Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

October 2, 2012

LION AND THE LAMB: Waging war and peace today

CROSSVILLE — Living in the center of a vast world empire, it's often hard for us to keep up on what's going on in the outer parts of our empire. We do know that our nation has a large fleet of drones in the skies all over the world, keeping watch on what's going on below and eliminating those deemed a threat to our empire.

In addition, we've found this a way to save American lives. The operators of these drones, many of whom work from consoles in the U.S., don't have to risk their lives in their daily jobs of fighting terrorists and troublemakers. They can go home safe and sound each day to their families.

Occasionally, however, we do get troubling information in this country, such as when we are told that our government's definition of a combatant—and therefore a legitimate target for death by drone—is any military-age male in a strike zone.

A recently released study, "Living Under Drones," by human rights researchers at Stanford and New York Universities has brought us new and troubling information about the impact of our nation's drone program in Pakistan. The study, based on nine months of documentation and media reporting, provides firsthand testimony of the tremendously damaging impact that our nation's drone program has had on civilian life in Pakistan.

The report states that the number of "high level" targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low, estimated at just two percent. In the 98 percent there have been family income earners, students studying for needed occupations, and community leaders. The drone strikes have brought great housing and property damage, economic hardship, and emotional trauma for the survivors. The continual presence of drones in the sky above have led to constant and severe fear, anxiety, and stress, especially in a setting where those on the ground are unable to ensure their own safety.

Specifically targeted by drones are community gatherings such as town meetings, funerals, and family reunions. Often after these first strikes come second strikes at the same location, targeting first aid responders and friends, neighbors, and relatives who have come to help. As a result, people are hesitant to approach the site. Parents are also hesitant to let their children leave the house, and many of these children have nightmares at night. A large number of schools have closed and in those that are still open, students exhibit a diminished drive to study.

Researchers found multiple examples of post-traumatic stress disorder among the population. General community trust and cohesiveness have decreased significantly. Overall, life in Pakistan is becoming less communal and more individualistic. It is apparent that there will be many troubling long-range effects of our drone program in Pakistan and in other parts of our American empire for years to come.

The study concludes that the CIA drone program in Pakistan has not made our nation any safer, and instead has turned the Pakistani public against the U.S. Three-in-four Pakistanis now consider the U.S. their enemy. A 44-page summary of the researchers' report can be obtained by googling "Living Under Drones."

A number of critics of our wars in Yemen and Pakistan have commented that our nation's justice values have been "radically altered" and that we now have a foreign policy of trial by execution. The power of Congress has morphed into the "derogation to the executive of the power to strike at any nation at any time for any reason." No longer do we need an arrest process, a reading of charges, a trial by jury, a judge—only an executioner. The U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings has said that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan threaten 50 years of international law.

It would be interesting to hear this point debated by Mitt Romney, a Mormon missionary and bishop in the past, and Barack Obama, a lawyer and overseer of the drone program.

Today, October 3, a peace delegation sponsored by Codepink Women for Peace, in age from 23 to 85 and paying their own way, will travel to Pakistan to stand in solidarity for a week with Pakistanis who are suffering from the U.S. foreign policy. The delegation made up of students, doctors, political analysts, veterans, writers, artists, and retirees will meet with drone victim families, lawyers, academics, representatives of major Pakistani political parties, and U.S. officials.

The members of the delegation believe that Americans must do more to stop the killing and work for peace. They want to show Pakistanis that there are Americans calling for an end to the CIA's killer drone strikes and for our government to apologize and compensate the families of innocent victims.

The group is already receiving an outpouring of support from Pakistanis. One respondent said, "I didn't know that there are Americans willing to speak out against your government's policies. Your gesture has helped change my opinion of Americans."

Waging war and waging peace: can these ever be done at the same time, or do they always confront us with an either/or choice?

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014