Pentagon to Declare More Countries as Battle Zones

Pentagon to Declare More Countries as Battle Zones PHOTOGRAPH: World | Under Public Domain

Pentagon proposed a measure to the White House to designate ‘temporary areas of active hostility. This would mean that the Pentagon wants to declare more areas, possibly countries, as temporary battle zones. President Donald Trump and his administration are considering Pentagon’s proposal. The measure hopes to give U.S. commanders same latitude to launch strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria as well as to some areas which the military did not consider battlefields prior to the proposal.

Pentagon proposed to Donald Trump to consider more locations as temporary battlefields

If ever Trump approves the proposal, the military can launch strikes from declared battlefields for up to six months. An unnamed administration official described that the proposal did not specify the countries that should be designated as temporary zones of active hostility. Moreover, there is uncertainty if it will coincide with the 1973 law, War Powers Resolution. The 1973 resolution allows presidents to military strikes and campaigns before any congressional approval.

Aside from Pentagon’s proposal to add hostile locations to its list, Trump also made a huge move with the Central Intelligence Agency. The president gave power to the CIA that will allow the agency to kill potential terror suspects with drone strikes.

Trump grants the CIA to launch a drone strike without military supervision

Trump granted CIA’s new power shortly after his inauguration. Prior to Trump’s administration, the military has the sole control over drone strikes. The president’s move sparked controversy in fear about the accountability on drone strikes.

During former president Barack Obama’s time, the drone policy distributed the work from the CIA and the military. Basically, the CIA could find a suspected terrorist and the military will carry out the actual strike. Under Trump, the Pentagon has to share the controls with the CIA. However, there is one major drawback in the scenario. The Pentagon needs to disclose drone strikes, unlike the CIA. On the other hand, the law does not require the intelligence agency to report or disclose drone strikes, even the possible civilian casualties of the strike.

CIA’s new powers helped them to kill a high-level al-Qaeda leader in Syria last February. The man goes by the name Abu al-Khayr al-Masri. Some sources speculate that CIA can use their newfound power outside Syria.

Deputy director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union Christopher Anders stated, “There are a lot of problems with the drone program and the targeted killing program, but the CIA should be out of the business of ordering lethal strikes.” Anders stated that the CIA’s role is only to determine the location of the strike while the military launches the lethal assault. He stated that the strike must come from the military chain of command. With Pentagon’s proposal to declare more areas to be battlefield zones and the new lethal power of the CIA, there is a mounting fear when it comes to accountability.

Drone strike footage

Source: The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal

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