AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Game of Drones: The legitimacy of Obama's counterterrorism policies

by Bizarro Bredde

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: drone, legitimacy, Obama, Discourse, Securitization
Record ID: 1122493
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/16852


Since September 11 2001, the War on Terror arose in the aftermath of an enormous terrorist act against the United States of America. Ever since that day, counter-terrorist acts have been conducted in a variety of different ways, one more efficient than the other. Most notably is the ever increasing use of drone warfare and targeted strikes and these actions have raised profound questions concerning both ethics and legality. Scholars around the world have been writing a vast amount of journals and books seeking answers to these questions, but also forming new ones. The aim of this project however is not to answer any of these questions, but to shed light on how these issues are being presented by the Obama Administration. In order to analyze how these issues are being presented, a discourse analysis will be conducted on speeches made by prominent figures in the Obama Administration. The project will be working within the theoretical framework of the discourse theory created by Laclau and Mouffe, identifying specific nodal points in the speeches so as to analyze how they are attempting to legitimize the drone warfare. This project deals with the US’ drone warfare in general, but puts emphasis on the issues surrounding the use of drones in Pakistan, as there are not officially a war in Pakistan. It further recognizes the claim by the Administration that they are not in war win a nation, but in war with al-Qaeda and its associated forces. In addition to the discourse analysis, this project will work with International Relations and the Copenhagen School of Thought, using the Securitization Theory to analyze how the Obama Administration is attempting to present the issues as a matter of security; the act of securitization. Scholars both agree and disagree with the way drone warfare is being conducted, but one thing is certain; drones are here to stay, so the discussion is more about how, when and where they should be used. This project will discuss the discursive struggle in the counter-terrorism policies, concerning discrepancies in the discourses made by various scholars and critics in the areas of morality, legality and security. The project aims to conclude that the Obama administration have to counter-argue the critique aimed towards their use of drones and targeted strikes, and the discursive struggle have to be ‘won’ by the Administration in order to legitimize the Drone Warfare.