WH Again Asked to Square Drone Killings With Harsh Interrogation

By Susan Jones | December 12, 2014 | 6:55 AM EST

In this Jan. 31, 2010 file photo, an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. Amnesty International is calling on the U.S. to investigate reported civilian casualties from CIA drone strikes. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(CNSNews.com) - The Obama White House was asked for a second day on Thursday why killing terrorists (and innocent civilians) with drones is acceptable to the Obama administration, but "slapping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is bad."

"[T]his is a worthy discussion, and so I appreciate your raising it once again," spokesman Josh Earnest replied. Here's his full answer, although he really didn't answer at all, and the reporter, Ed Henry, did not press him:

"Ed, it's important for people, not just your viewers, but for people to understand that when the United States undertakes lethal operations, which we only do as a last resort, the president has emphasized the extraordinary care that is taken to ensure that our counter-terrorism actions are carried in accordance with all applicable, domestic, and international laws and are consistent with the United States' values and our policy.



"Of particular note, before any action is taken and before any counter-terrorism strike is taken outside the area of active hostilities, there must be near certainty -- this is policy -- there must be near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured, the highest standard that we can set.

"What that means is, is means that the United States considers the death of innocent civilians to be something that should be avoided if at all possible, that -- but in those rare instances in which it does appear that civilians may have been injured or killed, after-action reviews are conducted to determine why and to ensure that the United States is taking the most effective steps to minimize such risk to civilians in the future."

On Wednesday, in response to a similar question, Earnest replied that "significant care" is taken to make sure that any U.S. counterterrorism action does not put innocent lives at risk.

"So the efforts that are taken by this administration to limit or to prevent innocent civilian casualties are consistent with our values and are consistent with our broader strategy for protecting the American people."

Also See:
As WH Invokes 'Moral Authority,' Reporter Asks How Drone Strikes Are Better Than Harsh Interrogation