The Shame of the Drone Era

Here at Tewspaper I’m committed to covering a range of topics in and relating to the news.

Personally I think one of the biggest news topics of our time should be the use of drones by the American military.

There has been a surprisingly limited amount of discussion on this topic, which, given our history of vocal opposition to human rights abuses in other countries, is startling to say the least.

The first modern drone strike was launched by the US against a small region in Afghanistan in 2002. The CIA purportedly believed they were attacking Osama bin Laden, but of course, the ‘tall robed man’ they had in their sights was not the terrorist leader. But the floodgates had been opened – the first sanctioned killstrike by an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Thus began our descent into madness.

The most troubling aspect of this whole process has been the assumption of guilt always indicated by the government.

After that strike, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clark said, “We’re convinced that it was an appropriate target.” But she added, “We do not know yet exactly who it was.” Gen. Tommy Franks told ABC News that he expected the identities of the three to prove “interesting.”

[from a report by The Nation]

What does that even mean?

As far as I can see, it means that the official policy is shoot first – from a long distance – and ask questions later.

This is an incredibly flawed way to operate a war, both increasing the moral culpability of our military and the likelihood of widespread, justified retaliation from the people we are fighting.

The use of drones removes the humanity from the situation. This is not a new claim – psychologists, veterans and even the military recognize this.

It removes the empathy that might stop you killing another person, children, innocents – and makes everyone a ‘legitimate’ target in a war with no clear direction and no clear outcome.

It’s an outrage and I think it’s high time the media started to hold the Pentagon, CIA and military heads responsible for what is essentially a transgression of basic human rights.