Biden’s Restrictions on Drone Strikes Are About Much More Than Drones

The Pentagon confirmed this week that President Joe Biden has imposed new, temporary restrictions on counterterrorism drone strikes outside of active battlefields, making them subject to review by the National Security Council. According to The New York Times, which first broke the news, the rules were quietly put in place on Biden’s first day in office, as a stopgap measure while his national security team conducts a broader review of U.S. counterterrorism operations.

According to Charli Carpenter, a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst specializing in the laws of war, the Biden administration’s review is a long-overdue opportunity to rein in the practice of targeted extrajudicial killings, like the drone strike that killed Iran’s top military commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in January 2020. She joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman on the Trend Lines podcast this week to discuss the potentially far-reaching implications of Biden’s move.

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