The Hubris of the Drones
In his State of the Union, President Obama vowed to continue the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan, much as he did in Iraq. But his reliance on lethal drone attacks to kill suspected terrorists has raised many other concerns, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.
Last week, The New York Times published a chilling account of how indiscriminate killing in war remains bad policy even today. This time, it’s done not by young GIs in the field but by anonymous puppeteers guiding drones that hover and attack by remote control against targets thousands of miles away, often killing the innocent and driving their enraged and grieving families and friends straight into the arms of the very terrorists we’re trying to eradicate.
The Timestold of a Muslim cleric in Yemen named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, standing in a village mosque denouncing al-Qaeda. It was a brave thing to do — a respected tribal figure, arguing against terrorism. But two days later, when he and a police officer cousin agreed to meet with three al-Qaeda members to continue the argument, all five men — friend and foe — were incinerated by an American drone attack.