Issues in international policy discussion

Issue Presented: The issue for debate this week relates to the methods of force that the U.S. has used in pursuing the conflict with al Qaeda and affiliated entities. As the conflict continues, the U.S. has increasingly used unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, (better known as drones) to conduct attacks in countries all over the world. Critics of this policy have claimed that such operations amount to extrajudicial killings and are forbidden under international and domestic laws. Proponents, on the other hand, argue that the attacks are necessary in the conduct of the war on terror, prevent the loss of innocent lives, and have proven extraordinarily effective in degrading the capacities of America’s enemies. 

Both the Obama Administration and the Trump Administration appear to support a wide ranging use of drones, with President Obama vastly expanding their use as compared to President Bush, and President Trump relaxing some of the regulations President Obama put in place regarding their use.  

The question for discussion this week is simple: is U.S. policy employing the use of UAVs to conduct lethal strikes legal under international and domestic law, and is it effective?

In addressing this question, I expect you to engage in the policy analysis that we have been doing throughout the course. Reference the authors in your textbooks and supplemental readings where appropriate, and state your own position. You posting should be no less than 200 words.

Required Readings:

  1. Lecture Book, Chapter 5
  2. Hill, Chapter 4.1, pp. 191-201
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