the that film? january jones and ethan hawks. two very famous popular authors yet it never made it to theaters. i saw it in a tiny little venue in san diego. good kill refers to people sitting outside of a little trailer after one of the pilots presses the button and traces --
ethan hawks plays a drone operator, even though he's thousands of miles from his target and can go home every night in suburbs of las vegas, he develops post traumatic disorder from what he is doing. you can see pictures of the strike zone and between the time that the button is pushed to release the missile and the missile deploys, it takes ten seconds. meanwhile a woman and child walk into the strike zone and after doing this enough times, he got very, very ill. i wonder if that had anything to do with why it never made it into the big theaters. before launching its payload, the drone hovers above the area. the drones were terrifying, observed new york times
journalists david rotty who was captured by the taliban in 2008 and later escaped from the ground it is impossible to determine who or what they are tracking as they circle overhead. the buss of a distant propel or is a constant reminder of eminent death. drones fire missiles that travel faster than the speed of sound, a drone's victim never hears a missile that kills him. a second strike drops rescuing the wounded from the first strike. that's called a double tap. a third strike targets mowners at funerals by those felt at prior strikes. really should be called triple strike.
relations also report that the vast majority were neither al-qaeda nor taliban leaders. instead most were low-level anonymous suspected militants who were engage in terrorist operations against their governments rather than international terrorist plots. drones are obama's weapon of choice because unlike piloted fire aircraft, they don't jeopardize the lives of u.s. pilots. there are claims that the use of drones results in few we're civilian casualties than man bombers, however, a study based on classified military data conducted by the center for naval analyses found that the use of drones in afghanistan has caused ten times more civilian deaths. in the united states the dominant narrative about the use
of drones in pakistan is of a sugarically precise and effective tool by enabling target with minimal downside or collateral impact. this narrative is false. according to comprehensive report living under drones issued by stanford law school and nyu law school. many killed by drones are civil ains or in the administration's bug splat, the collateral damage estimate methodology, the u.s. military and the cia employ. targeted is counterproductive.
former u.s. embassador to nato concurs, drone does not solve problem, it prolong it. the contribution to radicalization to drone use may put more americans at risk. melissa a southern tribal from yemen told germans the u.s. sees al-qaeda aster rism and we consider the drones terrorism. the drones are flying day and night frightening women and children disturbing sleeping people. this is terrorism, he said.
drone strikes breed increase resentment and lead to more terrorists. drones have been placed guantanamo as the recruiting of choice for militants. while pleading guilty to trying to detonate a bomb in time square told the judge when drone is hit, they don't see children. the secret war on pakistan became largely a drone-warming campaign described at as boys with toys. by the end of the year as president, he and new counterterrorism team will begin building the infrastructure for a formulated, formalized u.s.
and assassination program with an aggressive as a center piece of u.s. security policy. the united states uses two types of armed drones, the predator, which cost $4.5 million each and the reaper valued at 15 million. both produced by general systems in san diego. it can fly 21,000 feet for up the to two hours. cameras to operators 7500 miles away to see the faces as the bomb hits. tom dispatch has identified 60
bases used in drone operations, although could be more. the drone industry doesn't like to refer to their killer robots as drones because of the negative congressation. unman air inteal vehicles. on the amazon page for my book, there's room for comments, so if any of you read the book and want to comment, feel free. and the first one, first comment with which the other three agreed said how can you believe anything she writes in that book because the picture on the front cover is a global hawk, which is a surveillance drone. it's not a killer drone.
