In most parts of the world children learn the alphabet by association letter A with "Apple" or something innocent. In parts of the world children learn the alphabet by reciting A is for AK-47 and D is for "Drone". USA has emerged as the world largest and most determined practitioner of "play station warfare" in which operators sitting in gaming consoles in Fairfax, Virginia, determine who should live and who should die in parts of the non-white world--particularly Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. While George W Bush started using drones to target al-Qaeda operatives, it was the present President Barack Obama who expanded the scope and intensity of drone attacks. Not a week passes without a drone attack and in each strike scores of civilians are killed and USA has no answer for the large scale destruction of human lives it is causing in parts of the non-White world. The rhetoric of Islamic Terrorism is sometimes deployed to obscure the fact that the victims of the drone attacks are non-white, non-combatants for the most part.
Now there are people who argue that drone attacks are a variant of "targetted assasinations" and Israel is known to have used this method. In the case of Israel we can say that there are mitigating circumastances and even targetted assasinations are launched only after the identity of the chosen victim has been firmly identified. In the case of Israel there has been only one case of mistaken identity so far and Israel uses its field operatives to carry out the strikes. To the best of my knowledge Israel has not used drones though it drops bomb on Gaza whenever its airforce needs target practice. So I ma making out a distiction between targetted killings ordered by the State and massive, extensive and non discriminatory killing by drones. The US constitution does not empower its Commander-in-chief to order the killing of human beings on the presumption that they are "Islamic terrorists". In fact pre-emptive attack is explicitly outlawer by International law. So far nearly 3,000 persons have been killed by drone attacks and over 80% of the victims were civilain non combatants. USA has a term for such casualities" Collateral damage.
USA has been less than honest in its public statements about the casualities of drone warfare. All males from 1 year to 100 years are counted as "terrorists" and by this ingenous calculation declares to the rest of the world that its drones have largely killed terrorists. In fact if USA kills terrorists by the truck load no one will complain, least of all this blogger. However, the vast majority of those killed happen to be combatnats. In fact, George W Bush was far more circumspect in his use of drones and he ordered during the course of 8 years less than a dozen strikes. Now Barack Obama has extended the definition of drone warfare to include suspicious pattern of activity. This expansion in the definition of the policy has resulted in several social gatherings being targetted. The mountain people of Waziristan and Afghanistan being a rumbustious lot often fire their weapons in the air as a sign ofsocial acceptance. This kind of exuberance has often led to the wedding celebrations being targetted. The result large scale death and a devastated society. And Barack Obama had critisised precisely the drone strikes of President Bush during his campaign and now it appears that Obama is Bush on steriods as David Miller observed.
Drone warfare has extended the powers of the US president to each and every part of the world and no one is safe. The lack of accountability in the execution of drone warfare is another disturbing feature. A group of middle level NIA operatives prepare a list of potential targets and there is absolutely no Congressional or political scrutiny over the entire process. I request the US Congress to hold special hearings on Drone Warfare and let the Obama Administration explain to the American people the guidelines on the basis of which targets are delected and the political oversight, if any on the actual process of carrying out the attacks. The drone warfare has turned into a publicity bonanza for the al-qaeds and its affiliates because with each strike the number of potential recruits keeps rising.