In the last 20 years, we have watched the growing human suffering being generated by the atrocity of drone attacks and drone surveillance, a scrouge of assassination, mayhem and lawlessness originating with the U.S. and Israel and now spreading to other nations and non-state actors that recognize the advantages of “killing made easy.”
There is great appeal for a nation’s elites to be able to kill to grab resources and power without risking political blowback from returning body bags, an appeal that seems over-powering. There is a great appeal for militia groups to attack their more powerful adversaries without losing their own lives. This attraction, mixed with the greed of weapons and high-tech manufacturers, is carrying us into a new realm of violence in which artificial intelligence will more and more guide the fatal decision-making of who lives and who dies.
And this is all being done on the backs of the vast numbers of poor people of color in the world’s drone kill zones. Unnamed, uncounted, unrecognized as humans really, they are data points found by surveillance and killed by remote control. It is a fate that is spreading and engulfing us all, either as victims or perpetrators.
In 2012, I had the privilege of organizing a 34-member delegation to visit the Waziristan region in Pakistan, a place of intense drone attack by the Obama-Biden Administration. As I wrote in “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control”:
“Residents I met with said they had a hard time sleeping, that may people suffer from depression and PTSD, and that there is a widespread use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. They also reported a spate of suicides, something they said never existed before.”
A year later, a group of us traveled to Yemen, meeting with families whose loved ones were killed by U.S. drones. Communities that had positive feeling towards to the U.S.–oftentimes with relatives living there—turned into our enemies once we murdered their loved ones who posed no threat to the United States.
Death, maiming, trauma and destruction of community, culture and trust. This is the reality of people in every place around the world who are living under armed drones and military or police drone surveillance.
They find no comfort, only death and fear, in the much-vaunted, so-called “precision” of drone killings, a notion devised by the illusionists of global elites to placate the squeamish, suspicious of the rising flood of drone war criminality that we are witnessing.
It is well past time to say “no” to this barbarity of modern-day killing by remote control. Please join me in supporting the BanKillerDrones.org international grass-roots campaign for a treaty to ban weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance. We are humans.