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In a Secret Drone War, Immoral Kill Deals Will Always Tempt Us

April 9, 2013 Critics of America's drone war have long insisted that the secrecy surrounding it all but guarantees abuses. How could it be otherwise? CIA agents are permitted to operate as international assassins, killing without any transparent standards, their actions kept secret even after the fact. The Obama Administration has taken pains...

Commentary: Let's Make Drone Strikes Safe, Legal, and Rare

March 27, 2013 Plenty of pundits on the left and right still support targeted killing, as do voters, military brass, think-tank fellows, and Congressional majorities. It is nevertheless worth giving the issue another look, because the Obama Administration's apologists seldom acknowledge the strongest arguments against our particular drone policy. Their rhetoric, however effective,...

Senator Graham: America Has Killed 4,700 People With Drones

February 22, 2013 Strange things happen when a country kills people but refuses to give even a rough estimate of how many. Have American drone strikes killed 2,000 humans? 3,000 humans? 4,000 humans? 5,000 humans? 6,000 humans? No one knows for sure. President Obama avers that citizens are right to debate the killings....

Like a Swarm of Lethal Bugs: The Most Terrifying Drone Video Yet

February 19, 2013 Science writer John Horgan's feature on the many ways drones will be used in coming years is interesting throughout, and terrifying in the passage where he describes an effort to build micro-drones that are, as the U.S. Air Force describes them, "Unobtrusive, pervasive, and lethal." Air Force officials declined a...

Video Blogger Grills Obama on Transparency

February 15, 2013 A video blogger named Kira Davis, a stay-at-home mom in Orange County, California, impressed me Thursday in a Google Plus interview with President Obama by respectfully posing a tougher question than award-winning broadcaster Steve Kroft has ever managed on 60 Minutes. "You ran on a platform of really trying to...

from govexec

We're about to learn who was right about Obamacare

January 28, 2013 The passage of President Obama's health care bill and the Supreme Court's stamp of approval caused many conservatives to treat Election 2012 as their last chance to stop the legislation. Democrats celebrated their victory at the ballot box in part because the entirety of the Affordable Care Act will now...

from govexec

The guilty conscience of a drone pilot who killed a child

December 19, 2012 This isn't an argument against drone strikes -- it is a critique of the way that they're presently carried out. It begins with a tragedy. The German newspaper Der Spiegel has published a moving profile of an American drone pilot who flew armed, remotely piloted missions over Afghanistan, one country...

Commentary: When the U.S. shoots a human should pull the trigger

December 14, 2012 The aversion I have to autonomous weapons dates back to a bygone afternoon when I sat playing Golden Eye, a James Bond-themed video game that I was progressing through with all the alacrity of its lead character until I reached the jungle level. Expert as I was at evading enemy...

from govexec

Video: Americans sum up presidential debate before it happens

October 18, 2012 Asked who won the town hall between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, Los Angelenos were emphatic. The problem: the event hadn't yet happened. The undecided voters at Tuesday's town hall in New York have been criticized for the worst of their questions, but credit them with this much: no one...

from govexec

The Obama administration violated the constitution but won't reveal how

July 24, 2012 For months, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has been giving American citizens an extraordinary warning: the federal government is spying on us in ways that violate our privacy and would alarm us if we knew more, he insists, adding that he can't tell us any more because the details are classified....