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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid