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
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)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 49 comments
K.KRANK
Feb 16, 2013 1:18 PM CST
" Does the president have the right to kill Americans, even without due process? " Without due process Presidential power becomes equal to the power of the Kings of old Europe, who were able to have people imprisoned & executed @ will (& whether the imprisoned were actually criminals who committed a crime or merely spoke out against the King). CIA extraordinary rendition sites - the dungeons of the former Kings of England anyone? is.gd/wGmbu2
Comp_User
Feb 16, 2013 11:17 AM CST
Aren't preemptive attacks on unsuspecting civilians terrorist attacks too? Whats the difference? Just because it is the US president giving the orders, I guess its alright to murder ANYONE you want, without due process. That was Adolf's and the Mexican drug cartels outlook too!!!!!
rosarians
Feb 16, 2013 10:45 AM CST
When an American soldier in the field aims his weapon at an enemy combatant, should he first ask his conscience if he has the right to kill the enemy or should he wait until the enemy decides to shoot first? Should he email his Congressman for permission to shoot first?