U.S. drone strikes "wise, legal, just" says White House official

Washington, May 1: After facing condemnation and a fresh protest lodged by Pakistan over its controversial drone programme, the United States has mentioned that drone strikes are wise, legal and just.

The U.S. drone programme, operated by the Central Investigation Agency (CIA), has reportedly killed 2,200 people in Pakistan (August 2011 tally), including 168 children among at least 385 civilians and non-combatants.

Last month, in its U.S. policy review, Pakistan had asked the U.S. to stop the attacks.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s Assistant on Counter Terrorism and Homeland Security, John Brennan, said the drone strikes are carried out “in full accordance with the law”.

“There is nothing in international law that bans the use of remotely piloted aircraft for this purpose or that prohibits us from using lethal force against our enemies outside of an active battlefield, at least when the country involved consents or is unable or unwilling to take action against the threat,” The Express Tribune quoted Brennan, as saying.

Brennan described drone strikes as wise as they reduced danger to innocent civilians. He said the U.S. only authorises strikes of which they have a “high degree of confidence that innocent civilians will not be injured or killed, except in the rarest of circumstances.”

However, he acknowledged that civilian casualties have taken place. “When it does, it pains us and we regret it deeply, as we do any time innocents are killed in war,” he said.

“We do not use force whenever we want, wherever we want. International legal principles, including respect for a state’s sovereignty and the laws of war, impose constraints,” Brennan added. (ANI)