Death by Drone: By Presidential Order

Poor Mr. Obama. We warned George W. Bush and his henchmen that they would be held accountable for torturing people. It’s clearly against the law. It violates treaties and conventions that the US signed. And sooner or later some ambitious, gutsy or naïve judge is going to issue a warrant for their arrest.

“Stay in Texas,” we told the ex-president, or he is likely to fall into a judicial trap, like Chile’s former head of state, Pinochet.

Now, Mr. Obama better put his passport away too.

Is Obama committing crimes? He might someday be prosecuted for ordering drone attacks
By Dan Simpson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The coincidence in time of an international court sentencing former Liberian President Charles G. Taylor to 50 years in prison for war crimes and the detailed account in The New York Times of how President Barack Obama decides which foreign and US citizens to kill with drones, without trial, makes me nervous.

Mr. Taylor was not the first major political leader tried for crimes in an international court. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was on trial when he died in 2006. Former Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadjic and Ratko Mladic are currently on trial. Former Chad President Hissene Habre and Sudanese President Omar al- Bashir are candidates for such trials.

Any prosecutor involved in international law is fully aware of one of the major difficulties of bringing off successful war crimes prosecutions – tying the actions of the accused directly to the crimes committed.

Now, putting aside whether it is legal for Mr. Obama to order the death by drone of al-Qaida and other figures, numbering now around 2,000 in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, plus whoever happens to be nearby when a rocket hits – associates, friends, wives, children – he is clearly responsible for doing so. The president is described in the Times piece as personally choosing the targets.

Few have said yet that these killings are war crimes, but one day someone is likely to deem them so and Mr. Obama may even be charged in an international court, probably after he has left office. He clearly is taking direct responsibility because he sees the drone killings as something that only a president can order.


Bill Bonner
for Markets and Money

From the Archives…

The Avalanche and the Phase Transition of the Financial System
2012-06-08 – Greg Canavan

A Financial Crisis that Repels Private Capital
2012-06-07 – Eric Fry

Floating Towards Japan’s Economy on a Sea of Bad Debt
2012-06-06 – Bill Bonner

Pirate Politics to Save the European Union
2012-06-05 – Nick Hubble

China’s Economy?Where All is Not As It Seems
2012-06-04 – Greg Canavan

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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