Blogs: The Skeptics

America Should Step Back from the Taiwan Time Bomb

Leaving Korea Will Unburden U.S. Troops and Help South Korea Grow Up

The U.S. Government May Count Civilian Drone Deaths More Carefully

The Skeptics

President Obama's executive order to address civilian casualties, created alongside the drone report, is the bigger story here. If Obama's order stands, the Director of National Intelligence will be required to disclose the total number of strikes outside areas of active hostilities during the previous year by May 1. It will also be U.S. policy to publicly admit mistakes when a strike veers off course and kills or injuries civilians, and financial compensation may be rewarded to the families of the victims. All of these reforms are absolutely necessary if the United States hopes to alleviate the anger that can result from the inadvertent and violent death of a family member from a flying robot. At the very least, acknowledging mistakes will demonstrate to the world that America is willing to stand up and admit when they have erred in judgment or when high standards have been broken.

While this is a start, executive orders are by their very nature less durable than statutes passed by Congress. So, if the United States is indeed genuine in their goal of promoting a little more transparency in our counterterrorism operations, the next president should work with Congress to codify Obama's executive order into law. And that law should include information that is far more specific than a lump death toll that was given to us last week. The American people cannot begin to evaluate the full extent of the drone program without knowing where drones are launching their missiles and which groups are being targeted for death. If the New York Times can disclose this information in their reports without fear of compromising sources and methods, then the White House should be able to do so as well.

Daniel R. DePetris has written for CNN.com, Small Wars Journal and the Diplomat.

Image: a drone flies over the mountains. Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

 

 

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Don't Swap Failed Wars for Doomed Nation-Building Projects

The Skeptics

President Obama's executive order to address civilian casualties, created alongside the drone report, is the bigger story here. If Obama's order stands, the Director of National Intelligence will be required to disclose the total number of strikes outside areas of active hostilities during the previous year by May 1. It will also be U.S. policy to publicly admit mistakes when a strike veers off course and kills or injuries civilians, and financial compensation may be rewarded to the families of the victims. All of these reforms are absolutely necessary if the United States hopes to alleviate the anger that can result from the inadvertent and violent death of a family member from a flying robot. At the very least, acknowledging mistakes will demonstrate to the world that America is willing to stand up and admit when they have erred in judgment or when high standards have been broken.

While this is a start, executive orders are by their very nature less durable than statutes passed by Congress. So, if the United States is indeed genuine in their goal of promoting a little more transparency in our counterterrorism operations, the next president should work with Congress to codify Obama's executive order into law. And that law should include information that is far more specific than a lump death toll that was given to us last week. The American people cannot begin to evaluate the full extent of the drone program without knowing where drones are launching their missiles and which groups are being targeted for death. If the New York Times can disclose this information in their reports without fear of compromising sources and methods, then the White House should be able to do so as well.

Daniel R. DePetris has written for CNN.com, Small Wars Journal and the Diplomat.

Image: a drone flies over the mountains. Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

 

 

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The End of the Beginning of Hillary Clinton's Email Problem

The Skeptics

President Obama's executive order to address civilian casualties, created alongside the drone report, is the bigger story here. If Obama's order stands, the Director of National Intelligence will be required to disclose the total number of strikes outside areas of active hostilities during the previous year by May 1. It will also be U.S. policy to publicly admit mistakes when a strike veers off course and kills or injuries civilians, and financial compensation may be rewarded to the families of the victims. All of these reforms are absolutely necessary if the United States hopes to alleviate the anger that can result from the inadvertent and violent death of a family member from a flying robot. At the very least, acknowledging mistakes will demonstrate to the world that America is willing to stand up and admit when they have erred in judgment or when high standards have been broken.

While this is a start, executive orders are by their very nature less durable than statutes passed by Congress. So, if the United States is indeed genuine in their goal of promoting a little more transparency in our counterterrorism operations, the next president should work with Congress to codify Obama's executive order into law. And that law should include information that is far more specific than a lump death toll that was given to us last week. The American people cannot begin to evaluate the full extent of the drone program without knowing where drones are launching their missiles and which groups are being targeted for death. If the New York Times can disclose this information in their reports without fear of compromising sources and methods, then the White House should be able to do so as well.

Daniel R. DePetris has written for CNN.com, Small Wars Journal and the Diplomat.

Image: a drone flies over the mountains. Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

 

 

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