The Heat explores the legality of the US drone program

The Heat

Drones can fly virtually undetected, and destroy targets anywhere without risking lives. On this edition of The Heat, a panel of experts discusses the legality of the United States’ use of these unmanned aerial vehicles in global conflicts.

For years it has been debated whether the use of combat drones by the U.S. is legal in places such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. President Barack Obama has justified its actions with the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates. Last year, the White House released its legal standards and procedures for launching drone attacks: The target must be an imminent threat to the U.S., there must be near certainty that no non-combatants are nearby and there must be no other option for capturing or killing the target. However, the rise in civilian deaths has critics questioning the legality of the U.S. drone program. Even military experts say the use of drones could potentially raise legal and ethical issues and complicate U.S. foreign policy.

The U.S. does not release data on drone strikes but the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates the U.S. has launched about 500 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia since 2002. They estimate those strikes have killed as many as 4,900 people, more than 1,000 of whom were civilians, including hundreds of children.

The civilian deaths have tarnished America’s image in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite criticism President Obama says drone strikes are often the best choice, and drone strikes have increased since he took office in 2009. CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reports.

Follow Jim Spellman on Twitter @jimspellmanTV

The Heat explores the legality of the US drone program

The U.S. does not release data on drone strikes but the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates the U.S. has launched about 500 drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia since 2002. They estimate those strikes have killed as many as 4,900 people, more than 1,000 of whom were civilians, including hundreds of children. The civilian deaths have tarnished America’s image in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Despite criticism President Obama says drone strikes are often the best choice, and drone strikes have increased since he took office in 2009. CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reports.

Seventeen-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (Follow @MalalaFund) spoke out against the use of drones in her native country of Pakistan.

“Terrorists are killed because of drone attacks, but terrorism is increased and terrorism spreads more and more. So if the drone attacks continue, terrorism will spread, and more people will become terrorists because if a child’s father is killed that child can become a terrorist. So we need to find other solutions against terrorism.” — Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai discusses use of drones in Pakistan

Seventeen-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai (Follow @MalalaFund) spoke out against the use of drones in her native country of Pakistan.

The Heat hosted a panel of experts to discuss the legality of drones.

* Security studies professor at Georgetown University Christine Fair.

* Chris Woods, investigative journalist and author of Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars. Follow him on Twitter: @chrisjwoods.

* Former Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson.

Christine Fair, Chris Woods, Lawrence Wilkerson discuss the legality of US drone program, pt. 1

The Heat hosted a panel of experts to discuss the legality of drones. Security studies professor at Georgetown University Christine Fair. Chris Woods, investigative journalist and author of Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars. Former Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson.

Christine Fair, Chris Woods, Lawrence Wilkerson discuss the legality of US drone program, pt. 2

The Heat hosted a panel of experts to discuss the legality of drones. Security studies professor at Georgetown University Christine Fair. Chris Woods, investigative journalist and author of Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars. Former Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson.