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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 April 7 - 13  > U.S. lethal attacks using drones cannot be justified - Akahata, editorial (excerpts)
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2010 April 7 - 13 [WORLD]

U.S. lethal attacks using drones cannot be justified
- Akahata, editorial (excerpts)

April 13, 2010
The U.S. Obama Administration has expanded its attacks against Al Qaeda with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as a tactic in the fight against the international terrorist group. The U.S. continues to justify such lethal operations targeting suspected terrorist leaders. These operations cause civilian casualties and lead to retaliatory acts of terrorism.

At an annual meeting of the American Society of International Law on March 25, Harold Koh, legal adviser of the U.S. Department of State, claimed in his speech that tracking and killing a particular leader of an enemy force does not violate the laws of war. He stated, “During World War II, for example, American aviators tracked and shot down the airplane carrying the architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, (Yamamoto Isoroku) who was also the leader of enemy forces in the Battle of Midway. This was a lawful operation then, and would be if conducted today.”

U.S. attacks with unmanned aerial vehicles in Pakistan are concentrated near the border with Afghanistan where Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding. According to the New America Foundation, such attacks took place 53 times last year and 28 times by the end of March this year. In addition to its decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, the Obama Administration reportedly decided to expand such attacks.

Pakistan is not fighting the war with the U.S. Pakistani people are criticizing the U.S. military operation within their border as violating the nation’s sovereignty. Similar attacks are believed to be taking place in Yemen and Somalia as well. More locations worldwide might be targeted for drone operations as the Obama Administration stresses the importance of the global war against Al Qaeda.

Both the U.S. forces and the CIA are conducting these operations to track and kill suspected terrorists. The New York Times has recently revealed that a Defense Department official ran an “off-the-book spy operation” using private contractors to kill suspected militants.

Such lawless lethal operations cannot be justified. As the Japanese Communist Party has called for since before the war on Afghanistan began, it is not military operations but international cooperation that must be strengthened to bring terrorists to justice based on international law in any attempt to confront terrorism.
- Akahata, April 13, 2010
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