National Experts Examine Security Implications of Drone Wars at LMU Conference

Experts from across the country discussed the international peace and security implications of America’s drone wars, as well as the use of preventive force, at a two-day conference April 14-15, which was hosted by the Political Science Department at Loyola Marymount University.

The meetings featured experts on preventive force and targeted killings from Stanford Law School, Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, The RAND Institute,  Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, LMU and Loyola Law School, as well as a former legal counsel at the CIA.

LMU President David W. Burcham moderated the opening session on legal issues in drone warfare, calling the conference “a great event” that brings critical attention and academic inquiry to a key issue in current international affairs.

Preventive use of force entails striking first to eliminate potential threats rather than actual threats before they fully form. The United States and the broader international community have long considered preventive attacks illegitimate; in fact, President Truman once referred to prevention as the weapon of dictators.

LMU political scientists Jennifer Ramos, assistant professor, and Kerstin Fisk, visiting assistant professor, organized the conference, along with David Glazier, professor of law at LLS.

“Our goal is to understand the complex issues that preventive war and targeted killing by bringing together a group of well-recognized scholars and experts,” said Fisk, in introducing the event. “We seek to provide the most current analyses of these issues, in an interdisciplinary forum, recognizing that in our globalized world today, we have never been more connected than we are now”

She noted that as “global citizens, and as citizens of the United States, it is vital that we speak out and have a voice in our shared future.”

Tom Plate, former L.A. Times editorial page editor and Distinguished Scholar of Asian Studies at LMU and syndicated columnist on Asian issues, moderated a panel on defense issues.

The conference included a showing of Robert Greenwald’s documentary “Unmanned: America’s Drone War.” Greenwald attended and led a discussion on the film.