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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


About those drone attacks

Murder by drone has been going on for quite some time now, and U.S. politicians, faced with reality of declining support for the occupation of Afghanistan and the increasing death of American troops, are braying for more like spectators in the Colosseum crying for more Christians to be fed to the lions. Nice, clean death, no muss, no fuss, no one on "our side" even comes close to getting hurt (except the poor Afghan translator for the New York Times when he and his reporter went to investigate the latest civilian deaths resulting from those drones).

We all know that, as often as not, it's non-combatants who are killed by drone attacks (whenever possible, I try to avoid the term "innocent civilians", since it implies that people trying to rid their country of foreign occupiers are "guilty" of something, which they are not). But here's something else to remember: there were hundreds of people imprisoned in Guantanamo who we were told were "the worst of the worst." People who surely, had they been in the right place at the right time (or, more accurately, the wrong place at the wrong time), could easily have been the victim of a drone attack. But of those hundreds of people, a vast number have been set free, declared innocent of anything even by the standards employed by the U.S. government (basically, "guilty until proven innocent"). So the next time you read about a drone attack taking out some "top Al Qaeda leader" in Afghanistan or Pakistan, remember those people at Guantanamo, the "worst of the worst" who, in actual fact, were nothing of the sort.

Of all the immoral forms of warfare engaged in by the United States, murder by drone surely ranks right near the top.

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