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NY Daily News: Rep. Pete King defends drone program against Al Qaeda

Congressman says drones carry out policy of "righteousness and goodness"

NY Daily News — by Alison Gendar

The military’s killer drones have made America safer by decimating Al Qaeda’s chain of command, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Sunday.

Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.) defended the tactic, which has come under increasing scrutiny as a way of waging war without leaving any fingerprints.

“I wish we could all live in a world where we could hold hands and love each other, the fact is that’s not reality,” King told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“There are evil people in the world. Drones aren’t evil. People are evil and we are a force of good and we are using those drones to carry out a policy of righteousness and goodness,” King said.

Since the second half of the Bush administration, the U.S. has launched and estimated 302 drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, resulting in roughly 2,800 deaths, CNN reported. Seventeen percent of the fatalities are believed to be civilians.

“What goes around comes around, and those drones are going to come right back at us,” Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) told CNN, arguing Congress was kept out of the loop in terms of the use and scope of the drone program.

King countered that conventional warfare had civilian casualties as well, and that drones were helping prevent a repeat of Sept. 11 attacks, where his district alone lost 150 constituents.

“If we can save the next 150 killing Al Qaeda terrorist with drones, then kill them,” King said. “I have no compunctions about that whatsoever….We haven’t been attacked since September 11 and that’s a whole lot better than holding hands.”