US President Barack Obama has promised to limit the use of controversial drone strikes.
He faces criticism for the policy which poses legal and ethical problems with unintended civilian casualties.
In a speech at the National Defence University, he outlined the rationale behind the use of lethal unmanned drone aircraft as part of a ‘just war’ against militants.
“America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists – our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute them,” he explained. Continuing he said that, “America does not take strikes to punish individuals – we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat.”
Obama is also facing increased pressure to close Guantanamo where many prisoners in the ‘war on terror’ have been detained for over a decade without trial. As he attempted to address the issue, a heckler interrupted him over the ongoing hunger strike at the military facility.
In response to criticism over Guantanamo, he announced the end of a moratorium on transferring detainees to Yemen, and asked the Defence department to locate a site so that the remaining prisoners could be tried on US soil. He also said he would work to break the deadlock in Congress over closing the detention centre once and for all.