now, the book also has a chapter on surveillance drones, and so i found a quote from a researcher from colombia who referred to the global hawk as drones. by the way, the global hawk is not a drone and yet they're referred to by experts as drones . targeted killing is an example of american exceptionalism. reflecting the view that people in the united states are somehow superior to those in other countries. in his 2013 speech to the uun general assembly, obama stated, some made disagree but i believe that america is exceptional, in part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure
to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interest of all. hundreds have been killed and untold numbers wounded. time columnist joe klein considered by many to be a liberal bought into american exceptionalism in a disturbing way by 2012 interview on msnbc's morning joe. you have four-year-old girl being blown to bits because we have a policy that says, you know what, instead of trying to go in, take the risk, we are going to blow everyone around them and he mentioned collateral damage. bottom line is whose four
-year-old gets killed. so it's preferable that four little girls get killed in order to protect american little girls. american exceptionalism is also reared his head after 2013 leak of the department of justice paper that describes circumstances under which the president ordered the targeted killing of u.s. citizens. there had been little public concern in the united states about drone strikes killing people in other countries, but when it was revealed that u.s. citizens might be targeted, americans were outraged. this was by senator rand paul 13-hour filibuster for cia director. it's this double standard that motivated arch nobel peace prize winner which bill mentioned, do
the united states and its people really want to tell those of -- who live in the rest of us that their lives are better. he elaborates on that thought in his forward. a new whistle blower has joined the ranks of edward snow den, other courageous individuals. the unnamed person who chose to remain anonymous because of the obama administration unprecedented and vigorous prosecution of whistle blowers is a member of the intelligence community. in the belief that the american public has the right to know about the fundamentally and inmorely flawed drone program, this source provided the
intercept with a treasure troll of secret military documents that shine a critical light on the country's killer drone program. these files confirm that the obama administration policy and practice of assassination using drones violate the law. the documents reveal the kill chain that describes who will be targeted, that decides who will be targeted, as the source say, outrageous explosion of watch-lifting, stacking them on lifts and assigning them numbers and assigning them baseball cards, assigning them death sentences without notice on a worldwide battlefield. it was from the very first instance wrong. the administration kills innumb rabble civilians due to reliance on signals intelligence and under declared war zone like i said following cell phones or
computer that may or may not be carried by terrorists and the document show that more than half of the intelligence used to locate potential targets in somalia and yemen was based on this method. you're relying on the fact that you have powerful machines capable of correcting amount of data according to to the source. it is stunning the number of instances when they're misattribute today missing people and characterize a group of people as a leap of faith. the administration's practice of minimizing civilian casualties is exaggerating at best if not outright lies according to to the source. from january 2013 to february 2013 a campaign called
operation was carried out in the after afghan. this campaign parallel in increase in drone attack and civilian casualties throughout afghanistan. what's more, the campaign did not significantly create al al-qaeda's operation there according to to the source. >> obama's preference for killing instead of apprehension according to to the source actually prevents the administration from gathering critical intelligence, obama stated in 2013 america does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorist, our preference always to interrogate and detain and prosecutor. michael flynn, former head of intelligence agency told the
intercept, we don't capture people anymore, unquote. slides provided by the drone paper source cite a 2013 study by the pentagon's intelligence surveillance and task force that said kill operations cig nask antly reduce the intelligence available from detainees and capture material. the task force recommending into ration rather than drone strikes. the american public is largely unaware of the high number of civilian casualties from drone strikes, a study conducted by american university professor jeff concluded that both "the new york times" and the washington post substantially under represented the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in pakistan and yemen, fail today correct the public report and ignored the importance of international law.
70% of the time was attributed to fail, that was mistaken informations. anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association. the drone paper source notes. if a drone attack kills more than one person, there's no guaranty that those persons deserve their fate so it's a phenomenal gamble. drone strike are obama's weapon of choice because they don't result in casualties, a politically advantageous thing to do, no cost, no u.s. casualties according to former director denise blair, it plays well domestically and it's unpopular only in other countries and the damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term.
part of the damage as flynn pointed out that it creates a new reason to fight us even harder. the united nations charters mandate for peaceful resolution except in self-defense is not a pipe dream. a study from the ram corporation concluded that 43% of incidents involving terrorist groups indicated by a peaceful political resolution with their government. 40% were penetrated and eliminated by local police agencies and only 7% were ended by the use of military force. in describing how the special operations community view
prospective targets, the drone paper source says they have no rights, no dignity, no humanity to themselves, they've just a selector to an analysts, you eventually get to a source by the actual name. this results in dehumanizing the people before you even encountered the moral question of is this legitimate or not. many drone pilots as i said, suffer from pt is d, some are refusing to fly the drones, last september the air force times ran a historic ad paid for by 54 u.s. veterans and vets organizations urging air force drone operators and other military personnel to refuse order to fly drone surveillance and attack missions.
