Saturday, October 19, 2013

Drones: Weapons of Terror

At men's group this morning, the video we were watching talked about the cross as not only an execution device, but also a device designed to inflict terror.

During our subsequent small group discussion, I made a point that, admittedly, offended one man. I linked the use of the cross as a weapon of terror to the use of drones. I pointed out that our drone strikes are meant not only to take out enemies, but also to put fear in their hearts that they could be hit any time, any where, without warning. I also observed that drones killed innocent people as well.

I know - there are arguments for the use of drones (the battle of Baghdad comes to mind, though I view that overall war as unjust) as a way to save lives in combat. While I don't like war, I acknowledge there are circumstances under which war can be just, and if drones prevent higher losses, then I can see their use.

But they are also being used to make surprise attacks on known or just alleged terrorists. The targeted people may be guilty, but they have never been tried or convicted. There are also those other people killed - some innocent, some guilty, but not of the crimes with which the targeted people are accused. Yes, in war sometimes the innocent are killed, but in a just war we seek to avoid that.

Even if the drones are efficient at taking out alleged enemies, they are also efficient at creating new enemies. They are increasing resentment toward the United States - as Noble-nominee Malala Yousafzai reportedly told President Obama last week: “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people."

The fellow who took exception at the men's group contended that drones are better than crashing planes into buildings. Yes, they are killing fewer people and they are not targeting just civilians. But the people we are currently targeting aren't necessarily even the ones who were involved in the September 11 attacks 12 years ago. Again, not having the benefit of a trial, they have not been convicted of those crimes.

We are executing them without trial.

We are doing what terrorists do.

Pax et bonum

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