“We love America, we want to go there.” Those were the words of the Afghanistan country director for Nutrition and Education International. That person made that statement under anonymity out of fear of the Taliban, AFTER a U.S. drone strike murdered their friend.
For twenty years, the United States military occupied the country of Afghanistan along with other coalition forces in an attempt to combat terrorism. Operation Enduring Freedom sought to create a stable democratic government in the region, but on October 7th 2001, when the war began, something else was unleashed upon the world.
On that day, the first official drone strike in recorded history was performed. An unmanned predator drone launched two hellfire missiles over Kandahar in an attempt to kill Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. A pile of bodies and rubble was left behind, but not the corpse of the terrorist leader.
This is an all too common reality for many of the drone strikes performed by the U.S. military. Moving at high speeds, while trying to spot a human sized ground target, is difficult. Attempting to differentiate between different human sized targets is next to impossible.
“The truth is that we could not differentiate between armed fighters and farmers, women, or children.” Those were the words of military whistleblower Lisa Lang when discussing drone strike warfare. As a reader, please stop and think about what that means.
Our government has been executing people in foreign nations haphazardly in an attempt to execute individuals they have deemed a threat to our nation. This behaviour isn’t exclusive to the United States, of course. Coalition forces the world over have engaged in drone strikes in a number of nations that lack the ability to defend themselves from such attacks.
On October 20th 2011 Mu`ammar Muħammad Abū Minyār Al-Qadhdhāfī convoy was struck by NATO forces. Officials at the time were unsure if it was a french plane, or a U.S. Drone strike that had targeted the leader of Libya. They didn’t even know who had fired upon opposition forces in 2011.
Our governments are waging war on our behalf, and they have absolutely no idea who they are firing on. They are literally guessing based on grainy footage from a camera on an aircraft traveling hundreds of miles per hour. In the words of comedic legend Ron White, “And they’re shitty guessers.”
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The final drone strike of the Afghan war didn’t kill a terrorist. It didn’t wipe out a terrorist cell. It didn’t strike Isis K, nor did it hammer the Taliban. No, that last Drone strike killed Zemari Ahmadi (43), his three children Zamir (20), Faisal (16), and Farzad(10). Mr. Ahmadi’s cousin’s Naser (30) Arwin (7), Benyamin (6), and his niece Hayat (2) were also killed in the blast along with two 3-year-old girls Malika, and Somaya who were near the site of the blast when the missile struck.
The very next day, a vehicle that matches the description of Mr. Ahmadi’s fired an improvised rocket from its trunk at the Kabul airport. That attack was later claimed by ISIS. They literally mixed up their targets and killed innocent people attempting to stop terrorists before they could carry out their plan.
That is ineptitude of an unacceptable level from our armed services. What if it was your family on the ground? What if the Chinese, or Russian military patrolled our skies, and carried out drone strikes on American citizens for suspicious behaviour? Would that be acceptable to any of us?
What if those very governments took away your loved one? What if it wasn’t Mr. Ahmadi’s children, but yours? What if it wasn’t Naser, but cousin Bobby, Jésus, or Andre? Would we be ok with guesses based on grainy camera footage from a fast moving aircraft?
How many terrorists have they created with this behavior? How many people actively fight against our government because, for the past twenty years, they have been taking guesses at who their targets are? This isn’t an excuse for terrorism, but we can’t deny that any of us would take up arms against a foreign government haphazardly killing our loved ones.
It’s time we demand our government’s practice accuracy in their warfare. Bombing civilian populated areas based on the camera footage of a fast moving aircraft is not something we can stand beside. Neither is it a strategy that will lead to anything other than a blind world.