Following Up: Criticism of Obama over Drone Attacks

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Mary Ellen O'Connell, the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution at Notre Dame University, discusses major human rights organizations' criticism of the Obama administration's use of drone strikes.


Mary Ellen O'Connell

Comments [33]

John Garth from Bristol UK

Please find below, a link to a Protest Song that we have just completed.
Our thanks to all those who have helped with this project.
Please send this link to anyone who you think may be interested.
Apologies to anyone who has received this from an unknown party.
Kind regards,
Garth O'Donnell

'Drone Pilot', is a protest song.
All over the world drone planes are being flown, by 'X-Box Generation' men.
These heavily armed planes are remotely controlled, using satellite communications, by pilots often located thousands of miles away from their targets.
To date, thousands of civilian lives have been lost as 'collateral damage'.
There is very little media coverage of these pilotless planes.
This song is about the horrifying reality of modern war.


Aug. 13 2011 01:00 PM
Lance Corey from Ossining, New York

Professor O'Connell illustrates the quandry facing us: Is this war or prosecution of criminals? The problem with the criminal justice solution is that prosecutors must wait till a crime has been committed. I'm sure Prof. O'Connell
would agree with me that "preventive Detention" is not a solution we wish to explore. However - We are at war, and war requires using extraordinary means. Targeted killing occurs in war. Isoruko Yamamoto learned that in WW2. So did many German officers. Our enemy no longers wears uniforms but their declaration of war confirms their position vis-a-vis the US and western civilization.
Professor O'Connell would like to use the rules of war as lawfully followed in WW2?
Over 3 million German civilians died in that "lawful" war; a similar number of Japanese, also.
Lance Corey ND '71

Jul. 06 2011 02:32 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

to John Smith

Unfortunately, the terrorists make it their BUSINESS to embed themselves amongst their own family members, as well as other civilians, all of which is against international law. They count on the well intentioned liberals to shield them, as they do on the bodies of those innocent children and other civilians to do the same. They can shoot at you, but you can't shoot back at them because they are hiding behind children! Even their own children.

They are to blame for spilling innocent blood, not us!

Jul. 06 2011 12:05 PM
john smith from nyc

" War is terrorism of the rich and powerful, while terorism is war of the poor and powerless."

Jul. 06 2011 11:46 AM
James O'Barr from Cold Spring, NY

Prof. O'Connell is absolutely, resolutely right about our use of drones, aka weapons of mass destruction. The problem is that many Americans, including some of our callers, are just simple minded about the efficacy of force, and have become so used to the idea that (our) might makes right, they do not know how to think about solving the problems we have created by other means. Then there is the sex appeal of all those fancy hammers produced by the military/industrial to clobber anything that looks like a nail.

Jul. 06 2011 11:42 AM

Please remember to keep comments civil and profanity-free.

Jul. 06 2011 11:38 AM
john smith from nyc

the dead Pakistani civilians are collateral damage. it's not like they are western people with real blood like ours. so what if most of the dead are kids, women and old people and regular joe schmos. it's not like their relatives are going to get angry and maybe pick up a gun or have a chip on their shoulder against the US and Europe.
gee, i wonder where the moderate muslims are? why don't those angry muslims roll over and die already or at least try to become civilized like us. right chuzzlewitt and jgarbuz?

Jul. 06 2011 11:37 AM
gary from queens

I can't believe the guest is quoting from the Constitution! Those pertain to right of sovereigns of the US, NOT Pakistan!

Second, the socalled civilians getting killed are barboring jihadists. They support jihad against the US. They are not being held captive.

And Jihadists do not wear uniforms, so you can't tell who is a combattant and who is an "innocent" socalled civilian.

Jul. 06 2011 11:35 AM
sasha from NYC

that last caller-Antonio The world is messed up because of people like him. Why should we compromise our values and what we stand for because there is worse out there?

I fully agree with the professor- I value life and drones kill innocent people. We have to look into our over use of them

No system is perfect Antonio- law is no different- that does not mean you stop striving for perfection or compromise your beliefs because others already do the same...

Jul. 06 2011 11:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To John Smith of NYC,

Hezbollah has flown a number of Iranian drones over ISrael. If they could get away with it, of course they would fly predators over Israel and kill ISraelis! THey just don't have enough yet, but Iran is working on providing them soon enough.

Jul. 06 2011 11:32 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

This guest makes me laugh: she compares George III to al Qaeda. Even King George had to answer to his parliament on occasion. Al Qaeda has clearly stated that they answer to no one save God.

Jul. 06 2011 11:30 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

To all Notre Dame alumni - this garbage is what your donations are funding.

Stop giving money to universities!

