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U.S. drone policy killing hundreds of innocents, Obama says it's okay

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 15th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United Nations has raised another challenge to Obama's drone policy in Pakistan, saying that it continues to kill innocent civilians because operators have difficulty discerning civilians apart from terrorists. The Obama administrations insists the practice is legal.

LOS ANGELES, Ca (Catholic Online) - The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Counterterrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, made a statement on Friday that the strikes are killing Pakistani men who are not terrorists, as they go about their everyday chores.

The drone campaign has disrupted a way of life and may be creating more terrorists than it eliminates.

Emmerson told CNN, "I'm not aware of any state in the world that currently shares the United States' expansive legal perspective that it is engaged in a global war -- that is to say a non-international armed conflict with al Qaeda and any group associated with al Qaeda, wherever they are to be found, that would therefore lawfully entitle the United States to take action involving targeted killing wherever an individual is found."

Emmerson recently visited Pakistan and spoke with members of the Pashtun tribe who are frequent victims of the strikes. He explained that Pashtun men dress the same as the Taliban and they often carry weapons, which is part of their culture. However, this commonly causes operators to make mistakes and fire on innocents.

Now some Pashtun fear carrying weapons and congregating in groups with other men.

Part of the problem for the U.S. is that Pashtun culture requires vengeance for murder, so when innocent men are killed, it drives sons and those around them into terrorist hands in a quest for vengeance. In this way, the drone policy is creating more terrorists.

Despite these accusations, CIA Director John Brennan says that mistakes are "exceedingly rare" saying the annual number of civilian deaths has dropped to around 10 percent.

Exceedingly rare, 10 percent.

This from the Obama administration that wants to expand the use of drones over American skies and has reserved to himself the right to make lethal strikes against fellow Americans, both abroad (which has already happened) and on U.S. soil.

However, if the Obama administration cannot get drone strikes against terrorists right, whatever makes anyone think that similar operations on Americans in the United States won't fail just as tragically?

While many might dismiss such a possibility as highly unlikely and unimaginable, we need only remember that before 9/11, nobody had hardly heard of a drone, furthermore the use of drones to kill terrorists overseas. Since then, we have killed Americans overseas without due process, and drones are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in American skies.

It is a small, logical step to think that such weapons will be used here someday - it's simply a matter of time. When that time comes, what's to say the innocent won't pay alongside the guilty?

Even the death of one innocent is one too many. In Pakistan alone, anywhere from a low of 411 to a high of 884 civilians have been confirmed killed in just 365 strikes.

This is a bad policy for Pakistan and international affairs. It certainly cannot be good for domestic affairs.

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