|MQ-9 Reaper (Public Domain)|
Oppose Lethal Use of Drones" was sent to President
Obama. It was signed by the Executive Secretary of
the Friends Committee on National Legislation – as well as by high-level representatives of other groups
such as the United Methodists and the Mennonites.
The letter begins by expressing "great concern" about
the use of drones for "targeted killings" - as is being
done "within the borders of other sovereign nations,
at times without their permission… and without clear legal authority…" It then asks this key question: Is the U.S. at war? If so, then international law regarding the use of these weapons should apply. If not, "then other principles of human and civil rights" (such as "fair trial in a court of law") should prevail.
The message acknowledges that "these matters are not simple…" Nevertheless, it points out some serious flaws about the lethal use of drones. Because targeting killings don't address the underlying causes of conflict, they can lead to more - rather than less - overall terrorism. As drones "injure and threaten people who were previously uninvolved," recruitment for extremist organizations becomes that much easier. The remote aspect of drone use negates the "deep human instinct against killing." It is quite different from coming face-to-face with a perceived enemy.
The senders of this letter certainly realize that change is often slow and incremental. They nonetheless close by urging President Obama to give "these issues more careful reflection and evaluation."
Copyright April 30, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved