The killing of terrorism suspects and insurgents by armed drones, controlled by pilots sitting in bases thousands of miles away in the western United States, has prompted criticism that the technology makes war too antiseptic. Questions also have been raised about the legality of drone strikes when employed in places such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, which are not at war with the United States. This debate will only intensify as technological advances enable what experts call lethal autonomy.
Entries in Peter Finn (3)
The one theme that repeatedly emerged in interviews was a belief that the White House never pressed hard enough on what was supposed to be a signature goal. Although the closure of Guantanamo Bay was announced in an executive order, which Obama signed on Jan. 22, 2009, the fanfare never translated into the kind of political push necessary to sustain the policy.
In The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Peter Finn, and Craig Whitlock report that the Taliban and the Afghan Government have begun discussions for an end to conflict.
Not all observers find this dramatic or promising. In response to the question of Times of London reporter Jerome Starkey, "Did we know this already or did I dream it?", an aid worker in Afghanistan responded, "I don't think you were dreaming. It's lather, rinse, repeat."
Taliban representatives and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai have begun secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war, according to Afghan and Arab sources.
The talks follow inconclusive meetings, hosted by Saudi Arabia, that ended more than a year ago. While emphasizing the preliminary nature of the current discussions, the sources said that for the first time they believe that Taliban representatives are fully authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based inPakistan, and its leader, Mohammad Omar.
"They are very, very serious about finding a way out," one source close to the talks said of the Taliban.