Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Drones & The Good? & Iran? & Obama!

I've hesitated to write about my own antipathy with respect to the U.S. use of Drones in attacking others for many weeks.

I'll let this report address some of the complexities & anxieties I feel:

The report entitled Living Under Drones calls into question the effectiveness of drone attacks as a weapon against terrorism in Pakistan, stating that it is overplayed by the US government.

It says: "The dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling 'targeted killings' of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false."


The "best available information", they say, is that between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed in Pakistan between June 2004 and mid-September this year – of whom between 474 and 881 were civilians, including 176 children. The figures have been assembled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which estimated that a further 1,300 individuals were injured in drone strikes over that period. 

Here is the entire report, presented by Stanford University School of Law and New York University School of Law. The Table of Contents alone is worth noting - let alone significant sections that I have only briefly read. This should give us perspective & consideration for how and why "America" is perceived as it is in other regions of the world as not being a bringer of peace.

Certainly we have other options worth considering - especially in light of this evidence.

On the same day this report hits the press - Obama is in the U.N. stating:

"The attacks on our civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America... and there should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice."

"But the attacks of the last two weeks are not simply an assault on America," he continued. "They are also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded – the notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully; that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens.

"(…) Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations," he said. "We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self-determination are not unique to one culture. These are not simply American values or Western values – they are universal values."

I have deep angst about the logic of these claims.  I'm speaking personally here.  As long as we are "relentless in tracking down the killers" - while our own practices kill civilians - we have no moral high ground to stand upon.  When Obama says "this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations" - while freely using drone violence to kill  - I have a hard time discerning how the U.S. use of violence is ideologically different from the violence of the crowds in Benghazi - except technologically different - not ideologically different?  

I stated recently - that I think what Romney said in a speech is wrong.  I'll state here, that I think what Obama has stated is wrong. I have no high hopes for the claims of "either" "party" in these issues - nor of either candidate for the office of President.  The hopes of the Eupan Global Initiative are not invested in American Politics - nor in American ideology.

But - with all of my being - I hope, wish, want all persons - including Americans! -  to be mindful of the violence that is perpetuated, created, brought by American policy/action/decision.  Until we can own our own complicity in violence, we'll never be able to free ourselves from it - in working toward the ideals of the U.N. and the hope of all nations.

And, for the rising rhetoric - going on now for months "between" Israel and Iran.  I humbly & devoutly pray for peacemakers in politics to advocate for better options for all persons involved.  Now!

To anyone reading this.  Yes.  I am an idealist!  No, I am not advocating for some simple policy that solves all issues.  No, I do not pretend to have the answers to complex issues of violence.  And yet, I know this - we can do better.  We can be better.  We need to do better.

We need to celebrate, work for and advocate for peace.  

Toward eupan ~

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

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