This type of controversy is what happens when the public wants the government to lie to it. Let me prove that to you.
Pretend for a moment you are walking next to your spouse in the mall. You walk by some supermodel or actor/actress. You are asked if you find that person is attractive. You’re supposed to say no, though the correct answer is most likely yes.
Now say you’re a military spokesman, and the question you are asked is the following; “Would you ever consider using drones against US citizens or within US soil?”
You’re supposed to say no, though the correct answer is most definitely yes.
Let’s go over the question more closely, and why it takes a suspension of logic in order to get in an uproar over the issue. The keywords here, from a logic standpoint, are EVER and OR. To say that one would NEVER do something is a hell of a statement, where all possible reasons need to be examined. Combine that with OR, which is a more inclusive statement, and saying ‘no’ means ruling out quite a bit of possibilities.
The obvious reason drones could be needed on US soil is an invasion. It would be silly to not have drones as an option, given their ability to attack without the risk to (friendly) human life. The other could be a well-hidden terrorist group which has infiltrated the US. Where’s all my Bush-Junior-era Republicans at now? We’ll do anything as long as the terrorists don’t win, right?
It must be noted that a drone action should be viewed as a manned military strike – no more, no less. If the government was asked “Will you ever consider using the military against a US citizen or within US soil?”, a negative answer would be absurd. Every US citizen down to an age of 7 should be able to name a time when both of those conditions have already been met.
Please note I’m not trying to play both sides of the issue here. A drone strike is a military strike. In no way should we have been running drone strikes in Pakistan, on the order of dozens a year since 2008, without facing stronger political backlash over it. In addition, it is a joke that they are being conducted by the CIA. The CIA, at its strongest, should be a police organization. Police do not go ‘on the affirmative’ to murder someone. Their deadly force is used in self-defense or in protection of a captured person. An affirmative police action is an assassination, and runs a high risk of murder charges.
Speaking of police, what if your police commissioner was asked if she wanted her officers to use their weapons “against US citizens or on US soil.” Would you want her to say no?