i just want to briefly in the couple of minutes that i have. this reminds me of the o.j. simpson trial. i don't know if you've ever used -- so the collection that i put together is an interdisciplinary of human rights, policy analysts and lawyers, journalists and a socialists that examine different aspects of u.s. targeted killing by drones and other methods and the contributors explore the legality, morality and goa political consideration and evaluate the impact on relations between the united states and the countries affected by the targeted killings.
you get rid of individuals, but the root causes are still there. former some ali foreign minister told jeremy, the root causes are not security, the root causes are political. muslims do not hate our freedom but rather they hate our policy. it identifies, this is the pentagon study under bush, american direct intervention in the muslim world through the united states one-sided support in favor of israel. support for islamic regimes in egypt and saudi arabia and primarily the american occupation of iraq and afghanistan. these policies which are rationalize to stop terrorism elevate the stature of.
becker and shane sounded an alarm with muslim countries. they noted, obama is focused on strikes has made it impossible to forge for now the new relationship with the muslim world that he had envisioned, both pakistan and yemen are arguably less stable and more hostile to the united states than when mr. obama became president. justly or not, drones have become procabbingtive symbol of american power and killing innocents. we ignore this at our peril, we will never be safe from terrorism. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you for a really marvelous presentation. the book is just as fascinating. i mean, the details, the examples given really drive home the whole problem of drones, the legal implications, the moral implications but also the human implications, the whole thing of collateral damage. you know, your mother, your sister, your aunt, your uncle, just being collateral damage, they're shooting at you, but these other people get that too. so it's really problematic. i want to open the floor for questions and comments that you
may have. raise your hand and wait for the mic to come to you and then you can address with your comments. thank you so much for your question. >> thank you so much for a great overview. i have a very specific question you may or may not be able to address but i'm doing a lot of research on the notion of moral injury, the ptsd, what happens to those that we put in positions of killing, and it was different in world war ii, example, different on the ground, it's taken a different shape and form, this objectification on people and how there's a different way of doing something, maybe shapes the pilots differently.
the impact on the pilot who are asked to do this. >> yes, there is -- one of the chapters written by a philosopher harry who is a professor at butler and he talks about things like during wartime, we are talking about active war, not the drone wars that obama has basically declared the entire world a battlefield, but the surveillance platform where the drones, surveillance drones are watching people's lives, people intimately day and night and -- and then also the concept of the sleeping soldier. do you kill somebody while they're sleeping, is that moral, the the issue of the ptsd, you have the people who do not -- are not at any risk with
themselves, and that's one of the reasons that obama likes them because we learn, the u.s. government learned during the vietnam war and i'm a child of the antivietnam movement and i suspect some of you are as well. americans don't like to see americans coming back in body bags and that really creates opposition to what the u.s. is doing, so if we can kill people the bad guys, the suspected militants without endangering our pilots, then that's preferable, and that's why obama is using drones in such a wide spreed basis. the pilots are not at any physical risk. they put on flight suits and go on trailers, i'm going to stop the drone week outside of las vegas in a couple of weeks, creek air force base which is where the a lot of the pilots are based that control the
drones. but when -- the technology is so incredible that they can see the faces of the people that are about to be killed and they can see the faces of these people over a long period of time because they can stand up in the air about 22 hours at a time without having to refuel, so they with see these people going about their lives and taking care of their children and their animals and eating and drinking and sleeping, et cetera, and then they press a button that blows them away and many times blows away clearly civilians, women and children, there's not even an argument that in most instances that they're combatants and that take its toll psychologically. there were four drone pilots that came out with a letter to obama in the last few months urging him to reconsider the
drone program and we saw almost nothing about it but drone pilot, they're having trouble getting drone pilots. they are offering bonuses to get people to become drone pilots because of this ptsd. >> bob. thank you, bill. >> if the drones stop tomorrow, is the legal community in our nation and internationally working on combopping an effective international legal infrastructure to deal with nonstate actors planning terrorism and state actors committing gross humanitarian, this is the legal community
working to create that kind of legal infrastructure. >> we have laws that govern off the battlefield killings and they come from our constitution and it's called due process. if someone is can suspected of given a crime, they are arrested and given a full hearing and they go to trial. when you're off the baitle field, the law enforcement model is what is used. which means if there's an eminent threat of the use of violence, then action can be taken, police action can be taken, but unfortunately our leaders, and this is the obama administration and the bush administration and hillary clinton who was secretary of state who has vowed to continue this policy, in fact, she's even more hawkish than obama is in many ways, i can give you examples of that.
