Game of Drones
Killing innocent civilians has become as easy as playing a video game. Military drone operators sit in the comfort of a bunker, zoom in on their target, and press a button. That one move can cause hundreds of deaths within seconds.
Since 2004, there have been over 400 drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and they have been responsible for killing thousands of civilians. People live in constant fear that an airstrike can happen at any moment. They hardly ever look up to admire the beautiful blue skies that they love, because it’s a constant reminder of pain and loss.
One man, Malik Jalal-Ud-Din, who is a member of the Waziristan
Peace Committee claims to have been personally targeted by at least two drone strikes since 2010 even though he is not a terrorist. Once he was on his way to visit a relative. He had confirmed that he would be there at four. When he was about a kilometer away, the relative’s house was bombed and the man was killed along with another.
Whenever there is a new drone strike, the locals call Noor Behram, a journalist from Waziristan, so he can document the number of civilians that are killed. He states that he mostly sees dead women and children, no dead terrorists. Behram challenged the intelligence agencies to prove to him that the children weren’t the targets. They were unable to do that.
Imran Khan is the Pakistani National Assembly Leader. He believes that the drone attacks are a violation of human rights and of all forms of justice. He sees the job of the operators as basically sitting in front of a screen and eliminating people, dehumanizing them, withholding from them the basic right of proving their innocence. He claims that the ‘intelligence’ that pinpoints the location of the terrorists seem to have forgotten that they are bombing small villages and that shrapnel doesn’t distinguish between a terrorist and an innocent civilian. Besides, sometimes they claim to have killed a certain terrorist and the person is still alive. So then, who did they kill? Pakistan is an ally of the United States. Why is the US military bombing its own ally? Khan thinks it has everything to do with the money the Pakistani government is receiving.
The CIA’s killer drones are stealthier and cheaper than manned war planes. Because of this they have become a convenient modern weapon for finding and destroying international targets. The drones allow the US military to eliminate enemies quickly. However that convenience, distance, and safety may be deceptive.
The truth is that these days there is no such thing as privacy. No matter where you are in the world, chances are that you’re being watched from a distance of many thousands of feet in the sky. If you’re attacked, you won’t see it coming.
There is a group of women who are campaigning to end US wars and militarism. They call themselves Code Pink. Find out more now.