JOIN US

Copeland: Should the U.S. president have the right to kill American citizens when conducting counterterrorism operations?

By: /
8 February, 2013

The increasing incidence of selective assassination, often using robotic devices such as drones and involving extensive collateral damage, is the latest worrisome development in the ill-conceived Global War on Terror.

If the principle of rule of law means anything, then neither American citizens, nor anyone else should be subject to even the potential use of deadly force in the absence of declared war or due judicial process.

Terrorism is a threat, but its consequence has been wildly exaggerated in the service of special interests. Relative to the more profound suite of planetary challenges, including those associated with climate change, diminishing biodiversity, environmental collapse and a host of other issues rooted in science and driven by technology, political violence and religious extremism barely register.

Persistent underdevelopment and chronic insecurity, generated in large part by unmet basic human needs, represent the underlying problems.

The Obama administration’s reliance upon extra-judicial killing will exacerbate anger, alienation and resentment, and in so doing create new enemies. With its international image and reputation already under great stress, that is the last thing the U.S. needs.

The persistent pursuit of legal remedies, backed by patient police and intelligence work, represents a superior alternative, in both moral and practical terms.

Before you click away, we’d like to ask you for a favour … 

Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

Become a Supporter