Today, Brave New Foundation released a short video documenting religious leaders coming out against the use of Just War Theory to defend President Obama’s drone policy.
Franciscan Friar Joe Nangle said it well:
"How can we hold our heads high when remote-controlled, killer aircraft like drones are raining death and destruction on populations half a world away from our borders, on women, men and children who pose no threat to our safety and well-being."
Rev. Dr. Paul F.M. Zahl said "The use of remote-controlled drones to assassinate targeted persons without charge, trial, or even at least the chance to surrender is about as un-Christian a maneuver as I can imagine."
March 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Over the weekend, Robert Greenwald, founder and director of Brave New Foundation, spent some time on the Ed Schultz radio show to reflect on the occasion.
The two recalled how the mainstream media failed to critically examine the narratives pushed by the Bush administration regarding weapons of mass destruction. With high profile leaks coming from inside the White House, the media should have spent more time questioning the reliability of the information and less time printing and broadcasting it as fact.
Once the truth came out about WMDs, we collectively vowed to never let it happen again. However, as we find ourselves in the midst of a shadowy drone war that has killed at least 178 children as well as an ongoing war against whistleblowers, we have to ask ourselves, have we really learned from the lessons of Iraq? Click the link to hear the discussion.
The U.S. House drone caucus is becoming an increasingly popular topic as the U.S. government looks to unmanned aerial vehicles for solutions to its problems at home and abroad. The technological advancements displayed by UAVs are undeniably impressive, but the motives behind them are questioned, mostly by privacy advocates for now. Continual pressure on the federal government from drone manufacturers and their defenders in Congress to open U.S. airways to drones helped push the passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, which was signed earlier this year.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, heralded as the leading authority for drone-strike casualty numbers by the recent report entitled Living Under Drones by Stanford and NYU researchers, reports 178 children have died in Yemen and Pakistan as a result of U.S. drone strikes. War Costs has produced a video and report on the topic.
Please consider joining us in our appeal to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives to reintroduce H. Res. 819, which calls for more accountability and transparency for U.S. Drone policy.
Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi,
H. Res. 819 calls for the release of the legal justification of U.S. drone strikes that have killed civilians in targeted areas, as numerous reports have detailed.
Please reintroduce this bill to the House floor this month, as too much of U.S. government's drone policy is kept secret from Congress and the American people.
During my recent trip to Pakistan as part of our upcoming documentary film, Drones Exposed, I was struck most by the stories told to me by children who had experienced a U.S. drone strike firsthand. The impact of America’s drone war in the likes of Pakistan and Yemen will linger on, especially for the loved ones of the 178 children killed in those countries by U.S. drone strikes.
The Obama administration maintains that drone strikes are precise, yet hundreds of innocent people have died in drone attacks. This is a clear disconnect between what we're being told and what we're finding. It's time for a deeper investigation; the evidence doesn't match the claims.
"I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties…. For the most part, they have been very precise, precision strikes against al- Qaeda and their affiliates. And we are very careful in terms of how it's been applied."
- President Obama, January 2012
I have interviewed many people over the years of doing documentaries. Currently in Pakistan filming with victims of drone attacks (ahead of the film, follow my trip at warcosts.com, Facebook and Twitter), I have never had a more haunting and harrowing experience than looking into the eyes of person after person, children and adults, and hearing them talk about their homes, villages and families destroyed by drone attacks. The pain is palpable, their fear still radiates. And even a question about the CIA sets off terror alerts in peoples' eyes.
So, yes, a candidate for president talks about drones in detail, with great awareness about how they are counterproductive to United States security concerns. Problem is, the candidate is running for president of Pakistan.
In March 2009, I went to Kabul as part of my work on Brave New Foundation’s documentary Rethink Afghanistan. My trip was an effort to understand the realities of life in an unrelenting warzone, and to find voices that weren’t yet heard eight years after U.S. forces invaded the country. In the same spirit, I am going to Pakistan to investigate what life is like for those living under drones.