63% Oppose Giving President Discretion to Kill American Terror Suspects on U.S. Soil

Predator Drone

While the Obama Administration making the claim that it has the power to use drones inside the United States to target and eliminate potential threats, a Fox News poll released on Monday shows that Americans are not at all comfortable with this prospect:

The poll finds that 32 percent of voters think that yes, the president should be able to authorize the use of deadly force domestically against an American terrorist.  Still, about twice that many — 63 percent — disagree and want checks on the president.

Again, agreement is bipartisan, as most Republicans (70 percent) and independents (70 percent) and a majority of Democrats (54 percent) oppose the president having the sole power under these conditions.

There were actually two different questions in regard to President Obama and drone strikes, one of which was a general question about the policy. The other was a more specific question about giving the power to determine who should be target to the president.

Here are the two questions:

  • Do you approve or disapprove of the United States using unmanned aircraft called drones to kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?
  • Do you think the president of the United States, on his own, should be able to authorize the use of deadly force, such as a drone strike, to kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?

On the first question, the divide wasn’t that wide. According the poll, 45% — including 44% of Democrats and 47% of Republicans — approve of using drones to kill an American citizen suspected terrorism inside the United States. Only 50% disapprove.

The second question reflected a deeper partisan divide, one that is reflective of today’s politics. While only 32% of respondents the president having the sole discretion to an American citizen suspected of terrorism, 41% of Democrats are perfectly fine with this. Only 26% of Republicans supported the idea.

The poll also found that 74% of Americans approve of drone strikes against suspected terrorists in other countries. Only 22% disapprove of these targeted killings, which often kill innocent civilians.

According to a study by the law schools at Stanford and New York University, as many as 881 innocent Pakistanis — including 176 children — were killed in drone strikes over the course of an eight year period. The study also found that drones have had a profound psychology impact, “giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities” due to the fact that “[d]rones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning.”

The numbers on the homefront are good news, but unfortunately, too many Americans don’t see the bad side of drones overseas, which is a failure of the media for not reporting on these incidents when they occur. It’s not a sexy as the latest pop-culture news or the scandal of the day.

H/T: Hot Air

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