Yesterday I was interviewed by Alan Stahler on KVMR Radio about why I engaged in nonviolent direct action and was arrested at Beale last October. (You can listen to the Podcast below.) In the interview, Alan said, “Using drones must save American lives. What’s your objection to them?” My initial answer: “It may be that using drones save American lives, but there has to be a different way.”
The U.S. Drone Warfare Program is flouting the rule of law, killing thousands, terrorizing whole communities, and making enemies. There has to be a different way, a way that can lead to mutual concern and lasting security for people in the United States and others. There has to be a way that can lead to peace.
U.S. drones have killed thousands of people, mostly civilians, including hundreds of children. Yes, our drones go after alleged terrorists. We have kill lists, made up of individuals who have been approved by the president or the CIA for targeted killings. But our drones do not only go after particular individuals. The majority of U.S. drone attacks are “signature strikes” based on looser criteria. In some areas, any man of military age is considered a militant and a legitimate target.
Drone strikes often result in civilian casualties. Hundreds of children have been killed. Friends of mine who have traveled to regions under fire by drones describe an atmosphere of fear and terror, children having nightmares, people afraid to gather in groups, go to funerals, or send their children to school. Whole communities are being terrorized. We are not only causing great harm to people in the communities we target, but making enemies and creating a cycle of violence that may last for generations.
All of this is taking place outside of both U.S. and international law. The United States is setting an example that other countries will surely follow. Over 75 countries now have drones. Some of these drones have weapons, others are surveillance drones, which can easily be weaponized. The United States is leading the way toward a global drone arms race.
U.S. drone warfare is not making the world more secure, but more dangerous. Those who are directing U.S. policy on drones are acting out of a vision of the future based on an endless War on Terror waged across borders, under cover by the CIA and Joint Special Forces, using whatever advanced technologies are available to dominate the world. Many of us reject this vision, and are working under the influence of faith in a higher vision, the vision of a peaceful, just, and sustainable world.
Drone warfare? There has to be a different way.
For more information about the impact drone strikes are having upon communities, read the transcript of Farea Al-Muslimi’s testimony inthe US Senate. He claims that rather than fighting terrorism, US drone strikes in his country are fueling it.
Keep up with Sharon’s blog postings about drones and her court case at http://sharondelgado.org/category/drones-2/