A welcome development? Via Yahoo! News, the president announces new guidelines which will reduce the use of drone strikes and once again pushes for the closure of Guantanamo Bay:
Twelve years after the “war on terror” began, President Barack Obama wants to pull the United States back from some of the most controversial aspects of its global fight against Islamist militants.
In a major policy speech on Thursday, Obama narrowed the scope of the targeted-killing drone campaign against al Qaeda and its allies and took steps toward closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba.
He acknowledged the past use of “torture” in U.S. interrogations; expressed remorse over civilian casualties from drone strikes; and said that the Guantanamo detention facility “has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.”
New U.S. drone rules are likely to reduce “signature” drone strikes, which target suspicious-looking groups. Those attacks are blamed for many civilian casualties in Pakistan’s tribal areas near Afghanistan and in Yemen. The number of drone strikes has dropped in the past year after peaking in the middle of Obama’s first term.
While Obama largely has a free hand as commander in chief to set U.S. drone policy, Congress has used its power of the purse to block him from closing Guantanamo. “There is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened,” Obama said.
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