News / USA

    Obama Outlines Limits on Drone Use in Counterterrorism War

    Obama Outlines Counterterrorism Policyi
    X
    May 24, 2013 11:03 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States has won major battles in the war on terror, but that no president can promise to put an end to it. In a major speech Thursday, Mr. Obama unveiled his plans for fighting radicalized individuals as well as terrorist networks worldwide. Republican senators were quick to criticize the president's plan. Zlatica Hoke has the story.
    Obama Outlines Counterterrorism Policy
    In a major address at the National Defense University in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama has given a framework for ongoing counterterrorism efforts, including the use of drones in direct lethal action against terrorists.  
     
    The hourlong speech was Mr. Obama's most expansive effort yet to define threats that al-Qaida and "associated forces" pose to the United States, define how the U.S. responds, and outline limitations on such action.

    Related video report by Luis Ramirez
    For US, No Turning Back on Dronesi
    X
    May 24, 2013 12:31 AM
    In his speech Thursday, President Obama defended his administration's use of drones, saying they are the safest way to wage war on terrorists. The administration's use of drones has come under criticism, especially after Wednesday's revelations by the US government that US drone strikes have killed four American citizens in Yemen and Pakistan since 2009. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
    As the U.S. ends its military involvement in Afghanistan, he said al-Qaida's "core" in Afghanistan and Pakistan is "on a path to defeat."  He said there have been no large-scale attacks on the United States. 
     
    Obama said other threats have emerged, including al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), along with other localized groups, and radicalized individuals in the U.S.
     
    Obama said the U.S. prefers to help build the capacity of partners such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia to act against extremist networks.  
     
    He said that when governments cannot stop terrorism on their territory, lethal targeted action, including with drones, is required, but must be held to rigorous standards.
     
    "America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists - our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute them.  America cannot take strikes wherever we choose - our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty," he sid. 
     
    Obama called the use of drones effective, saying they have disrupted many plots, and that they are legal, noting America was attacked on September 11, 2001.
     
    But he acknowledged that the new technology raises "profound questions" and the risk of "creating new enemies." 
     
    "As our fight enters a new phase, America’s legitimate claim of self-defense cannot be the end of the discussion.  To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance.  For the same human progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power - or risk abusing it," he said. 
     
    Obama also spoke about the legality of targeting Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and radical Muslim cleric who was among four Americans killed by drones since 2009.
     
    "When a U.S. citizen goes abroad to wage war against America - and is actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens, and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot - his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a swat team," he said. 
     
    Obama did not announce any steps to transfer additional authority for drone operations from the CIA to the Defense Department.  But a policy document he signed expresses a preference that the U.S. military has a lead role in the use of force "outside of war zones." 
     
    Professor Ken Anderson, from American University Washington College of Law, says the speech, which also covered detention policies, probably achieved a key objective.
     
    "I think that it represented an understanding by the Obama administration in its second term that it has to reach out to Congress on a wide variety of issues that range from Guantanamo to drone strikes to other things, and that it needs to find ways in which to institutionalize and make an acceptable part of the permanent national security tool set of the United States, not just for this president but into the future," he said. 
     
    President Obama said the U.S. must define counterterrorism efforts not as a boundless global war on terror but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific extremist networks.
     
    The president plans to re-engage with Congress on drone policy.  He ordered a review of proposals such as establishing a special court to evaluate and authorize lethal action.
     
    He also wants the congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force, (AUMF) that Congress approved after the September 11, 2001 al-Qaida attacks, to be refined, and ultimately repealed.  He said the U.S. must "discipline" its thinking so it is not drawn into more wars it does not need to fight.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Michael from: USA
    May 24, 2013 8:03 AM
    Counterterrorism tries to be effective. Worry over threats to citizens block out the lucid view faith teaches: do good works. Drones are a product of excessive anxiety which blocks out striving through faith-based religions

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    May 24, 2013 12:16 AM
    Excellent speech, good way forward, let us hope it all works out. The one minor point, is that the view of the US, by anti - Western extremist/anti-democracy/anti-free enterprise, pro-communists, pro-nazis, pro-totaliarism, pro anarchy.. etc, came about long before Pres Obama, or the creation of UAVs, or the war on terrorism; it started when the US become a world economic and military power; so any one blaming Pres. Obama is out to lunch, and probably falls into one of the anti- or pro groups mentioned.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora