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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid