Friday, November 1, 2013

Drones take Innocent Lives

Although in past years top officials in Pakistan’s government have denied knowledge of the CIA’s drone campaign, they have “routinely received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts.” Maps and documents, prepared by the CIA, that were shared with Pakistan’s government record the success of strikes that killed alleged al-Qaeda operatives. Apparently, drones strikes were “talking points” for CIA meetings and became routinely discussed. Although now Pakistan’s government is unified against drone attacks, it remains unclear as to how they will halt as they are a major part of Obama’s antiterrorism campaign. I think most people already knew that the government of Pakistan was in on the drone strikes, but these official documents solidify this rumor.

This drone campaign has killed 3000 people, including hundreds of civilians. Although the CIA has killed dozens of alleged al-Qaeda officials, they later shifted to also targeting “lo-level fighters.” Attacks on these people were approved based on “suspicious activity,” despite the identity of those killed being unknown. The CIA continues to claim the civilian death count is zero but according to The Guardian, 67 civilians have been killed by drones since 2008. Unfortunately, I think many people already knew that civilians were being killed, despite the CIA’s denial.

Some may claim that the number of innocent deaths is very low compared to deaths of insurgents but that does make it okay? Reading this heartbreaking story of an individual who lost her mother to a drone strike brought tears to my eyes. Why was her mother targeted? Was she not a human as well? Humans everywhere are equal. If the situation had been reversed, and even one civilian had been killed in the US, that one death would be taken very seriously, the family would be cared for, and action would be taken to stop attacks that killed innocents. 

It is unfortunate that the Pakistani government knew about drone strikes and did nothing to protect their civilians. It is even more unfortunate that the US has not taken action to protect civilians from drone strikes. Despite their knowledge of some innocent people dying, they did not think it important enough to address. Reading this article, which starts off with "Just 67 civilians were killed..." Just? 67 is more than zero and it should not be taken lightly. Humans are humans no matter where they are from and the fact the US has not taken action to prevent these innocent deaths disgusts me. 

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