In the first two presidential debates, there was very little substantive discussion on America's foreign policy. There was even less -- none, in fact -- examination of U.S. drone policy in Pakistan, where hundreds of civilians have died in recent years as a result of strikes.
There is one final chance to inject drones into the debates. On Monday, October 22, President Obama and Mitt Romney are scheduled to address foreign policy matters in the final presidential debate before election day. The electorate deserves to hear how the candidates will handle drone policy in the next four years.
Tell moderator Bob Schieffer to ask a question on drone strikes during Monday's presidential debate on foreign policy. Please sign our petition, below.
As you are moderating the final presidential debate on Monday, October 22, I urge you to press the candidates on how they will handle drone policy in the next four years, as well as how they view concerns that have been raised about drone strikes.
From his first week in office, President Obama has embraced drone strikes far more than his predecessor did. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), which monitors U.S. drone use, reports strikes in Pakistan have increased tremendously during the Obama administration, and drone use has spread to the likes of Yemen and Somalia. TBIJ tallies as much as about 1,000 civilan deaths in those three countries as a result of this drone policy. In addition, it's remarkable that U.S. authorities do not officially acknowledge the CIA's drone program, much less share results of its strikes with the public.
A recent report, "Living Under Drones," by Stanford and NYU researchers raised several questions about the policy in Pakistan regarding its legality, ethical standing and implications for U.S. national security. The report also found evidence of "double-tapping," or firing on civilian rescuers after an initial strike.
The Commission on Presidential Debates reports the topics for Monday's debate include “America's Role in the World," “The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism," and “Our Longest War—Afghanistan and Pakistan." Drone use falls into all three categories.
As the Oct. 22 debate will be the final chance for the candidates to discuss their views on vitally important issues before the American electorate goes to the polls, it is imperative that both President Obama and Mitt Romney substantively address how they would wield such power.
Please use this opportunity to shed light on what Americans deserve to know: How drones will be used in their name in the next four years.