she has advocated a no-strike zone in syria. until russia pulled planes it would have shot down russian planes. the preference for diplomacy for including all of the players in the region, that includes russia and that includes iran that, you know, vicious iran threaten to no one as far as i know and doesn't have nuclear weapons has not been -- has not been fully explored. so if only last resort only when council agrees. also, if you look at the macro picture and you wonder why are
people doing us harm or other people, we are not directly victimized although on 9/11 -- before osama bin laden took responsibility for it i suspected he was responsible behind it, i asked myself, how could 19 men, 15 of whom came from saudi arabia, none of them came from afghanistan, how could 19 men commit suicide and take 3,000 innocents with them. i did research of os obama bin laden but there's three things that osama bin laden pointed to that infuriated him about the united states, first was the presence of what he called the western troops in holy land of mecca and medina.
israel's treatments of the palestinians. if we want to be safe from terrorism, rather than using the band aid use of force drone strikes, man bombers killing people on this incredible level, we need to completely, completely do an analysis, reanalysis of our foreign policy, what -- where we are invading and what countries we are occupying. i would recommend to you a book, addicted to war, it's put out by veterans for peace. it's this big and thin and illustrated tremendous resource. all of the armed invasions the u.s. has undertaken from the beginning almost all of them to protect corporate interest. no surprise there, i suppose. >> thank you. is this on. >> yeah.
so while i agree that war is atrocious and war inevitable means that we as decent human beings can find our way into killing, i'm a little unclear about what it is specifically that you object to, for one thing, u.s. law is not territorially applicable to nonresidents abroad, so the legal arguments don't strike me as persuasive, the law of war is a discrete area of law, i'm sure you know, independent of our treaty which over history have never constrained us as warriors, i'm not suggesting that they should, should not but they have not, and if the final argument is that, in effect, we are turning our service people into murderers because the
theater of war was become so extenuated, then i would have to say our people, our country has decided that we are at war and that our theaters are necessarily extended. so it seems to me that this comes down to the fact that we have not updated either our treaties, laws or our understanding of the laws of war so that it incorporates the kind of behavior that you're so concerned about. >> okay, first of all, i would not say -- yes, war is atrocious but i'm not a passivist, war can be use not as instrument of policy, which is what is prohibited by the un charter, but in self-defense, wars of national liberation are also just wars. our constitution has what is
called the due process clause, it's not limited to u.s. citizens, it says no person, the government shall not deny any person, you're shaking your head but you know this is truth. other people may not know that. the due process does not just supply to u.s. citizens, it says that the government shall not deprive any person of due process of law but it has been interpreted not just to apply to u.s. citizens. our treaties are fine, if we follow them, then we would be following the law, we are a nation of laws. if we are not following them, then that doesn't mean it should be changed. the law as you know, is contained in the geneva conventions. the geneva convention says civilians should should not be targeted, that civilians, that the number of civilian casualties can be no
disproportion than the military advantage sought and the military has the duty to distinguish, it's called a principle of distinction. the united states has 8 oh 00 military basis around the world. 800 military basis. why do we need all this military basis? why are we doing it, whose interest are we protecting. rather than amending our treaties which we don't follow anyway, perhaps we should change our policy which means changing our priorities, which means, and i'm surprised that bernie sanders hasn't talked about it more, he talked about it in his 1996 book, taking some of that money from the bloated military budget putting it in universal health care and education, et cetera. >> i have a couple of questions. first is very short, are any
countries or entities deploying and using killer drones and the second is whenever there's a new weapon, then the arms people get real busy in figuring out how to defend against them, so it seems. >> are you aware that our military or other militaries are developing antidrone weapons? i think it's only a matter of time before we start, you know, people start shooting them down and then you get their missiles and antimissiles to get going on this type of weapon. it's not going last forever. >> right, israel is using killer drones, israel developed killer
