Obama has before compared the drone program to dealing with a sniper on a roof of a building who is pointing the rifle at children on a playground. And he say, you know, “I understand what the ACLU’s objections are and human rights people and stuff. But do we need to go to a judge to get authorization to take that shooter down before he kills a bunch of kids on a playground? No we don’t.” And I think… everyone in this room agrees with that. If you have someone who’s going to kill a bunch of kids, and they’re a sniper, and they’re not responding to any kind of attempts to get them to put the rifle down, people in this society overwhelmingly would say, “Yes. If we need to kill that person we’ll kill them.”
The problem is, that’s a fake analogy. They have never provided a shred of evidence that a single person that they’ve killed in a drone strike represented an imminent threat to US persons or the security of the United States. They have never given a shred of evidence to suggest that they killed someone en route to putting a bomb on a plane. I guarantee you, because this White House leaks like crazy, if they had that evidence they would put it out there…
If their standard was just that we’re killing people that we think maybe in the future might in certain circumstances try to encourage others to commit acts of terrorism — If that was the policy! — okay, that’s what they’re doing. But that’s not what they say the policy is. They say the policy is we’re targeting people who represent an imminent — “imminent” is their word — threat to US interests, US persons, and US facilities around the world. If that’s the standard then you have to say then what is the definition of the word “imminent.”
There was a white paper of the Justice Department leaked in advance of John Brennan’s confirmation hearings to be CIA director, that had a definition of the word “imminent” not even the most barely literate English speaker would recognize as the definition of “imminent.” It basically was like if you ever thought about terrorism in your life, we can kill you in a drone strike.
The Government’s Secret War with Drones