Drone attacks: Acts of war or old-fashioned policing?

Age-old question of what constitutes war has become more complex with advent of UAVs

While President Barack Obama – and for that matter his predecessor President George W. Bush – seem to believe that flying unmanned aerial vehicles over foreign nations is not only the United States’ right but also its duty, the age-old question of what constitutes war has become more complex since UAVs came into the picture, writes Philip Ewing at DOD Buzz.

No matter how one slices it, what Foreign Policy’s Tom Ricks calls U.S. “police work” would not be seen in the same light if one of the nation’s developing its own UAVs – China is thought to be among at least 40 foreign governments that have replicated or are in the process of replicating drones – was to follow suit over U.S. airspace, argues Sanjeev Miglani at Reuters’ Afghan Journal blog.

Perhaps an even bigger question, Ewing considers, is whether the president actually has the authority to order drone attacks without Congress’ approval, which lawmakers themselves have been leery of asking, even while some people are saying that Obama has violated the War Powers Resolution.

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