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ACLU Leads 113-Group Coalition Demanding Biden Stops Lethal Airstrikes

Thomas Catenacci 

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote a letter cosigned by a coalition of 113 groups to President Joe Biden Wednesday, demanding he stops “lethal” airstrikes.

The U.S. airstrike program has resulted in wars, violent conflicts, civilian casualties, human displacement, and indefinite military detention, the groups wrote in the letter addressed to President Joe Biden. The letter demanded the president end the program roughly two decades after it was initiated.

“Successive presidents have now claimed the unilateral power to authorize secretive extrajudicial killing outside any recognized battlefield, with no meaningful accountability for wrongful deaths and civilian lives lost and injured,” the groups wrote in the letter.

“Twenty years into a war-based approach that has undermined and violated fundamental rights, we urge you to abandon it and embrace an approach that advances our collective human security,” the letter to Biden continued.

Amnesty International USA, CODEPINK, Human Rights Watch and Sunrise Movement all signed onto the letter.

On Sunday, the U.S. military said it conducted “necessary” airstrikes in Syria and Iraq targeting weapons depots linked to Iran-backed militias. In February, the president approved similar strikes on Iran-backed militias in Syria.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement this week, saying he was concerned the increasing hostilities in the Middle East would qualify the conflict as a war. Congress must approve a war declaration under the War Powers Act, he said.

Former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all approved dozens of counterterrorism drone strikes throughout the Middle East, according to New America. Shortly after taking office, though, Biden quietly placed limits on military drone strikes and initiated a broad review of the program, The New York Times reported.

The ACLU letter celebrated the review and said it could help the federal government “chart a new path forward.”

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