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Drones: the ugly truth

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 By Stephen Hitt
Contributing Writer
opinions.asp@gmail.com
 
page5_President_Obama
 

You become afraid to step out­side your house. You run to the store for food wondering whether or not you will come back home safely. When you step outside, you look to the sky, terrified and resentful of the death that comes from above. Unfortunately, these thoughts are not unfamiliar for civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, where United States drones prowl the sky in search for “terrorists.”

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism though, more than 4,500 civilians have been killed since 2004, by drones. In Pakistan, more than 881 civilians including children have perished due to drones fight on terrorism. In the 21st century, this kind of killing is outrageous.

It is hard to believe that non-combatants could be so cruelly punished with collateral damage. Families have been torn apart, friends have been lost, and in­nocent lives have been destroyed. And for the most part, the world outside is content to sit back and watch.

Part of the problem lies with the fact that terrorists are not easy to identify. Drone strikes have one purpose: to kill quickly and indiscriminately.

The government stresses the fact that strikes are only autho­rized when the target presents a clear and imminent threat to the security of the United States. But the drones are literally a system of assassination, and one mistake in intelligence or identification could result in a handful of civil­ian casualties.

There is no doubt that the United States has enemies around the world. But how many enemies does this country create with backward policies like the drone program?

According to a study conducted by researchers at Stanford and NYU, fear of United States intervention has caused a deep resentment of our country around the world.

If you lost a family member in a strike, wouldn’t you dedicate your entire life to vengeance? Additionally, this policy under­mines the sovereignty of other countries. Instead of working with foreign nations to appre­hend terrorists, we disrespect­fully enter as an uninvited guest, making a mess and leaving it for others to clean. This is disgrace­ful.

On Wednesday, Rand Paul (R-KY) stood on the floor of the Senate, talking for nearly 13 hours in an attempt to delay the confirmation of John Brennan to the position of CIA Director via the filibuster. Paul demanded answers from the Obama admin­istrations as to its position on drone strikes targeting American citizens.

This should be a fairly straight­forward issue. The Constitution protects the due process of law; every citizen has the right to a fair trial by jury. But when the administration failed to clearly address the issue, Senator Paul decided to make a statement.

It is nice to know that some­one in Washington is protecting our civil liberties. But the United States is not the only place dealing with the threat of drone strikes.

Our foreign policy has been backward for a long time. This is the latest extension of neo-imperialism around the world. It is simply unacceptable. One can easily understand the simultane­ous fear and hatred we create.

President Obama has effec­tively painted a picture of him­self as a modern man, but he has failed to demonstrate the change we need in foreign policy. Under the Obama administration, the country has ruthlessly extended itself as an imposing power around the world.

Make no mistake: this comes with consequences on both an individual and political level. It does not matter what side of the political spectrum your loyal­ties lie. As citizens, we should be ashamed and outraged at the damage that United States inflicts on the lives of hundreds of inno­cent people around the world.

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