CIA Director nominee Brennan defends drone strikes
Washington: Emphasizing on careful and responsible use of unmanned aircraft, CIA Director nominee John Brennan has defended drone strikes against terrorists, saying they are conducted in full compliance of law.
"As you know, the US has publicly acknowledged that it sometimes uses remotely piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific al-Qaeda terrorists in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the US and to save American lives," John Brennan, chief counter terrorism adviser to US President Barack Obama and nominee for CIA Director, said.
In written answers submitted to a Senate Committee ahead of his confirmation hearing, Brennan said these strikes are conducted in full compliance of the law.
"In fact, extraordinary care is taken to ensure that they conform to the law of war principles of necessity, the requirement that the target have definite military value; distinction, the idea that only military objectives may be intentionally targeted and that civilians are protected from being intentionally targeted," he pointed out.
Other war principles that are conformed with are, "proportionality, the notion that the anticipated collateral damage of an action cannot be excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage and; humanity, a principle that requires us to use weapons that will not inflict unnecessary suffering".
Defending the use of drones against terrorists, Brennan said, using remotely piloted aircraft for targeted strikes can be a calibrated choice because of their ability to fly hundreds of miles over the most treacherous terrain, strike targets with astonishing precision, and then return to base.
"Moreover they dramatically reduce the danger to US personnel and to innocent civilians, especially considered against massive ordnance that can cause injury and death far beyond the intended target," he said.
Brennan will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today.
"We must, however, use these technologies carefully and responsibly.
The President has, in fact, demanded that we hold ourselves to the highest possible standards and that, at every step, we be as thorough and deliberate as possible," Brennan said, adding that as a result the US has applied rigorous standard and a rigorous process of review for drone strikes.
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