drones. the united states is now selling drone technology to our allies, the difficulty and the danger is that our allies today become our enemies tomorrow and there's nothing to say that this technology is not going to get into the hands of people who would do us harm. drones fly very, very low, very easy to shoot them down, but the terrorists that we are trying to take out don't have air forces so you wonder why we are building this bloated military as if we are, you know, fighting the cold war when it's a very different situation. so yes, it is -- it's not difficult to shoot down the drone but the bad guy that is we are trying to take guys don't have air forces yet. >> okay. well, thank you for coming to talk on this important topic. it's kind of an interesting thing, you mentioned the kill chain and, you know, someone had
spoken about ptsd in remote drone pilots and that sort of thing and an interesting solution to this that's been posed recently apparently on the third of this month there's a deputy assistant secretary that's in charge of procurement, logistics and robotics at the department of defense that had spoken to defense convention saying that it should be on the table to have autonomous targeting, meaning, you talked about targeted killing, so i think the legal -- i'm not a lawyer but i think a lot of the legal arguments for what's happening now in terms of remote killing is that there's a human being, soldier at the end making a decision whether to kill or not to kill and they push the joystick button and then it happens, apparently -- i assume then that there's actually a framework that's going to
justify autonomous killing machines, terminators, robo cops, whatever you want to call it. i was wondering if you guys could talk about that a little bit. >> yes, that's also addressed in the book. automated rob boot systems where no individual decides where and when to kill. the un is concerned about this. it's freightening. it's even more frightening when pilots are decided who to kill and they make so many mistakes. this is where the technology is headed. they have not been used yet. they're on the drawing board and likely will be used in the future unless there's a ground swell opposing their use, but that's even more frightening than what we have now.
glad you brought it up. >> i have a question about the drones' program relation with the power act. most people assume that it's an instrument to fight the war on terror, so how -- so where does the obama administration get its legal justification to use the drone program if it's an instrument of war and how does it supercede the war power's resolution. >> it was passed in response to vietnam war saying that if a usa president puts u.s. forces into active hostilities he or she has to reports within 60 days to congress and although obama technically complies with that, he uses the aumf, authorization for use of military force that i
described as a legal basis. now, besides the fact that doesn't apply to al-shabab and groups that were not associated with al-qaeda, aumf and tried to get congress to give them update, we are still bound by the un charter and geneva convention. those treaties are part of u.s. law, domestic law under the supremacy laws. even if we had an updated aumf, that still would not make these illegal drone strikes legal. >> one of the things that really gets to me is you can talk about the legal constraints when they actually apply, but the problem is there are many chapters in this book that talk about the way in which we get around those things, the way which people use the drones and who engage in
targeted killings will do also the things to sort of keep the killing anonymous, things like that, but the thing that really gets to me is the thing that we learn in sunday school, you know, we talk about war and we talk about just wars and there's a very good chapter about, you know, what makes a just war, you know. but there's no just war when you look at the way we use drones and the question i have is, you know, how can we do onto others as we have them do onto us, what would happen to us if somebody didn't like our stance, our politics and then targeted us with drones and killed our uncles, our aunts, our friends
when they've trying to get us even when there's not been any due process sho -- show that i'm not guilty for the things you're targeting me. i think that's why the statement is so powerful, we are doing this to people out there, but what would happen if they did it to us, if the same thing were being done to us? are there any other questions? yeah. >> one more. >> it was hard to listen to this for me for one thing, i'm an obama supporter, i'm a democrat, a lot of -- looking at the whole picture, i guess, i would say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
i had no idea that you could see the faces of people with a drone. i had tiny amount of knowledge about drones. that's why i came here to learn and to learn with the rest of the world is doing or the security council is doing, so, you know, i wish that if there were another session there could be less reading of quotes and more stimulating points say in a powerpoint or handout and get people talking about moral, legal, more time talking about it, more time analyzing alternatives because a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. i feel like i'm learning about this but i'm very troubled by it and i would like to know more what we can do, what you think all of us can do about these