There has been a new report of a U.S. drone strike against a Somalia terrorist. Reporting on this story on Oct. 28, 2013, The Washington Times has written, “U.S. drone strike kills two al Shabaab terrorists in Somalia.” A U.S. official has said a U.S. drone strike in Somalia has killed two terrorists of the al Qaeda-affiliated group al Shabaab, including a leader of that group. There is however not likely to be unanimous approval of this drone strike as anti-drone sentiments begin to grow worldwide.
Rolling Stone covers anti-drone sentiments writing, “Individuals, Worlds Apart, United by the Trauma of Drone Strikes.” The United Nations recently convened a panel to discuss the controversial overseas drone strike programs of the United States. Human rights advocates, legal scholars and special rapporteurs, all spoke at this meeting and called for the U.S. to make its drone policy more transparent and accountable to the public.
Brandon Bryant, a former U.S. Air Force drone operator who suffers from post-traumatic stress
disorder and who logged in thousands of hours firing drones at distant targets in Afghanistan
and Iraq over the course of six years, was one of the speakers. He said, “At the end of our pledge of allegiance, we say ‘with liberty and justice for all. I believe that should be applied to not only American citizens but everyone we interact with as well – to put them on an equal level and treat them with respect.” And so here we have a specialist in U.S. military drone operations raising ethical and morale questions about the nation’s drone policies.
Victims of drone attacks are also speaking up. A Pakistani family, Rafiq, 39, his son Zubair, 13, and his daughter Nabeela, 9, flew into Washington, DC from their village in North Waziristan to tell Congress the story of Rafiq’s mother, Mamana Bibi, who was killed by what almost certainly appeared to be a U.S. drone strike on October 24th, 2012. Mamana was just a midwife. She was picking okra near her family’s house when a drone struck her directly, and blew her to pieces. The two kids were both in the field and saw their grandmother get blown into shreds by the drone. Nine children were also injured in this drone strike.
The situation has become even more dangerously contentious with Rolling Stone also reporting, “U.S. Drone Strikes Violate Laws of War.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have taken the position that the semi-covert U.S. drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan violate the laws of war. Amnesty International has gone even further by suggesting some U.S. strikes may actually rise to the level of war crimes. With so many allegations of criminality against the United States due to these drone strikes, clearly the nation’s drone strike policies should be reviewed before retaliatory strikes instead of simply words of protest, arise.
However, even such unlikely policy changes in dealing with drone strikes by the United States will not solve the painful problem being raised that perhaps the responsible parties, right up to President Barack Obama and his administration, may very well be war criminals who should have to stand trial in international criminal courts of law. It was not too long ago that Obama promised not to repeat the same type of crimes against humanity which past President George W. Bush has also been accused of.