The United States of Drones
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”- The United States Constitution- 5th Amendment
Remember when the Constitution used to be the law of the land? A list of fundamental laws that have been followed for over 200 years. The Constitution guarantees every American Citizen their day in court, no matter the crime. Samir Khan, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, and Anwar al-Awlaki did not have these rights, they were murdered by an Unmanned Predator Drone by the President of the United States. The leader of the nation who is suppose to uphold these laws. Now Samir Khan and Anwar al-Awlaki were alleged terrorist, and self proclaimed members of Al-Qaeda. No matter what group they belonged too, they were still American’s who have the same rights as you and I. I don’t agree with their message, but I do agree with The Constitution. Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was the son of Anwar, a 16 year old boy from Denver. He was also murdered by a Predator Drone, and what was his crime? According to former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Abdulrahman al-Awlaki ”should have [had] a far more responsible father,”. Well every American better start worrying about what kind of actions their parents are taking now, because having bad parents I guess now makes you a bad person.
We now live in a time in which our every move is monitored, from writing an E-mail, talking on the phone, text messages, social networking, and even while talking a walk outside. Our Government knows our every move, who we associate with, the hours we work; Yet, we know little about what our Government does in our name. The Drone Program being one of the most secretive and non transparent program. According to many studies and investigations in Pakistan alone, the drone program has a 2% success rate. “A study at Stanford and New York University titled ‘Living Under Drones’ claimed that only two percent of drone strike casualties in Pakistan are top militants, and that the large number of related civilian deaths turn Pakistanis against the US.” (http://rt.com/news/pakistan-drones-study-civilians-933/) Further investigations find that more than 200 children have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan alone. We also have drone campaigns going in Yemen and Somalia where many civilians, women, and children have been killed.
The Drone program itself began under George W. Bush, but when President Obama took office the program became a mainstay in Obama’s foreign policy. The amount of strike dramatically increased, and the long reach of the US government lengthened. The idea of the program it take US soldiers out of harms way, and to destroy targets with better accuracy. But that has not been the case, and the amount of blowback due to civilian deaths has caused normally peaceful citizens to garner hatred towards the United States. If in Pakistan the drone program has a 2% success rate, the other 98% have families, friends, and neighbors who are outraged and the death of their fellow citizens.
I am 26 years old, and for the majority of my life we have been at war with a noun: “Terror”. It began with seeking revenge for those who plotted 9/11 and has turned into a full fledged annihilation of anyone “suspected” of posing an “imminent threat”. What is an “imminent threat”? That we are still unsure of, the definition has been twisted to fit the policies of our current government. In the years past since 9/11 we have seen new laws that are suppose to protect us, we have seen new technology that is supposed to save lives. Yet, we are 12+ years, 2 different Presidents into this war and what do we have to show for it? Our Constitution has been bent every which way, our rights to privacy, and freedom of speech have been trampled on. All it took was a charismatic Democrat, for Americans to fall in line and support the once unpopular Bush Policies. Policies that would have called for Bush’s impeachment, have rewarded Barack Obama with a second term. Hopefully now people are starting open their eyes to what our government is doing in our name.
“When your government knows everything about you, and you know nothing about them, it is time to take a stand”