Here's one aspect of the drones debate that has received little airplay: the international consensus against human shielding - the idea that civilians in the United States should be protected from military targeting and the battlefield. There's a lot of talk about protecting civilians abroad from drone strikes, but what about civilians at home?
Most people associate human shields with the horrific practice of physically surrounding oneself with children in battle, a tactic most recently used by the Syrian army in 2012, when the UN reported that it had strapped children to its tanks to deter enemy attacks. That is the clearest and most perverse example of human shields, but human shielding is not limited to those instances alone.
The Geneva Convention and customary international law also extend the definition to three other scenarios. First, it can refer to the purposeful placement of military facilities within dense civilian population centers, or, conversely, the purposeful placement of civilians among military facilities. Additionally, shielding occurs when combatants deliberately attack from or are housed within civilian residences. These actions are prohibited because combatants can effectively "shield" military targets with innocent civilians, contravening the codes of war.