This issue is not going to go away, nor should it:
A senior United Nations official said on Wednesday that the growing use of armed drones by the United States to kill terrorism suspects was undermining global constraints on the use of military force. He warned that the American example would lead to a chaotic world as the new weapons technology inevitably spread.
In a 29-page report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the official, Philip Alston, the United Nations special representative on extrajudicial executions, called on the United States to exercise greater restraint in its use of drones in places like Pakistan and Yemen, outside the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The report — the most extensive effort by the United Nations to grapple with the legal implications of armed drones — also proposed a summit meeting of “key military powers” to clarify legal limits on such killings.
In an interview, Mr. Alston said the United States appeared to think that it was “facing a unique threat from transnational terrorist networks” that justified its effort to put forward legal justifications that would make the rules “as flexible as possible.”
But that example, he said, could quickly lead to a situation in which dozens of countries carry out “competing drone attacks” outside their borders against people “labeled as terrorists by one group or another.”
Basically, the United States has decided that it has an absolute right to impose the death sentence on anyone they suspect of being a terrorist, and anyone who happens to be near the alleged suspect. Or anyone who is mistaken for someone we suspect to be a terrorist. Or anyone near someone we have mistaken for someone we suspect to be a terrorist. Wired magazine had a piece a couple months back after Noah Schachtman spent some time in Pakistan, and basically, there simply appears to be no rules before firing away.
Which is why every couple of weeks you hear about another drone attack that allegedly killed Al Qaeda’s #3, and then a few weeks later we learn that no, that was actually a wedding party we vaporized. Whoops! Mistakes were made! There will be a full investigation! Hearts and minds!