U.S. foreign policy is immoral
Published: Monday, July 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
In the July 15 edition of The New York Times, national security reporter Scott Shane wrote an article titled “The Moral Case for Drones.” He questions the widely held assumption that since drones are a more precise, efficient way to target terrorists they are morally superior to other forms of warfare that kill more civilians. However, he neglects to mention the only obvious moral choice: not using violence at all.
It is impossible to know how many civilians are routinely killed by drone attacks. Shane writes, “Any analysis of actual results from the Central Intelligence Agency strikes in Pakistan, which has become the world’s unwilling test ground for the new weapon, is hampered by secrecy and wildly varying casualty reports.”
Eight Yemeni civilians were killed as a result of U.S. drone strikes, May 15. The murder of these civilians will be justified by the U.S. government like this:
Al Qaeda is an enemy of the United States. Al Qaeda happens to be in Yemen. Therefore Yemen (and anyone who lives in Yemen) is fair game.
This willfully immoral rationale does nothing to address the root causes of terrorism, or attempt in any way to reach some sort of conflict resolution. As far as we know the only is plan is to bomb Al Qaeda from one country to the next.
President Obama should already understand how irrational this is, unless he was just paying the idea lip service at a 2003 anti-war rally in Chicago:
"I know that the invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than the best impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars."
Our strategy with regards to Al Qaeda does not have a clear rationale and we do not have international support. In fact we are impinging on the rights of other sovereign nations (while killing its civilians) and we are certainly fanning the flames of discontent in the Arab Muslim world.
What human being anywhere in the world wouldn't resent their land being attacked for reasons they had nothing do with; or the slaughter of their neighbors and family members?
By an unmanned vehicle no less! Besides how do we know the information given to our intelligence services is accurate and not fueled by spite or tribal allegiances?
A real examination of why people want to use terror against us will expose some ugly truths about how we operate around the world. There is nothing to be gained politically for any politician to stop the bombs and start real dialogues with the Muslim world, including the violent sects. It's safer to blanket them all as terrorists who are unworthy of diplomacy.
Osama bin Laden had two reasonable grievances with the United States: U.S. soldiers occupying Muslim land and the fact that the U.S. government showers Israel with indiscriminate support.
With his death last year, Obama had an opportunity to fill the vacuum with a sincere discussion about the rage that lies at the heart of terrorist ideology. He could have addressed these grievances and the millions of Muslims who shared this resentment.
Instead, he has continued George W. Bush's violent, paranoid preemptive foreign policy that will produce more terrorism in the long-run.
If the logic is to continue to attack Al Qaeda wherever in the world they may be, the strikes will never end. If not Al Qaeda then another militant group who resents U.S. imperialism will take up war with America as their cause. They will probably be led by someone who lost a family member to a drone strike.
As the comedian David Cross said, “Having a war on terror is like having a war on jealousy… at no point in time ever are we gonna go: ‘whew, got ‘em all. Everybody loves us again.’”
We are trying to get them all, with blatant disregard for whoever, or whatever international law, stands in the way.
Because Al Qaeda is our enemy and we have the technological capability to attack them doesn't mean it is just; and by championing drone strikes as the lesser of two evils doesn't mean using them is moral.