Too much death

TW: drone strikes, islamophobia

Let’s talk about drone strikes for a minute. For personal reasons, this is going to be a comparatively brief post. It’s important to note, in any case, that the US Senate is conducting hearings on the drone policies of the (Bush and) Obama administration, which included testimony by a man born and initially raised in a Yemeni village which was struck by a US drone. His testimony is poignant and impacting, so I urge you to give Farea al-Muslimi a listen:

But I think one important thing is to examine how his argument is understood in a wider context. The article that I initially came across which discussed his testimony worryingly focuses on the section where al-Muslimi explained, “What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: There is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.” Naturally enough, that’s the pull quote for a blog focused on the plight of Julian Assange, rather than Private Manning.

It’s important to note that al-Mulimi also explained, “My village was struck by an American drone in an attack that terrified the region’s poorest farmers” and so they now experience “terror [which] they feel from the drones that hover over their heads, ready to fire missiles at any time.” Does the invalidity of the use of drones rest on its ineffectiveness or on its inhumanity?

(The aftermath of a drone strike in Yemen in September 2012, from here. The Yemeni government claims 13 civilians were killed, while the US government claims it was instead six islamist militants.)

Maybe it’s not enough to view the drone strikes as bad, but instead to criticize the underlying assumptions behind them, with regard to the worth and dignity of the lives of Muslims?

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