by Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve
In a speech at Westminster College last night, Bernie Sanders called the Global War on Terror a “disaster for the American people and for American leadership.” He added that it had given terrorists “exactly what they want”, and highlighted the use of torture and drone strikes that cause high civilian casualties as undermining American moral values.
Bernie Sanders is right – the so-called “War on Terror” has tarnished America’s image around the globe while playing directly into terrorists’ hands.
While we continue to detain men indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay and while drone strikes rain down across the Middle East it will continue to do so.
American leadership and vision is needed now more than ever. For this to happen, lawmakers must assert their constitutional function and revisit the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
But it has emerged today that the Trump administration is set to dismantle Obama-era restrictions on drone strikes and ground raids outside traditional warzones.
This proposal is a foreign policy disaster. The US has the right to defend itself against imminent attack, but as our recent investigation in Yemen shows, the drone program has already moved far from that – selecting targets on the basis of shaky intelligence, and killing hundreds of people, including children. Loosening the already poor safeguards in place will cause more innocents to die, stoke the flames of extremism, and do nothing to make Americans safer.
We have found that since Trump took office, at least 30 civilians have been killed in ground raids and drone strikes in Yemen, where the US is not formally at war. .” The number includes children.
Earlier this year, a judge in DC, ruling on the case of Yemeni drone victim, said that Congressional oversight of the drone program and related military activities was “a joke.
We agree, which is why Reprieve is now taking the fight to the US Supreme Court. More on that to come soon…