To the editor:
Americans have become used to the news that this or that terrorist was killed by a United States drone strike. The news media represents these air attacks as surgical in their precision and without consequence.
To the contrary, the available data paints a much darker picture of our killing program. Among the dead are women, children, and completely unarmed men, some of whom were killed while in a wedding procession. For every targeted individual killed, our strikes kill about 27 others.
In Pakistan’s tribal borderlands, surviving members of the community exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder from the constant strikes which keep children from going to school and family members from attending the funerals of the deceased. Besides the human cost, the pragmatic reality is that these strikes create sympathy for militant groups and anger toward the United States.
These bombings now occur in Pakistan and Yemen, two countries with which we are not at war, flouting international law with no congressional oversight whatsoever.
Myself and the other members of Pax Christi, Rhode Island have sent a letter regarding these concerns to Rhode Island’s congressional delegation. Rather than presenting an alternative to militancy as we withdraw ground forces from Afghanistan, we fear that our foreign policy is destabilizing the area in a way that can only benefit the Taliban and similar groups.
We also call upon all people of conscience to educate themselves about the true nature of our drone program. It is not only unwise policy, it stands opposed to every value enshrined in our founding documents, taught in our schools and preached in our churches.