CIA drone attacks produce America’s own unlawful combatants

Gary Solis, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, writes:

In our current armed conflicts, there are two U.S. drone offensives. One is conducted by our armed forces, the other by the CIA. Every day, CIA agents and CIA contractors arm and pilot armed unmanned drones over combat zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including Pakistani tribal areas, to search out and kill Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. In terms of international armed conflict, those CIA agents are, unlike their military counterparts but like the fighters they target, unlawful combatants. No less than their insurgent targets, they are fighters without uniforms or insignia, directly participating in hostilities, employing armed force contrary to the laws and customs of war. Even if they are sitting in Langley, the CIA pilots are civilians violating the requirement of distinction, a core concept of armed conflict, as they directly participate in hostilities.

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2 thoughts on “CIA drone attacks produce America’s own unlawful combatants

  1. pabelmont

    Thanks for this. How about the Blackwater/Xe mercenaries? Are they acting under military orders in a military hierarchy? Do they wear US (or any other ACTUAL army’s uniforms?) Do they pretend to (impersonating an officer)?

  2. Christopher Hoare

    I’m very glad and relieved to see these arguments being put forward.

    The actions of the US administration in the use of killer drones are absolutely no different that those of al Qaeda, and send mercenaries and irregular forces to act as terrorists in other countries. Boy, was Neitsche ever right “when you look into the abyss the abyss looks into you”.

    It is essential that these condemnations are continued and escalated until International law is upgraded to outlaw these criminal acts.

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