Opinion

House Dem: 'I want drones' attacking Boko Haram

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A bipartisan panel of lawmakers told President Obama's representatives in the State and Defense departments to send U.S. troops to advise the Nigerians about targeting Boko Haram, with one House Democrat calling for even more direct targeting of the terrorists.

"I want drones!" an impassioned Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., said after hearing from a girl whose family was killed by Boko Haram. "Because they don't belong on this Earth, threatening people and having people living in fear."

Meeks said that he agreed with House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., who called for the U.S. to provide the kind of assistance to Nigeria that is currently being offered in Uganda, where U.S. special forces and equipment are helping track down Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army.

"You could ensure that the strategy for the rescue operation launched by them is very well-planned," Royce said. New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the panel's top Democrat, also agreed with Royce.

U.S. assistance to Nigeria is limited by the Leahy Law, which bans supporting "any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights." Half of Nigerian forces are disqualified from such assistance by this law.

Provisions of the law can be waived for national security reasons, as when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provided $1.5 billion to Egypt in 2012.

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