US lawmaker demands accountability in drone attack

The letter, endorsed by Amnesty International, has already been signed by nine members of Congress.

Washington: A US lawmaker on Thursday demanded accountability and transparency in drone strikes in countries like Pakistan, saying that such attacks undermine the morals, values and the strategic goals of the United States.

"The fact that they are conducted with complete impunity and with no accountability threatens to set a dangerous precedent that could unravel the very laws and international standards the US helped to create," Congressman Dennis Kucinich said.

In a statement, Kucinich said when Congress passed the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, it did not authorise endless war against countries the US is not at war with.

He said the use of drones must be subject to the same legal constrains and oversight as any other weapon.

"These drone strikes are being conducted in the name of our national security and yet Congress and the American people have not been provided with the legal justification for such strikes," he said.

Congressman Kucinich is currently inviting his colleagues to join him in writing to US President Barack Obama, to request "the targeting criteria for `signature` strikes (drone strikes where the identity of the person killed is unknown); mechanisms used by the CIA and JSOC to ensure that such killings are legal; the nature of the follow-up that is conducted when civilians are killed or injured; and the mechanisms that ensure civilian casualty numbers are collected, tracked and analysed".

The letter, endorsed by Amnesty International, has already been signed by nine members of Congress.

According to him, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that at least 2,292 people have been killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004.
The Bureau estimates that of that number, over 350 are civilians.

A July 2009 Brookings Institution report stated that 10 civilians die for every one suspected militant from US drone strikes.

Yet another study by the New American Foundation concluded that out of 114 drone attacks in Pakistan, at least 32 per cent of those killed by the strikes were civilians.