Thursday, October 24, 2013

US Drone Strikes in Pakistan & Yemen

Drones, the military and domestic uses of them, have been a hot topic in the past year. And since January 2012, the United States has carried out forty-five drone strikes in the North Waziristan region alone. These events seem far away and are very difficult for the average American citizen to relate to. We hear (or may not hear, depending on what the government/press release to us) about a drone strike and think, “There must be casualties, but I’m sure this is for the better and we will win the conflict.” But in reality, these strikes are so much more than that. In a more recent attack from the past month, 18 people were killed and 22 were left wounded, including young children, below the age of sixteen. The worst part is that the people who are harmed in these drone attacks are innocent bystanders. If the information were presented in this way (that innocent lives were lost due to unnecessary military attacks), the United States and every average American citizen would be against it. This, meaning the endangerment of innocent lives, is something our country looks down upon every day. Yet we are now the ones imposing it. CNN takes a very interesting approach in this article by discussing all those innocent bystanders, from the children to a 68-year-old woman who was just tending to her garden when a drone missile took her life. Amnesty International has even taken a step to look more closely at the situation before determining whether war crimes have been committed by the United States.
This report about the attacks came out in the past two days, and now the leaders of the countries are due to meet with President Obama. Their goal is to “bring the drone program in line with international law.” It is absolutely shocking to think about the fact that United States could be responsible for so many innocent lives lost. It is an event that I would expect would draw a lot more hype and criticism. I would expect these situations to be a huge asset in arguments against the use of drones, even for military purposes. People making that argument could cite how dangerous this new technology can be because of the fact that it could easily harm, injure, and kill anyone—not just the stated targets. It is also quite scary to think about how dangerous and capable technology is. Technological advancements aren’t just the newest software update on the iPhone or a new tablet for children to use anymore. We see now that technology can be used for evil. I would hope that this does not become the main goal of technological advancements in the future. It should be used to solve human rights issues, as opposed to create them. With great technological ability, comes great responsibility.


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