Speaking out against drones

SARAH HARVARD
The moments of September 11 were daunting, terrifying to the soul of the American heartland. Picture the apocalyptic scenes of horror: the dark, menacing black clouds of pungent smoke spreads to limitless boundaries, the symbol of America’s economic might collapsing unforgivingly in the streets of Manhattan, the military stealth of this country becoming vulnerable as the plane explodes ruthlessly, the city of New York becoming a ghost land of debris, the city that never sleeps now soulless. The American people are now left in continuous fear; the fear of another attack - another family or friend lost. I remember those days. I remember the lump in my throat, the drop in my stomach, the way my heart plummeted like a sunken ship. I’m still weeping to this day.
Since 2004, men, women, and children, all over the world have lived in the same continuous fear through the use of drone strikes by the United States.  What initially started during the Bush Administration has become drastically more intense since the Obama Administration took office. According to the Institute of Conflict Management, 2,375 civilians have been murdered in Pakistan alone by US drone strikes since 2005. As the casualties increase, the media has simultaneously spent less attention to the drone strikes attacks in Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. When the media does report on drone strikes, sources often contradict one another on a variety of details including the casualty count, nationalities of those killed, and the structures targeted.
Interestingly enough, the report done by the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic of Stanford Law School (Stanford Clinic) and the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law mentions numerous unreported drone strikes that were covered up by the Musharraf regime. These strikes were instead attributed to Pakistani military operations, car bombs, and accidental explosions, cover ups designed to conceal the motives of the United States and Pakistan’s role in them. Furthermore, the US has believed that there has been a total of 344 drone strikes in Pakistan from June 17, 2004 to September 2, 2012; 52 ordered by the Bush Administration, and a ruthless 292 ordered by the Obama Administration.
To dismiss these drone strikes on Pakistani civilians as “some aerial strikes” is completely hypocritical and heartless. It is hypocritical and heartless on the part of President Obama who contradicts his message of “hope and change” to the American people. It is hypocritical and heartless, ignoring the “A New Beginning Speech” given at the American University of Cairo, a speech littered with deceptive rhetoric and false claims of progressing towards peaceful relations with the US and the Middle East. Most importantly, it is hypocritical and heartless in light of our own experiences in the aftermath of September 11. We, too, know what it is like to lose our loved ones.
American exceptionalism plagues this country of ours. The preposterous belief that we are free because of our democratic ideals and personal liberty is unrealistic and could easily be proven wrong with the Bush and Obama Administration’s war against the American people through (to name a few) the warrantless wiretapping of the Patriot Act, attempts at censoring the internet through CISPA and SOPA, the suspension of habeas corpus, the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial through the National Defence Authorization Act, and the assassination of American citizens like sixteen year old Abdulrahman Al-Alwaki who was killed through an executive order by President Obama.    (To Be Continued)
  Courtesy of Column Antiwar