Yes, Obama's Drone War Is Legal

Even if the Justice Department made a lousy case: Charles Krauthammer

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 15, 2013 1:27 PM CST

(Newser) – The Justice Department may have written some weak memos justifying President Obama's drone warfare, but the case for the program is solid, writes Charles Krauthammer in a rare defense of the president in the Washington Post. The conservative columnist says the drone debate involves three distinct questions—Does the president have the right to kill enemies abroad using drones? Does the president have the right to kill Americans, even without due process? And who can make those decisions?

The answers to those questions clearly back the president's position, writes Krauthammer: Self-defense and the laws of war justify the use of drones to kill the enemy; becoming an enemy combatant justifies the targeting of an American; and, in war, the commander-in-chief is the ultimate authority on these questions. Of course, these arguments apply to war, and many critics contend that the current situation is more like law enforcement—a belief Krauthammer thinks is practically other-worldly. "For us earthlings, on the other hand, the case for Obama’s drone war is strong," he writes. "Pity that his Justice Department couldn’t make it." Click for his full column.

In this March 7, 2007, file photo, the Israeli army Heron TP drone, also known locally as the Eitan, flies during a display at the Palmahim Air Force Base.
In this March 7, 2007, file photo, the Israeli army Heron TP drone, also known locally as the Eitan, flies during a display at the Palmahim Air Force Base.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)
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