A senior Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday praised the Obama administration’s policy of using of drones in the evolving war on terrorism, saying he has no problem with the precedent being set by the legally controversial policy and would not be bothered if other world powers — specifically Russia — began using drones to kill terrorists.
“I don’t have anything against drone strikes, and I think that the administration has not been doing a bad job when it comes to using drones to single out and kill the terrorists who would harm our own people,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, said during a “Newsmaker” interview on C-SPAN.
“We should use every technology that we can to target those terrorists who are murdering innocent, unarmed people in order to terrorize populations,” Mr. Rohrabacher said during the interview, conducted by journalists from The Washington Times and Politico and slated to air Sunday.
“The rest of the world understands,” he said. “If they don’t, they are our enemies.”
Mr. Rohrabacher, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on that deals with Europe and emerging threats, said it would be fine by him if Russia were to use drones to kill suspected terrorists operating in Russian territory.
“It wouldn’t bother me to know that the Russians were using drones to kill those people who had murdered children,” he said after making reference to the horrors of the 2004 seizure of a children’s school by Islamic terrorists in the Russian city of Beslan.
An estimated 334 civilians — 186 of them children — were killed in the incident, which climaxed in a bloody firefight between Russian security forces and those who had held the school hostage for three days.
Benghazi kill list
On a separate issue related to terrorism, Mr. Rohrabacher said the Obama administration would also be justified in killing those believed to have carried out last year’s deadly attacks on a U.S. diplomatic post and CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya.
It was revealed this week that the Justice Department has filed sealed federal charges against at least one Libyan militant suspected of involvement in the attacks that killed U.S. Amb. J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
While the charges suggest the White House may be eager to avoid the use of drones in its pursuit of justice in the Benghazi case, Mr. Rohrabacher said a drone or other strike would be warranted if “we’re absolutely sure that that person was engaged in a terrorist act.”
“If you can’t send a drone, maybe you could send some kind of a team into a place like Libya, or you could cut a deal with the Libyan government … or pay off the Libyan government to eliminate this person,” he said, suggesting the Obama administration should not be bogged down by legal questions in the matter.
“I’m sure sending a drone is legal, but sending a guy with a high-powered rifle is illegal,” Mr. Rohrabacher said sarcastically. “That type of nonsense, we’ve got to get over if we’re going to confront the radical Islamist terrorist threat that will murder thousands of people, even hundreds of thousands of our people if they get a chance.”
Stay Out of Syria
With regard to the evolving debate in Washington over Syria’s ongoing civil war, Mr. Rohrabacher came out fiercely against U.S. involvement in the conflict.