WASHINGTON: Members of the US Congress have sent a letter to the US President Barack Obama “demanding the White House’s legal justification for “signature” drone strikes.”
According to a press release, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and 25 other members of Congress have said that drone strikes “could significantly increase the risk of killing innocent civilians or those who have no relationship to a potential attack on the US, further enflaming anti-US sentiment abroad.”
The letter, signed by 24 Democrats and 2 Republican members of the US House say that they want to know how the CIA operated drone strikes are authorised and executed, and what mechanisms are used by the CIA and JSOC to ensure that such killings are legal.
The letter also calls for ”the nature of the follow-up that is conducted when civilians are killed or injured; and the mechanisms that ensure civilian casualty numbers are collected, tracked and analysed.”
“The implications of the use of drones for our national security are profound. They are faceless ambassadors that cause civilian deaths, and are frequently the only direct contact with Americans that the targeted communities have. They can generate powerful and enduring anti-American sentiment,” Congressman Kucinich warned.
The press release said that the letter has been signed by John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Michael M. Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (D-GA), Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA), Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), Ron Paul (R-TX), James P. McGovern (D-MA), John Lewis (D-GA), George Miller (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN) Walter B. Jones (R-NC), and Donna Edwards (D-MD).
Earlier in the day, results of the latest Pew poll showed that the controversial programme was widely opposed internationally, with key US allies including Britian, France, Germany, Italy and Japan opposed to the strikes.