A new Gallup poll shows that 66% of respondents do not believe drone strikes should be used against suspected terrorists within the United States. And an even larger number, 79% of respondents, don’t believe strikes should be permitted in the United States against suspected terrorists who are US citizens.In other words, we now know that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose a preposterous idea that no one had ever considered doing. Set aside any constitutional or moral questions about counter-terrorism or the rights of US citizens, the whole point of using drones is to mount attacks in areas where you have no pervasive and secure control over the ground — something that the US has everywhere inside the United States.
Really, wholly apart from any constitutional or legal issue, why would the US government use a drone to attack a suspected terrorist in the US — as opposed to arresting them or in a more extreme situation attacking them in their compound/house like the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department did with Chris Dorner last month. And if things really got totally out of hand, why not a conventional bomber or fighter jet since there’s no anti-aircraft capacity in the US that the US military or US government doesn’t control?
A real question is whether police and SWAT teams should use militarized tactics in raids within the US. That’s a real question. Whether we think drone attacks inside the US are alright or not is a silly one.
The whole thing confirms my belief that in most cases the ‘drone issue’ is a distraction from actual civil liberties or war powers questions.