Monday 6th February, 2017
6:30pm to 7:30pm
President Obama staked his first presidential campaign on a principled opposition to the Iraq War and a restrained, humble view of the use of US power abroad. However, looking back on the past eight years, the same administration has also quietly grown the US drone program, with bombings in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya. The vast expansion of the armed drone campaign will go down as one of President Obama’s enduring foreign policy legacies.
Jameel Jaffer, renowned civil litigator, led the ACLU legal team that fought for the US government to release the documents underlying the government’s legal and policy framework for its drone program. Now, Jaffer evaluates these “drone memos” in light of domestic and international law. He connects the documents’ legal abstractions to the real-world violence they sanction, and makes the case that we are trading core principles of democracy and human rights for the illusion of security.
Has the drone war program spun out of control? How much power should the executive branch have to carry out these targeted killings via armed drones? What can we expect as President Trump assumes the power and precedent of Obama’s drone war program?
Director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, Columbia University and former Deputy Legal Director, ACLU
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