Redraw deadly power limits against terrorist groups

The Biden administration began last week with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. release An edited version of former President Trump’s policy playbook that controlled the use of deadly forces against suspected terrorists, including drone strikes. The new release renews public attention to the program that has been the basis of America’s eternal war for almost 20 years, raising long-standing public concerns about the legacy of security devices since 9/11 and the impact of US deadly involvement. I emphasize it.

The release will take place almost four years after the Trump administration Revised It relaxed the rules and safeguards introduced by the Obama administration in 2013, at least in an attempt to curb the use of US force in anti-terrorism operations. This release also confirms concerns about the normalization of once exceptional guidelines on the use of deadly forces outside war zones around the world.

Since 9/11, the United States has been active in more and more theaters against an ever-growing array of targets. Many have little or no formal relationship with the attack designer. The results of both President Obama’s and President Trump’s policy guidance underscore the risks of this approach. While President Biden is considering these policies, he means a decades-long program of deadly airstrikes outside the war zone, primarily in secret, without proper oversight and accountability. Rather than imposing certain restrictions, it may simply be modified. The Biden administration will work to avoid that urge.

If the government chooses to maintain or expand U.S. secret airstrike programs (including drone strikes), and use force in countries where the U.S. is not at war (or is no longer at war) There are some risks when choosing a wider range. Our new report, “A new agenda for US drone policy and the use of deadly forcesIn investigating these risks, guiding the use of force, and ultimately advancing appropriate, respectful and responsible policies to end all “eternal wars”, the Biden administration And provide recommendations to Congress.

First, there is a risk that general knowledge of the use of US deadly forces in more countries will remain dangerously restricted to more recognized enemies. The policies governing US counter-terrorism operations, including deadly air strikes, remain secret, hindering public discourse and debate about US actions, assessing the strategic value and effectiveness of these operations, and assessing their effectiveness. It makes it nearly impossible to determine if such a strike is in line with US policy. In addition, the legal and policy framework that established the “Counter-Terrorism World War” and promoted the permissible use of deadly forces since the US drone program is now firmly established in national policy. The current US approach is More than a dozen countries It can be extended to several more.

Given the US government’s tolerant attitude towards the use of deadly forces, there is also the risk of perpetuating harm to civilians and hindering accountability. In the normalization of drone attacks and the use of force against terrorist suspects, Americans still lack a clear explanation of the impact and consequences of US airstrikes on civilians and civilian life.There is gap To government report, And non-governmental assessments show that civilians continue to bear the burden of US operations. The US government has taken tentative steps to learn more about the effects of strikes, acknowledge and respond to mistakes, but little progress has been made to institutionalize accountability.

Finally, if the United States maintains or expands its current approach, it risks setting dangerous international precedents on the use of force and undermining the rule of law. Drones continue to grow rapidly. The United States is one of the world’s leading exporters of drones, not only increasing the availability of deadly drones, but also risking exporting problematic frameworks for their use. The US Government maintains a combination of law, broad legal interpretation, and policy guidance to streamline the use of deadly forces that have resulted in complex and confusing frameworks. This ambiguity undermines confidence in the United States’ compliance with the rule of law and can set a dangerous precedent for the use of opaque and unexplained forces around the world.

The United States reserves the ability to use deadly forces in new situations, with new risks and limited transparency and accountability. Such options were once considered exceptional, but over the last two decades they have become established in policy response and anti-terrorism strategies.

The administration must resist the tendency to be adopted during the Obama administration and revitalize the deteriorating approach during the Trump administration. Instead, President Biden needs to develop a clear, concise, and constrained strategy that properly positions anti-terrorism among other pressing security priorities. When the Biden administration considers policies and guidance to control the use of deadly forces outside the war zone, it confirms that subsequent anti-terrorism policies and practices do not perpetuate the cycle of “eternal war” around the world. Have to.

Rachel Stohl is Vice President and Shannon Dick is a research analyst at the Stimson Center in Washington, DC. Redraw deadly power limits against terrorist groups

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