The Drony War

My Hairdresser’s husband pilots drones as his hobby. He enjoys his retirement joining a community of fans who buy, customise, and fly their drones just for fun. These flying machines have embedded cameras which allow for taking photographs and videos, from no altitude to 200-300 meters. Flight duration is usually short, dozens of minutes maximum, due to battery constraints (weight and cost). Regulations are coming in France to protect privacy and confidentiality of citizens. It can’t be allowed to spy your neighbours in their own garden, or even to look for your daugther who is late in coming back home from a Sunday party.

Drones from the US defense are not similar in kind nor in purpose. They have other targets too. You may read WikipediA regarding drone attacks in Pakistan. You’ll see updated statistics about them. Initiated by Bush administration, with 52 strikes reported by the  Bureau of Investigative Journalism, they have been continued and reinforced during President Obama current terms, with 318 strikes (as of July 2013). They have killed between 2,548 and 3,549 people according to sources (2,830 casualities according to the  New America Foundation), among them 411 to 890 civilians (286 according to US sources), with 168 to 197 children reported killed. It is a tragedy. It is a scandal. These indiscriminate attacks must cease, particularly when they come from an allied nation against a country without any context of prior war declaration.

Imran Khan, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, a leader of opposition, is a strong activist against these coward, indiscriminate and deadly strikes. He runs the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. He mentions what I named the Drony War, in his excellent essay “Pakistan, A Personal History” (available on Amazon.com), I read it recently thanks to a former MPH student who kindly gave it to me. Imran Khan and his party have organized this last Saturday in London, a protest march against drone attacks, conducted between Downing Street and the US emabassy (read more on it with video).

Drone attacks are supposed to specifically target terrorrists in remote and dangerous areas in Pakistan or elsewhere. The point is that these high tech flying machines, which benefit from accurate updated intelligence data, driven from Pentagone at DC, sometimes miss their target (about once out of three), and kill innocent people from rural areas. Aren’t these “collateral damage“, as they are officially named, depiscable? Will they be classified tomorrow as crimes against humanity? Can we remain silent today facing these new war practices? “You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs” tend to repeat officials and politicians in the USA, minimizing unwanted losses and calling instead for our support and solidarity in the complex war against terrorism. But how effective are these attacks? They are for sure considered as repeated humiliations by target populations in these rural and secluded areas. They most probably feed hate against our western world, including among people who were not initially sympathetic for Talibans and other fundamentalists in these trouble areas at the borders of Afghanistan. These poor people are suffering from decades to continuous attacks performed by leading world powers, starting with the Soviet Union, and now with NATO and US forces.

This war has no name, and its warriors have no human faces. It must cease. We must call for a total ban on those drones used for wars. One day, will our Western cities be flight over with drones from ennemies? Indiscriminate ennemies? Unidentified ennemies? Will our children be threatened in their very school playground, as are currently those living in these remote villages from West Pakistan? “Now I prefer cloudy days when the drones don’t fly. When the sky brightens and becomes blue, the drones return and so does the fear” said Zubair, when he was 12 yr, at the US Congress (published in The Independent). Is it acceptable that anywhere there are children today prefering foggy days rather than sunny blue sky, just because our allied friends have targeted their villages where they hoped to live in peace, but can’t be anymore?

Let’s call for ceasing this Drony War! Let’s call for a total ban on drones used as weapons!

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