To use drones against enemies … or not to drone on? You are invited to an unprecedented review of this immense geopolitical, domestic political and ethic controversy over drone warfare on the LMU campus near Marina Del Rey, California, starting Sunday night.

Dr. Jennifer Ramos
Dr. Jennifer Ramos

The issue is both new — and as old as warfare itself. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said: “It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.” And this was said by Kissinger in 1975. Today, the argument for US drone strikes almost seem directly inspired by Kissinger’s definition of Presidential power.

At LMU, experts from various fields across the country will gather to discuss the international peace and security implications of the use of preventive force and drones. The conference, titled  “PREVENTIVE FORCE: TARGETED KILLING AND TECHNOLOGY,” features presentations by leading experts on all sides of this complex issue.  Organized by Kerstin Fisk and Jennifer Ramos of LMU’s Political Science Department, along with David Glazier of Loyola Law School, and sponsored by LMU’s Bellarmine College, the event seeks to put into sharp and complete perspective America’s increasing reliance on drones as an instrument of wartime retaliation. All — from on campus and off — are welcome. For further details, please contact Kerstin Fisk at, or see conference webpage here.

Here is the schedule of events:

Sunday Night, April 13th (Hilton 100)

7:30pm “Unmanned: America’s Drone War” Documentary, followed by Q&A with documentary director Robert Greenwald

Monday, April 14th (Hannon Library, Van der Ahe Suite)

9:30am Opening Remarks (BCLA Dean O’Sullivan and Kerstin Fisk)

9:45am Legal Issues, moderated by President David Burcham, LMU

  • “How I Learned to Love the Drone”   John Radsan, William Mitchell College of Law
  • “International Law and Questionable Actions”  David Glazier, Loyola Law School

11am Philosophical and Ethical Issues, moderated by Michelle Larson, LMU

  • “The Just Use of Limited Preventive Force: Drones, Last Resort and Restricting Escalation”  Daniel Brunstetter and John Emery, UC Irvine
  • “Drones and Dirty Hands”   Benjamin Jones, Yale, and John M. Parrish, LMU
  • “Just Peace as Preventive Non-Intervention”  Deen Chatterjee, University of Utah

12:30pm Interview with Jerrold Green, USC Annenberg and President/CEO of Pacific Council on International Policy (Invited Guests Only)

2pm Defense Issues, moderated by Tom Plate, LMU

  • “Preventive Force: Costs and Benefits” Jennifer Taw, Clarement McKenna
  • “Eve of Destruction: A Retrospective on the “Coming Age of Preventive War”  Ted Harshberger, RAND


April 15th (Ahmanson Auditorium, University Hall 1000)

9:30am Human Rights Issues, moderated by Cesare P.R. Romano, Loyola Law School

  • “Why Drones Are Different” Stephan Sonnenberg, Stanford Law
  • “Is the United States’ Covert Use of Lethal Drones Outside “War Zones” Legal?” Daphne Eviatar, Human Rights First

10:45am Political Issues, moderated by Robert Williams, Pepperdine University

  • “Studying Drones in the Low Quality Information Environment of Pakistan’s Tribal  Areas” C. Christine Fair, Georgetown
  • “The Unintended Impacts of Preventive Force on the Contemporary Practice of Self-Defense”   Avery Plaw and João Reis, University of Massachusetts
  • “The Domestic Politics of Preventive War”  Miroslav Nincic, UC Davis


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