WaPo calls for more debate on drone strikes! Let's respond
The Washington Post editorial board says: "the means and objectives of drone attacks — and the Obama administration’s steps toward institutionalizing the system — deserve much more debate than they have attracted during the presidential campaign."
Let's show the Washington Post editorial board we agree with their call for more debate by getting some letters into the Post challenging the drone strike policy. We've tried to make it easy for you by setting up the form and talking points below.
- To increase the chance that your letter is printed, it's crucial to try to use your own words. The Post is much less likely to print something that looks like a form letter. A short letter in your own words is much better than a long letter where you copy and paste.
- Your letter is much more likely to be printed if: you keep your letter to under 200 words, refer specifically to the editorial, avoid harsh language (especially towards the Post), cite mainstream sources, find something to praise in the editorial, and don't post your letter anywhere else until you know if the Post is considering it for publication.
- After 3-4 days if you haven't received any response from the Post (other than an auto-reply) it's probably safe to assume they're not going to print it and you could try to adapt your letter for your local newspaper. Local newspapers are often more open to printing letters that don't respond to something specific in their paper, so if you can't find a hook in the paper you can just have your letter respond to the issue in general.
Avoid copying these points directly as editors are looking for original letters, not form letters.
- Agree with the editorial for saying that drone strike policy deserves more debate.
- Challenge the editorial for claiming that U.S. drone strikes obey U.S. and international law.
- Note that the Post editorial claimed that "War against al-Qaeda and those who harbor it was authorized in 2001 by Congress." But Congress' 2001 authorization of military force targeted people deemed responsible for the 9/11 attacks and those who "harbored" them, not those who might "harbor" such people in the future.
- Note that while the U.S. has the right under international law to defend itself against attacks on its homeland, as the Post says, the right of self-defense is not a blank check to do anything. In particular, for example, attacks on rescuers with "secondary" or follow-up strikes clearly violate international law, regardless of whether the U.S. claims it is conducting a lawful war in self-defense.