Representative Ron Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican, and Dennis Kucinich, a liberal Democrat, both oppose the use of attack drones and both seek the release of administration documents with information about the drone programs.
The joint Paul, Kucinich resolution, if passed, will force the Obama administration to release the documents, said to exist, that give the legal justification for using drones to target suspected terrorist leaders. Although the Obama administration claims to favor transparency, it has so far resisted any attempts to makes these documents public.
The use of drones attacks has bi-partisan support in that most Republicans as well as Democrats support the programs. Supporters of the "war on terror" in both parties also tend to support the drone attack programs. However, as the Kucinich Paul resolution shows, there is also bi-partisan opposition to the program.
Ron Paul has long been an opponent of drone strikes. He thinks that many innocent people are killed by the drones and that they also incite hatred against the U.S.
Dennis Kucinich has similar concerns. Paul even opposes some domestic use of drones for surveillance because of privacy concerns.
Paul has been particularly concerned about the use of drones for targeted killing of Americans. The assassination by a drone attack of Anwar Al-Awlaki, an Al Qaeda linked American living in Yemen, Paul claims, could be grounds for impeaching President Obama. Since Al Awlaki was an American citizen, Paul claims that he should have been arrested, charged, and then prosecuted within the U.S. justice system. Al-Awlaki was simply sentenced to death and the decision carried out without a trace of due process.
George W. Bush actually started using drones for targeted killing but attacks were greatly expanded by the Obama administration both in Pakistan and elsewhere. There are actually two main drone programs. One program is run by the CIA including the attacks in the Pakistan tribal areas, and the other by the military in war zones.
While not even officially admitting the existence of the programs, the Obama administration has often praised the programs for killing terrorist leaders. The one attack that has even gained great fame is the Navy Seals action that killed Osama bin-Laden in Pakistan. Kucinich complained: “Thus far, the administration has refused to release the memo or any documents, despite multiple requests from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Intelligence operations that have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight raise serious legal questions, particularly when such programs may constitute possible violations of international law or the Constitution of the United States.”
Both Paul and Kucinich are leaving Congress at the end of 2012. The resolution of inquiry they introduced on November 28 could still come before the House this year. It must be considered by the committee of jurisdiction or on the House floor within 14 legislative days.