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Drone Warfare: An International War Crime

Friday 10 April 2009

Drone Warfare: An International War Crime

Professor Sam Hamod, Ph.D.

"As Easter is upon us, it is a time to meditate upon moral matters." Reverend Scott

Drones do not allow people the right to explain themselves.

Drones do not offer any proof of the guilt, they simply attack alleged “terrorists.”

Drones do not take any prisoners, the drones simply kill people.

After the drones have killed civilians, women and children, and possibly some people who want American, NATO, Israeli, Russian or other troops out of their country, the victims are labeled as “Terrorists.”

We have come to a time when the brutality of ancient warfare is being repeated—do not negotiate for peace, do not solve problems, do not allow people to explain anything, just SIMPLY KILL THEM. If this shows America to be a Democratic, civilized Christian society, then somehow we’ve lost what it is to be Christian and certainly our drones do not show a democratic way of behavior. Our drones say for us, “We are here to kill you because we think you an enemy and we don’t care what you say. We have made a decision based on what we think, regardless of any facts that may or not be relevant; you are to die from our guns and missiles, now. Our standards of warfre are sufficient for us, and we don’t want you to quote Jesus to us or Lincoln’s words after the Civil War or the words we heard in Sunday School or in our Christian churches, we have our military code and we shall follow it to your death.”

This type of American warfare in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and Israeli drone warfare in Palestine and Lebanon, is a violation of the human rights of the people of those countries. Far too often our drones or Israeli drones have attacked groups of people saying they were “militants” or “terrorists” and it turned out to be a wedding, a family gathering, social or agricultural groups meeting—not “terrorists” at all. Russian drones have done the same in Chechnia.

The Pakistani government has asked America to stop these types of attacks and call the drones off, but to no avail under Bush nor under Obama. Karzai, our appointed puppet in Afghanistan has also said the same thing, “America is making more enemies this way than solving any problems or making any progress.” Yet, America carries on with these heinous war crimes. In Iraq, the same has been true for years, if not the drones, then their mercenary counterpart, Blackwater—take no prisoners, simply kill the “terrorists” (once again, they are people who want us out of their country). The Lebanese and Palestinian governments have taken this to the UN, but to no avail.

America is responsible for thousands of deaths through this “drone warfare.” Yet, no one has called it what it is, An International War Crime because in so many cases civilians were killed without adjudication, without proof and without justification—with the U.S. Military continually saying, “They were militants.” Let us grant that some may have been militants, but America has gotten into the habit of calling anyone who resists our occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, “terrorists.” Yet, these people are the citizens of the country, and in both cases, over 70% of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan want us out of their country. We are there by our own design, we were not invited in by anyone. We are the one’s who are the “outsiders” who want to dominate those countries. We say that there are “terrorists there that we must root out before they come to attack America,” but any sane and intelligent person knows that in traditional societies and especially in Muslims societies, when you kill one person in a family, his whole tribe now becomes your enemy, not simply his immediate family. And, when you kill in the name of “democracy” with such weapons as drones, the word “democracy” and its counterpart, “freedom,” become a cruel joke.

What is worse is that people such as Bush, Gates,Petraus and Obama, call themselves Christians, and yet behave in this unChristian way and continue to justify this type of killing. The same can be said of the rabbis in Israel who say, "To kill an Arab is allowed, no matter how you kill him, for the sake of Israel"—all with no proof, no trial, just killing in the name of a religion, but not following the tenets of Judaism.

How can Muslims not see this as hypocritical on behalf of political and financial gain, not for Christianity, Judaism and democracy? How can they not see this drone warfare as a war crime? How can any honest Christian or Jew anywhere in the world not see this as a war crime? How can any honest jurist at the International Criminal Court at the Hague see this as anything but a war crime, for it flouts all Geneva Conventions and any civilized sense of warfare where the alleged enemy is given a chance to explain himself or herself, to find a solution or even to surrender—but in Drone Warfare perpetrated by the U.S. and other countries, such as Israel and Russia, there is only killing, often of civilians, with no proof or justification; thus, this is an international war crime and the leaders who perpetrate these crimes should be held accountable for them.

It is time to call a spade a spade and not to allow this to go on. Too often in the past we’ve allowed war crimes to continue by slipping into semantic euphemisms, such as, when bombing areas and killing hundreds of civilians, to use Kissinger’s heinous phrase, “collateral damage.” Let us throw these phrases out with the denial we use when hearing our leaders praise our newest technological marvel, “Drone Warfare.”

This behavior will lead us down the road to perdition, it will make more enemies for us in the world, and this behavior will eventually lead to some of the victims or their relatives finding ways to attack America and its allies, including our civilians, in retaliation for the horror we have visited upon them, their families, their homes and their countries.

It is time for us to rethink our behavior as Americans, it is time for America to truly become a moral leader and to stop this immoral, illegal behavior---- if not, then all of what we said we stood for, and our future as a nation and as a people is lost.

C: Sam Hamod, April 9, 2009

Professor Sam Hamod, Ph.D. has written extensively on world affairs in numerous forms of media; he is also the founder and editor of Third World News in Washington, DC. He may be reached at drsamhamod@gmail.com

Forum posts

  • The problem is not the drones killing targeted terrorists, the problem is not killing enough of them. In addition the terrorist safe havens of northern Pakistan should be attacked until local tribal chiefs turn on Al Quada themselves. The area has never been under the control of the Pakistan government since that country was formed. Pakistan has no sovereign control over it.

    You cannot negotiate with these muslim madmen nor should you. Innocents die in war, that does not mean we must be pacifists. Islam is the aggressor, restarting a war they started in the 700s’ AD. It has heated up since the 1960s’, long before 9/11, but we ignored it.

    Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with israel. This is a religious war Islam declared centuries ago. We should finish them off like we did the Nazis demanding unconditional surrender.

    • dear sir or madam, 4.10.09 late night
      I’m sorry that you feel killing innocent people is o.k.
      I guess my old fashioned sense of morality and humanity is not fitting for people like you; the Muslims are defending their families, their homes and their country, the Americans and Israelis are the ones doing the attacking and with drones so that there is no way to know who is guilty and who is innocent when the drones attack.

      i stand by my article, that the use of drones is an international war crime, with the u.s.a. and israel being among those most guilty of this war crime.

      sincerely,
      dr. sam hamod

    • Dear Dr. Hamod!

      I have read your translation of the "Message from Colonel Mu’ummar Qaddafi" this morning.

      My heart aches for him and Libyans.

      I’ve seen the same (or similar) scenario in my country ex-Yugoslavia.
      We had free education, free housing, and free medial and dental care.
      Not anymore.

      What we have now is American ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’.

      The realisation that most of the people are just blind to the truth is excruciatingly painful to me. Even more so is the feeling of powerlessness… I am just a “little guy”.