New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti has just published an important book, "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth," that analyzes the surge in president Obama’s targeted assassination campaign via drone that is at the core of his counter-terrorism strategy.

dronesThe book has the best quote calling for a debate over America's death-from-the-air strategy that has soured ties with Pakistan and the Arab World. It is from Richard Blee, a retired CIA officer who was one of the creators of this nation's drone policy:

He told Mazzetti: "In the early days for our consciences, we wanted to know who we were killing before anyone pulled the trigger. Now we're lighting these people up all over the place . . . I we are going to hand out death sentences, there our to be some accountability and some public discussion about the whole thing."

The New America Foundation has a handy online scorecard that tracks U.S. drone strikes. It's bannered "The Year of the Drone."

NAF reports there have been 422 strikes in Pakistan and Yemen since 2004, 49 of them came during president George W. Bush’s reign. Up to 4,000 people have been killed by American drones.

April has been a busy month for anti-drone protests on college campuses throughout the country. A protest also was staged in D.C. on April 13.

Let the great drone debate begin. We'll be a better country for it.