The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, more widely known as drones, have cost countless lives in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Iraq.
The U.S. justifies the use of drones as an efficient way to target and kill al-Qaida terrorists, but the fact that civilian lives are just as much at stake has been belittled by the U.S. and the public.
According to the New America Foundation, which tracks the number of strikes annually, there have been 18 drone strikes in Pakistan since the beginning of the year, not only targeting terrorists, but also taking the lives of dozens of innocent civilians.
A collaborative study conducted by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law contridicts the U.S. government, which claim drones are surgically precise and an effective tool that make the U.S. safer. The study says, that in reality, there is significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.
According to President Barack Obama, drones are less deadly to civilians and decrease the number of casualties during attacks, which seems to
contradict the study conducted by Lawrence Lewis, a researcher at the Center for Naval Analyses, which claims that drones are 10 times more likely to cause the killing of innocent civilians than bombs being released from military jets.
What is even more disturbing is that drones are unmanned, meaning that they are piloted from outside the aircraft, causing the controllers to treat it more like a video game than a weapon of war.
The problem with drones isn’t that terrorists are being targeted, rather, that in the process of eliminating terrorists, innocent civilians are being dehumanized and soldiers are being desensitized to the notion of killing innocent people.
Meanwhile, the civilian lives that are being killed by a click of a button, leave behind a family that has labeled the U.S. just as much of a terrorist as al-Qaida.
This goes to show why so many of these victims turn to al-Qaida — to avenge the deaths of their loved ones.
It is understandable that there are terrorists in foreign countries who pose real threats to the security of the U.S., but the way the government is choosing to retaliate is not acceptable and goes against American morals.
The U.S. is sending a wrong message to the world with its use of drones, for in the eyes of the people who have been victims of this horror, the U.S. seems no better than the oppressive terrorists it has been working to get rid of.
Lama Alqasemi is a freshman majoring in mass communications.