The president said drones would only be used when an imminent threat was present; when the capture of the terrorist targeted was hopeless; when a near certainty was present that no civilians would be harmed; and there existed no other governments with the capability of effectively addressing the current threat.
Obama said a strike by a drone would never be punitive.
The President said that those who are killed as collateral damage would haunt the U.S., but he insisted that the individuals targeted use indiscriminate violence and the toll from acts of deadly terrorism against Muslims is far higher than any body count of casualties of civilians from the strikes carried out by drones.
Obama added that it is not always possible to send in the military’s Special Forces, such as what was done with Osama bin Laden, to eradicate terrorism, and even if that were true, sending troops could mean additional deaths for both sides.
The end results would mean more U.S. military deaths, more downed Blackhawks, more confrontations with locals and the possibility of mission creep to support the raids escalating into a full blown war.
Americans are split on how and where drones should be able to be used, according to a poll taken in March by Gallup.
Sixty-five percent of respondents agreed that drones should be sent in against suspected terrorists living abroad.
However, only 41% responded that drones should be used to fight against American citizens who the government suspects are terrorists in other countries.
Obama also stated that Guantanamo Bay threatened to create enemies of the U.S. and diminish America’s moral standing in the rest of the world.