Friday, October 25, 2013

Blog 7: US drone Strikes in Yemen and Pakistan

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have released reports that chronicle U.S. drone strikes killing civilians in both Yemen and Pakistan. Together the reports maintain that in multiple strikes in each nation, innocent civilians were killed. Both groups claim that the uses of these drone strikes violate international war crimes law. The Pakistani foreign ministry is in agreement and has released an announcement stating "The government of Pakistan believes drone strikes are against international law and the sovereignty of Pakistan". The United States, however says that they are clear of any wrong doing and that drone strikes are necessary to counter terrorism efforts.  Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch counter this claim saying that these attacks that have killed civilians have created a culture of fear rivaling that of the fear of terrorists.

Ultimately, if the use of drones has killed many civilians in multiple incidents, it would seem that the US is violating international law. This is because the Geneva conventions state that civilians are under protection from attack and inhumane treatment. It is inhumane for a group of people going about their day to day lives being attacked and killed or maimed by a missile overhead. The United States is a signer of the Geneva Conventions and as such should uphold its values. More importantly, by killing innocent people these attacks have created violations of the basic human right to life. The use of drones also exemplifies the change in means of war. This is an example of the more recent development of total warfare as the strikes are a surprise strike which is vastly different than the limited warfare of the past. Nonetheless, the culture of fear that the strikes create are counterproductive. The point of the war against terror is supposed to free the world from needless violence and fear, not create it. Plus if a major power like the United States gives the ok to use drones that is to say that any other country isn’t justified in using them for their own purposes?

Nicole Egna
9:30 am

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