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.”