The (il)legitimacy of the drone war: The administration is in direct violation of several domestic and international laws in its drone war. They have invented a definition of “imminence,” a required element for justifying the use of force for self-defense in international law. They’re ignoring a Reagan-era statute that bans extra-judicial assassinations. And they appear to be violating the decision of the Supreme Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, which said due process must be “accorded to a US citizen deprived of liberty in connection with hostilities (this was ignored, for example, when the administration targeted and killed three US citizens without due process, including a 16-year old boy).
For these and other reasons – like the fact that the drone war in Pakistan and Yemenkills and terrorizes civilians – at least two UN investigators have called the legality of Obama’s drone wars into question. Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions called on the Obama administration to explain under what legal framework its drone war is justified and suggested that “war crimes” may have already been committed. The UN human rights chief Navi Pillay also called for a UN investigation into US drone strikes in Pakistan, noting their questionable legality and that they indiscriminately kill innocent civilians.
The failure and cruelty of the Iran sanctions: While Iran will certainly be talked about, the issue of sanctions will only range from harsh to harsher. What will not be discussed is the fact that sanctions have historically failed to change the policies of the targeted regime, and indeed appear to be failing to change the Iranian regime’s policies as well. Especially ignored will be the horrible humanitarian consequences that have already begun to manifest in Iran: The Charity Foundation for Special Diseases, a non-governmental medical organization supporting six million patients in Iran, has warned publicly that the sanctions are putting millions of lives at risk by causing deep shortages of medicines for diseases like hemophilia, multiple sclerosis and cancer.
“The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population,” UN Secretary General warned in a statement earlier this month, “including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine.”
“The sanctions also appear to be affecting humanitarian operations in the country,” he wrote. “Even companies that have obtained the requisite licence to import food and medicine are facing difficulties in finding third-country banks to process the transactions.”
This, all while the consensus view in the entire US and intelligence community is that Iran has no nuclear weapons and has not made the decision to begin to develop nuclear weapons, which they are years away from technologically anyways.