Human Rights Defenders Protest Drone Warfare


Outside the White House, activists protest drone warfare. [Staff Photo Phil Pasquini]

As they have done the second Saturday of each month, members of Pax Christi and other human rights groups gathered in front of the White House Jan. 13 to protest the U.S. government’s use of drone warfare.

The Authorization for the Use of Military Force Act drafted by the George W. Bush administration in September 2001 has consistently been criticized by civil rights groups because hundreds of innocent men, women and children have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Libya.

Pax Christi, an international Catholic organization that rejects war, violence and racism, contends that drone killings fuel terrorism and perpetuate violence rather than deterring it.

Several organizations, including the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Long War Journal (a news website), New America and Bureau of Investigative Journalism, attempt to track the number of drone airstrikes and casualties, but without accurate results, as journalists have limited direct access into how the U.S. government classifies these deaths.

In the U.S., the manufacture of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), has grown in conjunction with the winding down of combat operations, and is predicted to grow with President Donald J. Trump’s demonstrated support of the use of UAVs.

Israel also has a thriving drone manufacturing industry, although the Israeli company, Aeronautics Ltd., currently is under criminal investigation for alleged corruption and purported dealings with the Myanmar military, which is accused of ethnic cleansing for its treatment of the Rohingyas.

—Elaine Pasquini


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