The United Nations has launched an investigation into the use of unmanned drone strikes and targeted killings in counterterrorism operations.It's about time. Although President Obama did not mention the drone war in his inaugural address, the drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia may well kill terrorists, but the attacks also kill innocents, including women, children, and people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The attacks are not as precise as the administration claims. In addition, fear of drone attacks traumatizes people who live in the areas where the attacks occur. It's accountability time, and I hope the investigation by the UN sheds more light than the Obama administration has been willing to do.
The probe will investigate 25 strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Palestinian territories. It also will focus on civilian killings and injuries caused by the strikes.
British lawyer Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special envoy on counterterrorism and human rights, will carry out the probe.
Emmerson says the use of drone technology is "here to it stay," adding it is imperative that "appropriate legal and operational structures are urgently put in place to regulate its use."
Most attacks by unmanned drones have been carried out by the United States. Israel has used them and other nations have access to the technology.