EH: AI’s may-saying is tiring to hear. We didn’t hear such may-saying when their reports involved other states.
XB: Yes. Amnesty researcher Mustafa Qadri begins this interview by saying “we’re not saying that the entire program constitutes war crimes,” but if the UN Charter means anything the drone program (in its entirety) is a massive war crime. Further into the interview Qadri reiterated this point saying “We’re not saying that drones should stop. We’re not saying drones as a weapon are unlawful. What we’re saying is this program the U.S. has, the U.S. has not provided a satisfactory legal basis, and these cases may be unlawful.”
Even if they are going to treat the UN Charter as completely irrelevant, which really defeats the purpose of having an organization dedicated to upholding human rights, a respect for democracy should compel them to look at public opinion polls where there is overwhelming opposition to this terrorist campaign. This alone should be enough to demand the immediate termination of this program.
Pew Research reported this past May that “About three-quarters (74%) of Pakistanis said the drone strikes killed too many innocent people.” The Pew report went on to say “A 2012 survey of 19 countries plus the U.S. found that, in 17 of them, more than half disapproved of the U.S. conducting drone strikes to target extremists. The policy was particularly unpopular in majority Muslim nations, but it also faced disapproval in Europe and other regions as well.”
Why can’t they bring themselves to denounce the entire program as unlawful? It’s a good thing that the savagery of drone warfare is finally beginning to penetrate elite discussion but the limited nature of the critique is quite shameful especially if you imagine how this “may-saying” sounds to the thousands of people on the receiving end of US terror.