Pyle: Rule of Law Absent in U.S. War on Terror

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 13:30

In some cases, the rule of law has all but disappeared in the U.S. federal government.

Christopher Pyle, professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, said the government’s ongoing use of extrajudicial killings—a practice in which people, some of whom are American citizens, are assassinated in targeted killings using drones—is yet another example of a government run amok.

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” Pyle said. “The idea of a government under law has been lost. We need to hold people accountable for their crimes.”

Pyle is referring to a number of actions instituted by the U.S. government in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the ensuing War on Terror. He cites both the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency and the more current and controversial practice of killing people perceived as enemy combatants through the use of unmanned aerial combat vehicles.

According to the New America Foundation, the United States has completed 420 drone strikes in both Pakistan and Yemen since 2004. Around 3,000 people have been killed, and reports indicate that civilian casualties in these attacks number up to 368.

“There’s very little oversight of the executive branch going on,” Pyle said. “Extrajudicial killing is a crime, but these are crimes that are committed by people in power, and they can get away with it because they have the power, and the system of checks and balances on which the Constitution is based doesn’t work anymore.”

Mount Holyoke College is able to support broadcast-quality interviews via its dedicated ISDN line and recording studio. For more information, contact John Martins, MHC Digital Content Manager, at 413-538-2603 or jmartins@mtholyoke.edu.