Melissa Harris-Perry | November 18, 2012
>>> were met. if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense. if the force used is proportional and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.
>> that was the president in january 2009 as he received the nobel peace prize . making perhaps the clearest sort of defense of a just war position. it felt very sort of professorial moment. yet, the question of drones emerges as the president moves on into his second term and drones have become a tag line that happens at the end of a conversation with progressives talking about the president and say i'm happy about the affordable care act , yes to credit cards being controlled, but what about drones and so that's the question here. what about drones? the president using drones far more than george w. bush did. make a case to me about why they're problematic. i'm not sure that i agree.
>> it damages america's long-term relationships. obama was the preferred candidate in all but two countries. israel and pakistan. pakistan was largely because of this issue of drone strikes. in america, we don't talk about the on the ground consequences of drone strikes. even when obama and -- a lot of fuss about that which was extraordinary. the consensus that they can kill people including americans and a 16-year-old child. that's considered legitimate. at the same time, drone strikes are used as a recruitment tool. they destabilize regions. they are largely unaccountable. you can kill somebody and there's not an investigation about that. there's not a trial leading up to it. this those terms, that's why drone strikes are destructive for the long-term relationship. they to more or less -- the other two were about how they create long-term policy implications for those with whom we have separate interests and the other is whether or not they're extrajudicial.
>> they're intertwined.
>> i don't think drones are the issue. the policy that's being waged. strategic policy is, secret war . and a kill list. there's a list of people that jasoc has and they can go and kill those people. if you want to say is this policy working. there are something like nine names. now there are thousands. we kill more people and the list gets longer.
>> when you're talking about why are we in afghanistan? we're in to fight the people in afghanistan. why do we have a kill list. there's more people that have to be killed. what is the outcome. if -- this is a strategic question. we're taking people off it and more names being added. where exactly does that end up? that's one question. second of all, is the legal question. we killed a 16-year-old awlaki, right?
>> he's got a facebook page. killing an american citizen is a big deal .
>> unless you do it on the streets of chicago or new orleans. i guess for me, my response is always a little bit of like, oh, yeah? would you like me to show you the american state killing american kids? but we -- in other words, i'm not sure that there's been no public accounting in the sense that the very fact that we can call his name and that when we say there is a public recognition of it.
>> here's the difference. if a kid in the bronx as happened, gets killed by the nypd in his house while he's in his bathroom, the facts around that are not behind the wall of secrecy that guards the national security state. those are squarely in the public realm and there's going to be an accounting and possible judicial process . what happens is by definition, secret and not subject to democratic --
>> every debate and every discussion, this is a new method of war. this is something that we start hearing of and talking about recently. so even the legal way around it has to be assessed. plus, you were talking about our allies and strategies. we've been giving the pakistani and afghani governments billions of dollars in the last tep years and we gave them unconditionally. we were giving the army the billions of dollars, the army was closed in on the talibans, financing them, they were actually arming them and giving them information about where are we operating. we have to change strategy. use drones and as citizen who lived in a war zone , i have to tell you, i'd rather million times drone attacks and even if that list is 1,000 than have hundreds in iraq and other places that are killed.
>> oftentimes that's a false choice . it's not either/or.
>> you have a double strategy. you cannot have only one. let's remember, in somalia and libya, they worked.
>> the troops on the ground can also bring certain kinds of human rights violations .
>> they can bring certain kinds of human rights violations with them. rape and abuse. just to say that it's not as though between the false choice of troops and drones that there is -- that one gets rid of potential human rights violations . they both bring them.
>> we're talking about apples and oranges to a certain extent. the drone, i think, as chris said is yes it's a new technology. relatively new technology. but it's used for an old purpose. that purpose is assassination. the question --
>> for me at least as a lawyer, how the legality of carrying out these assassinations. it's one thing to cite young awlaki but he was killed in a successful attempt to kill his father, also an american citizen .
>> he was already --
>> two american citizens, for whom capital punishment was carried out.
>> without due process .
>> without due process . when a young man is killed in his bathroom in the bronx, you can hold people accountable. that's generally not due to an order from above or from the police chief .
>> that was the story in the u.s. that was the thing that we had -- that we as a nation said this is unacceptable.
>> let me say this.
>> i'm sorry. this guy authorized the killing of other americans. it's treason.
>> we're going to take a quick break. when we come back, a bit more on this question but also on the issue of benghazi. the