The practice of targeted killing by drone is expanding with minimal congressional oversight, and under a questionable legal framework. At the same time, the number of innocent casualties has steadily increased and a growing body of evidence suggests that the public reporting of these casualties has been grossly inaccurate. There has been minimal public discussion of concerns that the targeted killing program is actually working against U.S. security by fostering resentment and turning whole populations against us. And finally, there is almost no public discussion of the critical issues of precedent and proliferation – Is current U.S. policy setting a standard for the unaccountable global use of targeted killing? In a world where most industrialized nations are projected to have armed drones within 10 years, these are all critical policy issues.
The goal of this media and public opinion audit is to inform the development of media and messaging strategies among organizations working to restrain the U.S. targeted killing program, bring it under greater congressional oversight, increase transparency, and establish clearer legal guidelines. It is also meant to inform current and potential funders who support these efforts, of important strategic opportunities and resource gaps.