Jul. 06 2011 11:30 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Nobody asked my parents, who were Holocaust survivors, if there should be a Nuremberg trial or not!The Nuremberg trials were not requested by Holocaust survivors. It was the product of Liberals,many Jewish liberals, who believed that the mass murderers should be given all the niceties of a civil show trial. Stalin was right. The top 50,000 Nazis should have been hanged from lampposts, and that would have been it!
Nuremberg set a VERY BAD precedent.

Jul. 06 2011 11:29 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Mary Ellen is just upset that we are more effective in killing bad guys. She has a superior grasp of "human rights" than the benighted rest of us.

What would we do without campus military experts?

Jul. 06 2011 11:29 AM
john from office

Brian, ask some hard questions. How do you do an arrest in Pakistan, who are against us.

Would she like to be involved in any of these arrests.

Jul. 06 2011 11:28 AM
steve from Manhattan

what's the difference between drone use in Pakistan and bombing North Vietnamese sanctuaries in Cambodia in 1970?

Jul. 06 2011 11:27 AM
dan k from c

I can't understand how an ethical conversation can be made with the assumption that civilians are always innocent. just as Americans who put Bush in office (let alone re-elect him) become implicated in any of his actions abroad, such should be the same logic for those who know of the existence of Al Qaeda members in their region, who do not report them. A discussion needs to take place as to who is an innocent person.

Jul. 06 2011 11:27 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Whatever did happen to our honored and vaunted Nuremburg trials? We hold them in high esteem, as paragons of human moral character, when it's convenient, but we seem to have forgotten about them in recent years.

Jul. 06 2011 11:26 AM
john smith from nyc

To chuzzlewitt
how about lebanese drones over Tel Aviv.hypocrite.

Jul. 06 2011 11:26 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Al Qaeda are illegal combatants at war against the US, and we have the right to kill then on sight no matter where we find them, with or without anyone else's permission. Those who totally disregard international law, such as the Jihadists like Al Qaeda, should have NO protections under same international law. They are lawless and outside the law, and have no rights whatsoever, human or otherwise.

Jul. 06 2011 11:24 AM
john smith from nyc

Let's imagine Chinese drones over NY and Washington DC and see how we would feel.

Jul. 06 2011 11:22 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

To gary from queens:


Jul. 06 2011 11:22 AM
John from LES

I love hypocrisy!! If it was done under Bush it’s a War Crime if under O’Bama (found the ‘ in Ireland) its justified…..
I’m all for the drones – just funny how people out there are think, huh Mary Ellen?

Jul. 06 2011 11:21 AM
john from office

This guest is so brave with other peoples lives. Maybe she should go on the ground to arrest these "criminals".

She sound so naive.

Jul. 06 2011 11:20 AM
Andy B. from New York

This idea of using the Bin Laden raid as a template for fighting terrorism in Pakistan is ludicrous.

She is contradicting herself by talking about cooperation with the Pakistanis. They are on the other side. They arrested all the locals involved in helping out with the US raid.
They hid bin Laden, bin laden had ISI numbers on his cell phone.

Jul. 06 2011 11:18 AM
john from office

Again, she is very brave, with our soldiers lives. Lets she the rights they will give her, upon their victory.

Jul. 06 2011 11:17 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

I'd like to see Miss O'Connell actively engage a target. She thinks that the real world can be reduced to her classroom: let her act on that belief -- in the flesh. Then we'll see how long her . . . . moral superiority lasts.

Jul. 06 2011 11:16 AM
MFan from Staten Island

I wonder what the Nobel Peace Prize committee's take on this issue would be.

Jul. 06 2011 11:15 AM

At the beginning, the guest referred to a one-page PDF by Paulson. Does anyone have a link?

Jul. 06 2011 10:58 AM

At the beginning, the guest referred to a one-page PDF by Paulson. Does anyone have a link?

Jul. 06 2011 10:53 AM
gary from queens

The main argument liberals use against unmanned (or unwomaned) aerial drones is that its too effective, and we are not risking the lives of a would be pilot.

In other words, it's unfair. Such lunatics would want to arm criminals too, just to make it fair.

ONE pilot, in ONE plane, can drop ONE JDAM-equipped bomb on an enemy tank battalian, wiping out dozens of armored vehicles. No survivors. That too would be considered "unfair."

Air superiority would also. let's stop funding our air force!

But the the biggest reason there's nothing wrong with drones is because there are no protests on campuses over Obama's massive use of them. And we all know that college students are the authority on human rights, life experience, and wisdom.

Jul. 06 2011 09:20 AM
potobac from nyc

Patrick from the Bronx may not like the idea of riskless warfare, but it think it safe to assume that those whose asses are on the line approves of it highly.

Jul. 06 2011 07:40 AM
Patrick from Bronx

Modern warfare allows a specialist from a facility in the United States to guide a drone on its way to its target somewhere within the terrain of Central Asia. Such a futuristic innovation in unheroic warfare represents for many a break from military precedent which furthermore augurs an age of riskless warfare more cruel than any we have ever seen.

Jul. 06 2011 06:03 AM

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