Now sooner did I complain about the lack of editorial response to John Brennan’s speech on drones than the Washington Post has published this editorial on drone strikes in Yemen. The editorial goes on to praise Brennan’s speech and give a ringing endorsement of the use of drone strikes to kill al Qaida leaders. Here is an excerpt:
The drone attacks are controversial, so it was fitting and commendable that White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan delivered a speech last week publicly acknowledging and defending the program for the first time. His explanation was well founded: Drone attacks, he pointed out, are justified by Congress’s authorization of the use of force against al-Qaeda after Sept. 11, 2001, as well as by the principle of self-defense.
Critics describe drone strikes as “extra-judicial executions,” a term that implies those targeted are criminals who should be subject to the U.S. legal system. They also say that AQAP is not directly connected to the group that staged the 9/11 attacks. But senior leaders of AQAP worked closely with Osama bin Laden before 2001, and there are regular communications between the Yemen branch and the al-Qaeda base in Pakistan.
Most important, the latest bomb plot should make clear that AQAP is an armed group attempting to wage war against the United States. Drone strikes alone will not eliminate the threat: The United States must also aim at the political and economic stabilization of Yemen. But President Obama is not only justified in responding with military force, he is obligated to do so in order to defend the country.
Wow. Somehow I think this will NOT be the response of the New York Times.