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Dennis Kucinich
NationofChange / Statement
Published: Saturday 24 September 2011
The use of lethal force by the United States in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – countries we are not at war with – constitutes an already troubling method of waging war in which we are accountable to no one.

Kucinich On The Ever-Expanding Use of Drones to Kill: “Unaccountable, Immoral And, by Definition, Inhuman”

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Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, soft­ware is cur­rently being de­vel­oped that would en­able a drone to fire a mis­sile with­out any input from a human being de­spite the fact that the New Amer­ica Foun­da­tion has found that 32% of those killed from drone strikes in Pak­istan were civil­ians.
Con­gress­man Den­nis Kucinich (D-OH) is a pro­po­nent of peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of con­flict who has stead­fastly op­posed the ex­pan­sion of war around the world and has con­sis­tently op­posed the use of drones abroad. Kucinich re­leased the fol­low­ing state­ment in re­sponse to the ex­pan­sion of U.S. drone bases abroad and the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy that would allow ro­botic drones to hunt and kill human be­ings.
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“This week, The Wash­ing­ton Post fea­tured two ar­ti­cles doc­u­ment­ing the trou­bling ex­pan­sion of the United States’ drone pro­gram through the es­tab­lish­ment of Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency (CIA) drone bases in Africa and the Ara­bian Penin­sula, as well as the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy that will allow for the au­to­mated use of lethal force by drones – drones that ‘hunt, iden­tify and kill the enemy based on cal­cu­la­tions made by soft­ware, not de­ci­sions made by hu­mans.’  This fu­tur­is­tic use of tech­nol­ogy is rem­i­nis­cent of Al­dous Hux­ley’s Brave New World and George Or­well’s 1984, two fic­tional nov­els in which ad­vanced so­ci­eties use tech­nol­ogy to con­trol their pop­u­la­tions both men­tally and phys­i­cally. In 1984, a fa­cial tic could grant the ap­pear­ance of guilt lead­ing to ar­rest. In real life, we are build­ing a so­ci­ety where ro­botic drones act as judge and jury and in­stantly dis­pense death from 10,000 feet.
“The use of lethal force by the United States in coun­tries such as Pak­istan, Yemen and So­ma­lia – coun­tries we are not at war with – con­sti­tutes an al­ready trou­bling method of wag­ing war in which we are ac­count­able to no one. As Philip Al­ston, the United Na­tions Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on Ex­tra­ju­di­cial, Sum­mary or Ar­bi­trary Ex­e­cu­tions rec­og­nizes: ‘Not even the Amer­i­can pub­lic, let alone the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, knows when and where the CIA has au­tho­rized the kill, the cri­te­ria for in­di­vid­u­als who may be killed, how the CIA in­sures killings are legal, and what fol­low-up there is when civil­ians are il­le­gally killed.  It fol­lows that the in­ter­na­tional law re­quire­ments of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity are com­pre­hen­sively vi­o­lated.’ 
“The drone pro­gram is op­er­at­ing with in­creas­ing im­punity.   Last year, it was re­ported that the CIA had added U.S. cit­i­zens to its tar­geted killing list, in sub­ver­sion of their basic con­sti­tu­tional rights and due process of law. In­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tions that have no trans­parency, no ac­count­abil­ity and no over­sight in­evitably leads to vi­o­la­tions of in­ter­na­tional law and vi­o­la­tions of the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States.
“It is no se­cret that drone strikes con­ducted by the CIA abroad as part of our counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tions have re­sulted in the deaths of in­no­cent civil­ians.  Ac­cord­ing to a study by the New Amer­ica Foun­da­tion of U.S. drone strikes in Pak­istan, at least 32% of those killed by the strikes were civil­ians.  I have long ar­gued that the legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the use of drones in Pak­istan could be used to jus­tify strikes in other coun­tries we are not at war with.  The con­cern that our cur­rent legal frame­work will stretch the bat­tle­field to any­where in the world ap­pears to be com­ing true. 
“Ear­lier this year, the House passed the Fis­cal Year 2012 Na­tional De­fense Au­tho­riza­tion Act which in­cluded dan­ger­ous and un­prece­dented lan­guage de­clar­ing that the United States is in an armed con­flict with not only al Qaeda and the Tal­iban, but ‘as­so­ci­ated forces’ and in­di­vid­u­als, or­ga­ni­za­tions and na­tions that sup­port such forces. The Pres­i­dent could then have the full legal au­thor­ity to send Amer­i­can troops to en­gage in acts of war any­where--Yemen, So­ma­lia, Iran, even the United States--with­out  con­sti­tu­tion­ally re­quired Con­gres­sional au­tho­riza­tion and, con­se­quently, with­out any re­stric­tions or over­sight from the Amer­i­can peo­ple or Con­gress.
“The in­creas­ing mal­leabil­ity of who the United States calls its en­e­mies and the legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion it uses to go after them sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­mines our moral stand­ing, in­ter­na­tional law and laws of war. This tech­nol­ogy and this mal­leabil­ity are lead­ing us to­ward a state of per­ma­nent global war.”
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ABOUT Dennis Kucinich
Having been elected to Cleveland's City Council at age 23, Dennis J. Kucinich was well-known to Cleveland residents when they chose him as their mayor in 1977 at the age of 31. At the time, Kucinich was the youngest person ever elected to lead a major American city. Since being elected to Congress in 1996, Kucinich has been a tireless advocate for worker rights, civil rights and human rights.