Archive for the ‘Washington Post’ Category

A short letter for the Washington Post, this time focused on the question of drones and their use as a tactic in American counter-terrorism. My original letter was much longer, but the distilled point is still there. I have touched on this subject before, and would like to return with a much bigger piece at some point but am a bit overwhelmed with other things at the moment. Look for some longer pieces to land in the near future in the meantime.

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The confirmed expansion of the drone program in Africa [“U.S. creating a ring of secret drone bases,” front page, Sept. 21] highlights once again the importance of the program to American counterterrorism efforts.

But in the rush to deploy with this clearly effective new technology, have policymakers given enough consideration to the fact that they are carving out a path that almost completely disregards the conventional rules of war, borders and the right of due process in foreign countries?

There also is a longer-term impact of the wanton use of this technology that must be confronted: What happens when others manage to develop the same technology? Can the United States complain when a foreign power uses drones to eliminate individuals they believe are plotting terrorism in a country that is a close American ally? More immediately, can it complain when foreign powers send teams to execute individuals they claim are terrorist plotters? What if these supposed plotters are in the United States?

Raffaello Pantucci, London

The writer is an associate fellow at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization

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Another epistolary contribution, this time in the Washington Post in reaction to an article in last week’s paper by Craig Whitlock on “Extradition of Terror Suspects Flounders” – I see they ran it after another letter by someone from Human Rights Watch so maybe I should’ve used my title. My original was a bit longer, but didn’t really say much more and editing probably did it some favours.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/27/AR2008122700982_2.html

How to End an Extraditions Roadblock

Sunday, December 28, 2008; Page B06

The excellent article on extraditions highlighted an issue that quietly dogs the “special” Anglo-American relationship. But it missed a more atmospheric reason behind U.S. difficulties regarding extraditions.

In launching the “global war on terror,” the United States declared that the gloves were off and that the rules of the game were different. Yet it continued to expect its allies to adhere to the rules that applied before this new situation was declared. We may all agree that the current strain of terrorism poses a dangerous threat, but this disconnect provides lawyers with ample room for arguments that many European courts will permit.

This situation will fade in importance if the incoming Obama administration is able to live up to its many promises, including closing the Guantanamo Bay prison and realizing that the war on terrorism is a global criminal justice matter and one of many threats we face today, rather than the defining strategic threat.

RAFFAELLO PANTUCCI

London