Saturday, October 19, 2013

UN investigator presses US to publish drone attack data

By Divya Achtani

           This article discusses how a British lawyer, Ben Emmerson, a British lawyer, has spent the past year traveling the world. While this may sound fun, he has been traveling to countries that have been affected by the United States drone strikes. For example, when he visited Pakistan, he learned that 400 innocent civilians from the country have been killed in drone strikes since 2004. As a result of his travels, Emmerson wrote a report where he scrutinized the United States for not releasing “data on civilian casualties”. He makes it clear that drones continue to be a dangerous weapon, and soon enough, many countries will begin to use these as weapons towards more than just suspects. While the United States has stated that drone strikes will only be used against “suspected militants” in countries overseas, there has been a lot of scrutiny towards our drone policy lately.

           I think that the United States obviously chooses not to release civilian casualty data because it wants to focus on the positive side of drones. The drones are protecting people back here in the U.S. because they are targeting people who may serve as a threat to the United States. However, killing innocent civilians brings us back to a basic human rights questions. If the United States is so concerned about following laws and keeping integrity, how can they get away with killing civilians? And if these killings are accidents, shouldn’t they be more transparent about their mistakes? There needs to be stricter laws that outline the conditions under which drones can be used so that they are only used in the case of real imminent threats. If the use of drones could be used only in cases that do not violate humanitarian laws, then many civilian lives could be saved. Not releasing data on how many civilians have been killed just makes it look like the United States has a bigger story to hide, rather than an innocent accident. I mean honestly though, the United States prides itself in taking care of people and only harming those who could kill other people. It’s not right for them to also kill civilians and not admit their mistakes. Only when these accidents stop occurring and the United States is transparent on its drone data will people begin to accept the use of drones, and the world will have a better view of our country. 

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