I remember as a kid being asked, “If you could push a button for a million dollars, but someone in China would die, would you do it?”   I had to really think about that.  There is no way I would consider actually “killing” someone, but pushing a button, and never having to see that person’s face, witness his pain, or know his story as a fellow human being might be different.  When my friends and I pondered that question, I thought about that person having a family, and a life.  What if someone could push a button and do that to me?  So if they didn’t have the right to do that to me, how could I do it, even to a stranger?  Some of my friends had different opinions, saying, “Who cares?  You’d never know the person.  Maybe they were dying anyway… besides, it’s a million dollars!” 

I didn’t have the words to articulate what I know now: that every living, breathing human deserves to live.  That pushing a button to kill someone on the other side of the world is still killing.  And that brings me to drones.

Our warmonger-owned media would love for us to adopt the thinking that some anonymous human on the other side of the world doesn’t matter.  But that is operating from the false assumption that we are not interconnected, and that killing is okay if you don’t have to watch the person die.  A tidy, sanitized death that we don’t have to witness... except we don’t get the million dollars; the warmongers do.

They would like us to believe that the people being killed are “terrorists,” because somehow the fact that they have been thus labelled justifies their murder.  But what makes a terrorist?  For the sake of the drone program, any male over 18 years of age in the strike zone is a terrorist.  So if our government deems you deserving of death via remote control, and your 18-year-old son is home at the time, he is now considered a terrorist too.  Comes in pretty handy when they are counting “civilian” deaths.  Conveniently, this 18 year old is no longer counted as a civilian.  It has nothing to do with terrorist activity, or even knowledge of terrorist activity; it’s all about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Drones have only an 80% accuracy rate.  If that doesn’t sound so bad, think about how comfortable you would be if the drone was pointed at your next door neighbor.  You are no longer a person if the drone hits your home and kills your family; you are now “collateral damage.”  Every instance of collateral damage means a funeral, means orphans, means people burying their babies, and the trauma of a community dealing with a murder.  In this case, the murderer is not being held accountable.  And for those people who allude to the sanctity of life while protesting abortion, please know that fetuses die in our unethical wars too.

We have a great deal of invisible privilege living here in the U.S., because we don’t have to live in a war zone.  Nobody deserves to wonder if they are going to be killed in a car bombing that day, to be constantly vigilant, to wonder if soldiers are going to kick down their door and drag away their father, or brother, or son to be “interrogated,” yet that is the reality in the countries we are invading and occupying.  This is what we create.  Yet somehow, we call them the terrorists.  The same people who say they don't trust the government don't seem to question the government when it deems a random person across the world as a terrorist.  That is the luxury of living in America.

More people have been upset about the drone program targeting American citizens, but I am upset about the drone program targeting anybody!  Who are we to play God?  If you want to murder someone, at least have the guts to do it to his face, not shoot a missile from the other side of the planet and take out his family and friends.  What kind of cowardice have we produced, and who are these inventors of death, who make their living finding increasingly cold-hearted ways to take the lives of others, while removing themselves conveniently from the situation?

Brandon Bryant, a former drone pilot, now suffers from PTSD.  He quit the drone program, after witnessing the death of a child as the result of a drone he fired.  And that was just a vague camera image in infrared.  He did not have to hear the screams, or see the fear and pain in the child’s face, or witness the grief of the families of the dead.  Nevertheless, the knowledge of his own role in this moral outrage has ruined his life.  As aggressors, we also pay the price of this senseless killing, and it is a blight on our social conscience.  As Howard Zinn would say, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”  And make no mistake, these are innocent people, even the ones labelled as terrorists.  Isn’t it supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty?”  Have they been brought to trial, have they had a chance to defend themselves, or is this the New American Way… judge, jury, and executioner?  

The Obama administration admitted yesterday that four U.S. Citizens had been killed by drones, one of whom was specifically targeted.  While not excusing the one who was targeted, were the other three an accident?  Why are we doing this?  Today, the President promises to CURTAIL the drone program.  A new classified policy guidance signed by Pres. Obama will sharply curtail the instances when unmanned aircraft can be used to attack in places that are not overt war zones: countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.  That is not enough.  Every human being on this planet deserves to not be murdered, and a drone murder is still murder.  This must be discontinued.  This is not a video game; it’s human life.  Would it bring you comfort if you were cradling the body of your dead child to be told we had “curtailed” drone attacks?

If you agree with me that this is irresponsible and inhumane, please click on the links below, which will take you to petitions.  Feel free to add your own links if you are aware of other petitions.  As a conscientious American, I cannot defend the drone program in any form.

To ask for further scaling back of drone operations, via Codepink:

To ask for the suspension of the Customs and Border Protection domestic drone surveillance program:

A change.org petition asking for the suspension of drone strikes on suspected terrorists:
https://www.change.org/petitions/no-more-drone-strikes

Here is the link to information about the book, "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control" by Medea Benjamin:
http://www.codepinkalert.org//article.php?id=6064