President Trump reportedly asked an official at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) why they didn’t kill a terrorist target’s family during a drone strike.
The Washington Post reported Thursday after watching a recorded video of a Syrian drone strike where officials waited until the target was outside of his family’s home, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?”
The agency’s head of drone operations explained to an “unimpressed” Trump there are techniques to limit the number of civilian casualties.
Trump called for the CIA to start arming its drone in Syria and reportedly asked for it to be started in days.
All four Geneva Conventions from 1949 contain “Common Article 3,” which applies to “armed conflict not of an international character.” What does that mean? The U.S. Supreme Court, in the 2006 case Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, ruled that “armed conflict not of an international character” means a war that is not fought against a sovereign state. (A sovereign state simply means a country with a recognized government.) Since groups like ISIS are not considered sovereign states, that means that Common Article 3 applies to the current war on terrorism.
According to Common Article 3, people who are taking no active part in the hostilities “shall in all circumstances be treated humanely… To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever … violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.”
Experts said this language would make Trump’s approach a violation of the Geneva Conventions, assuming that the family members were not taking part in terrorist activities.