The short answer is that the West will come over all holier-than-thou and claim that ‘right is on their side’ and that the other side ‘doesn’t have the right to use such weapons’.
As usual, it boils down to who has the biggest stick and the most convincing propaganda machine. Might, of course, will prevail and, no matter who ultimately wins, that side will claim righteousness. A deity of some sort is also likely to be invoked to support such claims.
The reality is that there are many consequences to face when a government decides that it has the right to extra-judicially kill anyone in the world, even in their own country. Not least of those consequences is the prospect of that government’s enemies deciding that, if it’s good enough for one side, then it’s good enough for the other. How long will it be before the enemies of governments that practice extra-judicial killings via drones decide that the political and military leaders of Western governments, by virtue of Western governments own reasoning, are also legitimate targets of extra-judicial execution in order to prevent them from planning the bombings and killings of civilians of countries the Western government are at war in?
As I have stated elsewhere at this blog, drone technology has become cheap and accessible and drones can be easily built from scratch. It’s only a matter of time before the Western government’s enemies begin to use drones in retaliation to the West’s use of them – and with just as deadly results.
There has been much talk recently about the legality of using drones to extra-judicially kill off-battlefield enemies, particularly against one’s own citizens who happen to support the West’s enemies. US Attorney General Eric Holder has given legal clearance to President Obama issuing death warrants and provided the legal argument supporting the President’s ability to make such decisions. However, since just because whoever is in power and wielding the biggest stick can make whatever laws that suit them, it does not mean to say that those determinations are morally right or even legally right under international law. Just as Hitler’s Nuremburg Laws were immoral despite becoming law (and, yes, I’m quite happy to mention Hitler because, in this case, it happens to be very appropriate) so Holder’s ruling, despite being ‘law’, is no more moral than Hitler’s race laws were in 1935.
The bottom line is: The rule of law is being abandoned together with concepts of due process and justice and is being replaced with arbitrary rulings made at the whims governmental individuals and groups. The moral high ground – if ever the West had held any – has now been lost and, furthermore, made life more dangerous for those who may equally become the targets of retaliatory and deterrent drone strikes launched by the West’s enemies.