Dear President Obama,
I understand that we need to keep our country safe. But I am troubled by actions that the government is taking regarding the deliberate drone aircraft killings. If a war is declared, then U.S. actions are subject to international law of war. With respect to domestic law enforcement, the United States constitution circumscribes government action. Without a war, technically neither of these law codes apply. Or, because we declared war in Afghanistan on al-Qaeda, we declared war on al-Qaeda everywhere. By these standards, drone attacks in a country like Pakistan have no real threat to undermine any sort of law. As said by John Brennan, one of your top advisors, Because we are engaged in an armed conflict with al- Qaeda, the United States takes the legal position that, in accordance with international law, we have the authority to take action against al-Qaeda and its associated forces. The United States does not view our authority to use military force against al-Qaeda as being restricted solely to “hot” battlefields like Afghanistan. Therefore I see why you see it fit to assassinate people without due process, specifically using drones. However, is that really fair to those unfortunate Pakistani civilians living in the rural areas, whose villages are constantly vibrating with the deep, low murmur of a drone lurking overhead? Statistics show, and I’m sure you’ve seen these, that in the 300 drone attacks since you have been President, there have been at least 2,000 deaths by drones. Nearly half of these were civilians, and at least 100 of those civilians were killed in follow-up strikes after having gone to help other victims (Woods & Lamb, Covert Drone War). For Americans, hitting one more target in a surprise tactic is a success, but to locals only more loss is conjured. The killings by drones have failed to protect the rights of others under international law or the constitution. You, as a former professor of constitutional law, should be...
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