In a major foreign policy speech last week, President Obama said: “Beyond the Afghan theater, we only target al-Qaeda and its associated forces and even then, the use of drones is heavily constrained.”
Obama underscored, the drones will for now only target “terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people,” according to Wired.com.
Then, only six days later, on Wednesday, the deputy chief of the Pakistani Taliban, not al-Qaeda, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Miranshah, Pakistan. Three others died as well, according to Agence France-Presse.
Wait a minute, President Obama. You just said last week that the use of drones would be constrained from now on and only used on terrorists who pose a “continuing and imminent threat to the American people.” And what about the others who died, and the seething anger and fear that must be growing?
Doesn’t it seem horribly wrong to kill people because they are suspected of crimes, instead of capturing them and taking them through fair judicial proceedings? Or, to target whole villages because it is suspected that terrorists live there? According to Micah Zenko, of Foreign Policy, between 3,000 and 4,000 people in Pakistan and Yemen have been killed by drones, and most of them were not members of al-Qaeda.
Who do we think we are? Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said, “Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not the same value as yours?”
Drone warfare is illegal. “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the U.S. government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination,” reads President Ronald Reagan’s U.S. Executive Order 12333.
A U.S. Navy captain quoted in Foreign Policy said, “Drones are an example of technology outpacing our morality and thinking.” Drone killing is reckless and has been done in secret and without democratic discussion.
Two years ago, President Obama told Maura Cowley of the Clean Energy Coalition and a group of climate activists, “Your job is to push me,” according to The Nation.com.
That’s what every single citizen, young, old, activist or just a concerned person doing his or her best in life — which is hard anyway — must do. We who “get it,” must push the president.