January 21, 2022 – Yesterday, 50 U.S. Senators and Representatives, led by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA), urged President Biden to overhaul U.S. counterterrorism strategy and targeting criteria for drone strikes, citing grave concerns about “repeated civilian casualties arising from secretive and unaccountable lethal operations.”
CIVIC applauds these 50 members of Congress for their leadership on urgent protection of civilians issues and echoes their demand for policy reforms that center human rights and the protection of civilians. In particular, we reiterate our call – and that of over 110 diverse organizations – for President Biden to end the U.S. program of lethal strikes outside recognized battlefields.
“For two decades, U.S. lethal strikes have exacted a devastating toll on civilian communities around the world,” said Annie Shiel, CIVIC’s Senior Advisor for the United States. “President Biden has the opportunity and the responsibility to reckon with this legacy of harm and fundamentally reform U.S. foreign policy to center human rights, the protection of civilians, and accountability. We welcome Congress’ leadership in holding him to that responsibility.”
In light of recent media reporting on U.S.-caused civilian casualties, as well as two decades of civil society reporting on civilian harm, CIVIC and over 20 other organizations have also called on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and on Congress to fully and transparently investigate the repeated civilian harm of the past twenty years and to finally address the systemic shortcomings that made such harm possible.
We urge President Biden to heed these critical calls.