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Every weapons system, from the bow and arrow to the intercontinental ballistic missile, sometimes kills the wrong people. So why has the revelation that a U.S. drone strike accidentally killed two al-Qaida hostages — a U.S. citizen and an Italian aid worker — created such a storm of drone “rethinking”?

Part of the answer is that liberal critics of drone strikes, who’ve questioned their legality, are using the opportunity to repeat and reframe their criticisms. I’ve joined in some of that criticism in the past and stand by it.

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