Gazing at the stars while camping in the San Luis Valley recently, I mused on the fantasy that space should be the world’s peaceful commons. It isn’t.
Think of drone warfare in near space, for example.
A U.S. airstrike in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 19 people at a hospital run by international medical-aid organization Doctors Without Borders Oct. 10, prompting condemnation from humanitarian groups and the United Nations, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Increasingly, this is how the United States chooses to fight its wars. Drones lead the way and dominate the fight against the several non-state actors we now engage — Al Qaeda, the Shabab in Somalia and now ISIS.”
Both U.S. and Russian drones are surveying and dropping bombs on Syria, directed from space. Space is the navigational medium. “Denial” is the ethical medium. In an interview in GQ Magazine with former drone pilot Brandon Bryant recalls, “sitting in a control station on an Air Force base in Nevada, the three victims were walking on a dirt road in Afghanistan. After the Hellfire missile fired from the drone struck the three men, Bryant watched the aftermath on his infrared display.”
“The smoke clears, and there’s pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee. He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it’s hitting the ground, and it’s hot. His blood is hot,” Bryant says.
“But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast. It took him a long time to die. I just watched him. I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on.”.
But, won’t the day of reckoning arrive? Aren’t we engendering the wrath and indignation of more and more of the world’s citizens by our unilateral, imperious behavior?
“Our violence spawns violence and never-ending configurations of enraged militants,” according to Chris Hedges of TruthDig.
Stop drones. Stop perpetual war. Make space peaceful for all.
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.