Obama is using drone strikes to replace Gitmo detentions, says ex-Bush administration lawyer

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A former Bush administration lawyer claims President Barack Obama is relying on drone strikes to kill terrorists because he doesn’t want to capture them and send them to Guantanamo Bay.

Lawyer John Bellinger made the accusation at a conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday discussing the legality of drone killings, report the Guardian, UPI and U.S. News & World Report.

“This administration has decided they don’t want to do detention, because the Bush administration got into trouble with detention, so now they’re just going to kill people,” Bellinger said.

Now a partner at Arnold & Porter, Bellinger was formerly legal adviser to the U.S. State Department and the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration.

Bellinger said targeted killings are justified under international law, but the United States has not succeeded in making its case. “We really need to get on top of this and explain to our allies why it is legal and why it is permissible,” he said.

Obama said at a news conference Tuesday that he was recommitting himself to close the Guantanamo Bay facility, now holding 166 detainees.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “A drone strike in a US cafe? In a ‘catastrophic attack’? Holder responds to questions”

ABAJournal.com: “White House agrees to provide classified drone-strike memo to some lawmakers”

ABAJournal.com: “A ‘profoundly disturbing’ memo? DOJ white paper outlines legal basis for targeted killings”

ABA Journal: “Uneasy Targets: How Justifying the Killing of Terrorists Has Become a Major Policy Debate”

ABA Journal: “Targeted Killing Is Lawful If Conducted in Accordance with the Rule of Law”

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