Quoted in Time

I’m quot­ed in Time about two new reports out by Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al and Human Rights Watch about the U.S. drone pro­gram.

While the reports pro­vide dev­as­tat­ing details and draw atten­tion to the debate, sto­ries of inno­cent peo­ple hurt in drone strikes “don’t add sub­stan­tive­ly to knowl­edge of the drone pro­gram nor do they alter the stan­dard line about need­ing more trans­paren­cy and access to med­ical help,” Joshua Foust, a com­men­ta­tor on U.S. counter-ter­ror­ism pol­i­cy and for­mer fel­low at the Amer­i­can Secu­ri­ty Project, told TIME in an email. Trans­paren­cy in the drone pro­gram faces two main obsta­cles, Foust says: First, the drone pol­i­tics of a coun­try like Pak­istan are messy, with the gov­ern­ment qui­et­ly sup­port­ing the strikes (includ­ing feed­ing the U.S. intel­li­gence), then pub­licly con­demn­ing them and whip­ping pub­lic opin­ion into a fren­zy.

Sec­ond, there is lit­tle polit­i­cal incen­tive in the U.S. gov­ern­ment to fur­ther declas­si­fy drone pol­i­cy, and there are vir­tu­al­ly no polit­i­cal con­se­quences for the Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­u­ing as they have for years. Polls show Amer­i­cans have few qualms with the U.S. deploy­ing drones over­seas. Until that changes, Foust says, “none of the oth­er calls for redress or open­ness will come to pass.”

Joshua Foust used to be a foreign policy maven. Now he helps organizations communicate strategically and build audiences.