Morning Joe | February 19, 2013
>> going to show the best sunrise -- do you really think that's the best?
>> that's pretty.
>> 45 minutes past the hour.
>> don't blow past this moment.
>> top five.
>> it has to at least be top five. look at the cars going into work.
>> if you're listening to xm sirius right now.
>> it is so great.
>> you don't think that's unbelievable?
>> i think it plays really well. willie will explain this to all of you in xm sirius land.
>> look at the colors. it is so nice it is getting light earlier.
>> but at least you can start to see.
>> april, of course, a lot of times is another month away. at least you feel better.
>> here with us now, the president of the council on foreign relations , richard haass , author of the forthcoming book, foreign policy begins at home, the case for putting america's house in order. can't wait to see that. we will read actually what you write in the " wall street journal " today. the president has too much latitude to order drone strikes, you go on to write. u.s. drone strikes must be consonant with smart foreign policy . this means the strike is only when it is near certainty the target is a highly dangerous terrorist that the strike is likely to succeed and that collateral damage will be minimal and there is no viable alternative. such considerations should rule out signature strikes which target people who are behaving in ways that resemble how terrori terrorists tend to behave. the standards i am arguing for here would lead to fewer drone strikes. there is a danger that policy can be too restrictive makeing impanel what should be difficult but the process that currently exists for authorizing drone attacks lacks sufficient controls especially when the targets are u.s. citizens .
>> we spent too much time twisting ourselves in knots saying the terrorists are about to attack the so-called imminent standard, honest answers we never know. we don't know when terrorists are about to strike. we have to have a whole different set of criteria. the department of justice memorandum is really shoddy work. we should do better things in our government and we have to be smart. we have to ask ourselves, are the likely gains going out weigh the costs. the whole idea is to discourage people from becoming terrorists, making a career choice and getting local governments to become our partners. before we shoot these things off, are we going to alienate more young men to become terrorists and ailient the governme governments that produce terrorism. we have to be smart and more thoughtful into what wore doing.
>> jon meachem.
>> dr. haass, you acknowledge there should be some role for this. is this a powell doctrine for drone strikes in a way?
>> first of all, you're exactly right. you don't want to make it impossible, jon. you want to make it difficult. we want to ask ourselves really the same question you ask yourself before you do anything else in foreign policy are the li likely benefits going to out-weigh the likely cost. does it make sense to do this opposed to capturing them, let them be and letting the local government do something opposed to sending in a special forces team? you have to go through an analytical framework and cost- benefit analysis and seems to me we've been quick on the tricker because it's safe and easy to do compared to everything else. we don't want to create a world, quite honestly where drone strikes become common place. you have to think what we do and how we do it. what kind of message does that send around the world to other governments. we don't want to make this casual. we have to make it doable but exceptional.
>> richard, if you, i guess discreetly is the word, for more sparingly or smartly, are drone strikes an effective tool disrupting and discouraging terrorists.
>>> the argument from the white house is, yes, we've taken some extreme measures, al qaeda is dispersed around the world and breaking up, they're on the run. if we use them right, is it a good approach against terrorism?
>> absolutely. it's an important weapon in the toolbox and why you don't want to ban them or make them impossible. you want to be smart in how you use them. sometimes drones are the best thing to do and sometimes not. we have to be a little more discriminating thinking through and more publicly discriminating. it's important to send the message to american citizens and other governments, when we shoot a drone, it really does make sense, it was the least bad course of action available to the united states . it makes it's easier then for the host countries we're trying to get to partner with us to justify continuing to work with us.
>> this story has been retold in america since the beginning of the republic, we are faced with a new threat from abroad, we respond and usually we respond aggressive aggressively, sometimes over overaggressively and we have to pull back over time . the bush administration was taught that lesson and looks like now the obama administration is being taught that lesson.
>> i think so. i wonder richard's reaction to this, to some extent, perhaps president obama 's surprise if not vice president biden's there's been an enormous overlap in the anti-terrorism policies between the bush-cheney administration and obama-biden administration and i'm wondering what the debates inside and what the current vice president might think about the drone policy?
>> the vice president has been an advocate of the so-called light footprint. drones have become popular opposed to doing new iraqis and afghanistan, seen as the least alternative to going in with boots on the ground and heavy footprints. once you put aside the debate you say the vice president has been right about and won, once you decide we will go light rather than heavy, then i think you start a new debate, what's the proper mix of drones and special forces and simply letting them be. the answer can't be on every occasion we shoot drones unless we're confident the target is all that important and we're all that likely to get them.
>> does it surprise you the administration has gone this far?
>> it doesn't because i think after iraq and afghanistan the whole idea was to pull back american involvement on a large scale overseas, this looked to be a relatively cheap and easy -- i don't really like using those words -- clearly a more economical alternative, so this was consistent pulling back from large came heavy footprint commitments. it doesn't surprise me. almost like regulatory policy, sometimes you go too far. i think the answer now is not to stop it but dial it back.
>> thank you so etmuch.
>>> coming up, senator ted crews is called out of line for his comments about chuck hagel . are his antics doing more harm than good to the republican party ? we'll be right back. as your life