It's Time to Challenge the Propaganda Regarding Who is Killed by U. S. Drones
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Don Hazen: Why is the CIA in charge of this? What would they say to argue with you? And Why do they think the drone policy is working?
Robert Greenwald: The CIA is in charge, because remember, we're officially not at war with Pakistan. Tell that to the population and in Pakistan, who see this as an extreme violation of their sovereignty. The Pakistan Parliament voted three times unanimously against the use of drones. One of the original justifications by the CIA was that there was this "imminent threat" of terrorism. Well, I defy anyone to prove that the individuals attacked by drones in Pakistan pose an imminent security threat to the security of the United States. I think the CIA would say, and they have said that it's the least-bad solution, but I have concluded it's far from the least bad solution. Basically the CIA has decided that they can unilaterally pick who should be assassinated -- No proof, no evidence, no court of law. A small group of people are deciding who should be assassinated and which countries its OK to do this in, and they are often very very wrong.
Don Hazen: And how do we fight that? As more people are mobilized to be against drones, what would be the strategy and tactics to try to change the policy; It seems like there's no access to changing this policy in a democracy, since much of it is secret, and a "matter of national security." Nobody is voting on it. The Congress isn't saying -- Yes , on drones; or No on drones.
Robert Greenwald: It's somewhat analogous to Afghanistan -- Congress had to have a series of votes over the years to fund that war, keep it going. I think the first step is to have investigations -- It looks like they're going to have an investigation in the UK, and also now that the United Nations is going to be conducting its own. We need to first know: what exactly is the policy, how is it being decided, and to push for transparency. There's absolutely no reason -- with the exception of avoiding outside scrutiny -- for the CIA to keep this hidden. Everyone knows drones are being deployed outside the US for assassinations. Let's say you even believe in drones. Shouldn't we have a system that would "justify" their use? i.e. we did this attack, because these bad guys were there, and here's what we did. We don't even have that. So that's where we start. We are asking for people to contact Pelosi/Boehner and push for the House Resolution that Dennis Kucinich introduced that calls for an investigation.
Don Hazen: Do you have a sense of where this is coming from beyond the CIA? Is Obama and his national security staff all pro-drone?
Robert Greenwald: Based on limited information, it appears to be primarily driven by the CIA and especially John Brennan, chief counter-terrorism advisor to Obama. But now we hear that Brennan is trying to rein the program .
Don Hazen: Moral issues aside, what do you say to the people who a. believe drones will save American lives, b. cost a lot less than the traditional model of bombers? For example there was a huge issue in Afghanistan of bombing weddings, where part of the celebration involves firing machine guns into the sky -- the proponents of drones say, look we're avoiding a lot more casualties with this approach.
Robert Greenwald: Well, the accuracy argument -- whether it's a wedding in Afghanistan or a funeral in Pakistan, it comes down to who was on the ground giving you the information telling you who the attendants were. And we know that the people who give that kind of information are being bribed. So their intelligence is going to be faulty. It's an approach that creates doubts from the outset.