The people of the region opposing and ready to fight ISIS and their allies, including the United States, must demonstrate a clear and consistent moral basis in all of their acts. We cannot fight ISIS while routinely killing civilians in the process.
It's rare to hear a government official speak in contrite tones; rarer still if that official represents the National Security Agency. Recently, however, Anne Neuberger, a special assistant to former NSA Director Keith Alexander, did just that.
Enemies, innocent victims, and soldiers have always made up the three faces of war. With war growing more distant, two of those faces have, however, faded into the background in recent years.
Far from seeing the drones as "indiscriminate killers" that are carpet bombing Pakistani cities and hunting innocent civilians, they seem to know that they are perhaps the best "worst option" in the campaign against fanatical terrorists like Hakimullah Mehsud who have deliberately killed thousands of civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan and here in the U.S... and are hell-bent on killing more.
I'm not under any illusions that these demands are going to be met immediately. But here are three things that, following President Obama's speech, I claim are realistic goals for reforming the former "Global War on Terror" in Yemen in the next six months.
Drones have become a cure for the disarray and defeat associated with our doctrine of counterinsurgency warfare. But what happens when a weapon embraced as a panacea turns out to be a source of grave error?
Drones have entered our consciousness. The following reflections do not address legal, political, or military issues, though these have great importance. Rather I seek to begin a conversation about our relationship as human beings to these robotic objects as weapons.