Ralph Nader: President Obama’s Drone Warfare Program Violates U.S. and International Law

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Posted May 8, 2013

Interview with Ralph Nader, consumer advocate, lawyer, and former presidential candidate, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

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Since President Obama took office in 2009, it’s estimated that the U.S. drone program has killed more than 3,000 people in counter-terrorist strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, all ordered without due process or judicial oversight. On April 27, the Yale Law School presented a panel discussion titled, "Thinking About Drone Warfare." The event featured four guest speakers from academia, human rights groups, law and public policy organizations. Panelists discussed the constitutionality of drone warfare from varying perspectives, most concluding that, whether under President George W. Bush or President Barack Obama, the secretive, extra-judicial killing of anyone deemed to be a terrorist – and even more so the killing of totally innocent people in the process – is both legally and morally wrong.

Sitting in the audience was Ralph Nader, a graduate of Harvard Law School who excoriated his alma mater for not adopting a more critical attitude toward the use of drones and for failing to condemn the practice. He said he feared the only thing that would move most legal scholars to take a position was a drone strike on a convention of constitutional lawyers.

In an April 14th commentary Nader wrote, “The 2001 Congressional Authorization to Use Military Force is not an open-ended authorization for the president. It was restricted to targeting only nations, organizations or persons that are determined to have been implicated in the 9/11 massacres, or harbored complicit organizations or persons. Unless the American people come to realize that a president must be subject to the rule of law and our Constitution, our statutes and treaties, every succeeding president will push the deficit-financed lawlessness further until the inevitable blowback day of reckoning. That is the fate of all empires.” Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Ralph Nader after the Yale forum, where he placed drone strikes in the context of other post-9/11 attacks on human rights and civil liberties.

Find more commentary and analysis from Ralph Nader on drone warfare by visiting nader.org.

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