October 29, 2011
Each time that I hear of a new drone strike by America in some distant foreign land, by some video game player wielding a computer joystick in Nevada, I get an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my soul that my country has committed a cowardly act of murder, simply because it’s virtually risk-free and so easy to do so.
There is something about a remote-controlled, highly efficient killing machine that just does not sit well with me, both as a civilized human being, and an American citizen. And there is also something about the CIA conducting these so called ‘war on terror’ drone missions through a ‘Special Activities Division’, which has a conveniently irresponsible ring to it.
Without getting too deeply into the actual numbers of casualties, the notion of which most Americans are used to that collateral damage in the form of civilian deaths from drone strikes is non-existent or minimal, has been clearly disputed in an August 2011 report, by an independently backed British, not-for-profit, investigative journalism initiative, based at City University In London.
‘The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’ as it calls itself, is currently at odds with U.S. Intelligence officials, who for obvious reasons, often make it appear to the American public as if each and every drone strike they conduct is a logistical and surgical success.
Yet, according to the aforementioned report that I have cited, there are credible reports of more than 150 children having their lives snuffed out to date, via American military drones.
The idea that innocent people may be dying because of drone strikes, although chilling to consider, hardly comes as a shock to me at least, because like most people, I find it inconceivable that any machine constructed by human hands can ever be designed to function as perfectly as intended.
So instead of trying to justify any possible unintended civilian deaths or casualties, isn’t it a reasonably necessary time — with our most dangerous and notorious of foes all but routed and flattened — for any American possessing the least bit of conscience to ask themselves how it is possible for a child in Pakistan; or more recently perhaps in Yemen, to even slightly be considered a terrorist threat to the homeland of the United States?
The drone program of America is seldom spoken of by our government officials who are in the know, but that is to be expected I suppose. Yet, what alarms me more are my fellow citizens who seem so utterly desensitized to the idea of the CIA taking out any human target it may please with hellfire missiles, nearly a dozen years out since the attack on the World Trade center. When, if ever, is the United States going to be ‘safe’ or sated enough to end the bloodshed abroad, and to moth ball these vicious, mechanical terminators, which quite probably create more terrorists these days than they could possibly kill?
Whenever it is that I hear yet another news report of a military drone taking out some alleged threat to the United States – my blood begins to boil in both shame and indignation. This, simply because I am all but sure there are officers or personnel in some military control room thousands of miles away from the attack; not to mention over-zealous secret servants in Washington, all slapping one another on the back as though they have all actually done something heroic to defend their county. Yet from this layman’s perspective, I don’t much find using a robot to sneak up on an enemy and perform an assassination much to be proud of. To the contrary, isn’t a drone mission an act of terror in itself? And if so, doesn’t it therefore seem logical to ask oneself if America has become a nation which hunts down people whom we suspect may do us harm, regardless of any significant capacity for them to do so, just for sport?
R.F. Goggin – is the editor of The New World Reporter, where he is a contributing author.
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