InCity Voices: on our drone article

By Barbara Roberts

I read your recent article on drones [InCity Times, Volume 12, issue 13], and I have some problems with it.

First of all, the article basically tells a person how to create a drone. This is not a good idea. What if a potential terrorist reads the article?

Secondly, you write “The UN charter gives member nations the right to defend themselves. Al-Qaeda started the war. Now the drones may end Al-Qaeda.”

1.) We don’t know that Al-Qaeda started the war – no through investigation has been done.
2.) Currently we are fighting a war in Mali (helping the French). How do we know the locals of Mali are members of Al-Qaeda? Just because the government says so? (I refer you to the Iraq War – no WMD found.)

Thirdly you say we can win the war with these drones. No one can win wars with drones – the drones only make nonterrorists into terrorists. The more we kill innocent children, women and old men with our drones, the more ordinary people are going to hate us. Furthermore, history tells that you can’t win a war with drones; recall the V1 rockets which were similar to drones; their use by the Germans just made the British more angry and resulted in fire bombing Dresden. It takes warriors on the ground willing to sacrifice themselves for the cause – assuming it is a just war. Drones are a symptom of the United State’s lack of commitment to real warfare. Drones are the “desired” weapon of choice because the politicians do not have enough moxie to draft soldiers to go and kill other men face to face. Wars are won by boots on the ground not by cowards who hide in safe structures and killed people from afar.

Fourthly only the future will tell but it is very possible that drone usage will be extended from targets of remote individuals to heads of state and other people. Here are some questions to consider while contemplating the power given to the Government by the Patriot Act and the recent NDAA law.

1.) Since four Americans have already been killed – with no oversight – by drones run by the CIA, can Americans here in the States be targeted by drones? Its only a very small set and there are 64 drone bases in the Continental US. So the covert use of drones by the CIA not only puts us at risk from blowback but from being directly targeted by branches of our own government. How incredibly unbelievable it that?! We do not know that the killing of Al-Waki was justified – and his 16 year old son – since the only thing I have heard that the father did was write a blog. And the son only just turned 16 years old – so he probably had not done anything. If our countries intelligence services can be wrong about WMD in Iraq they can also be wrong about what activities an individual is engaged in. (Remember the old adage? “I’m for the government, I’m here to help you.” The reason it was funny is that many times they are incompetent. Just ask anyone who ever worked for the government.

Can the use of drones be used against heads of state or other persons, not terrorists? What if a known terrorist (American or not) buys an airline ticket and flies to some other location, can the US use a drone to shoot down that plane? Or is a plane full of innocent people too many to kill? When a terrorist is in a group of people overseas the drones shoot the innocent with the (presumed) guilty. When is the number of innocents too great to shot? Ahmadinejad just flew from Iran to Egypt (I suppose he will fly back); can the US use a drone to shoot that plane down? (Note well: shooting twice – one drone followed by another – is a war crime because the second drone strike often kills the emergency responders, the doctors, the medics, the ambulance drivers.

Fifthly, there is the proliferation problem.

Since India now has drones (see recent newspaper articles published yesterday), can India use drones to kill terrorists in Pakistan? (Note: Pakistan and India have had very strained relationships since the partition of India – Pakistan being formed out of India.) If India is allowed (I suppose they can do whatever they want being a sovereign country) can they use drones against China, since these two countries are having some border wars.

Did you notice Germany? PM Merkel has announced that Germany needs to have its own drones for self defense. Germany (and possibly Japan) have been pretty much disarmed since WWII; Germany having drones puts weapons into the hands of people who have been long time adversaries of ours. (Not that they are today, of course). Drones are relatively easy to build and so their proliferation is going to fast and wide spread.

A sixth point: Have you ever thought that our fear of terrorists is projection of our own aggression and brutality?

“The more pain we inflict on others the more we become familiar with evil, aggression and brutality. The more cruel we are toward others, the more horrified we are by the possibility that the subjects of our brutality may also be as nasty as we are.” Gilad Atzmonp.

And lastly, Have you ever seen any war on an emotion won? There is the war on poverty – a failure; the war on drugs, a failure, and now the war on terror…there are those who say this war on terror will go on for 50 years or more. Do we really want that?

In conclusion, I do not think the use of drones is wise; I think those who are using them are not great statesmen nor strategists like Disraeli. In short and being blunt, they are drunk with power and out of touch with reality. Unfortunately we citizens will receive a lot of blowback from drone usage and it will be of our own government’s doing. Sow to the wind, reap from the whirlwind.

Barbara Roberts lives in Worcester.

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