Dear Friends for Life: Have you ever considered “The Morality” of Drone Warfare? Is the means justified when innocent human life is at stake? Recently religious leaders have begun to question the morality of drone strikes. For example: the aggressive use of drones in Afghanistan, Pakisan and other countries are killing innocent civilians in a way that is obscene and immoral. Could this be “premeditated murder”?
Drones are operated remotely via satellite. One operator flies the machine, another monitors its cameras and sensors, and a third communicates with commanders in the combat zone half a world away.
Even in a war, soldiers are held responsible for killing innocent civilians. Regard drones, who is accountable? The military calls it “collateral damage”, maybe another term for “premeditated murder”? Knowing that there will be civilian deaths. The only unknown factor is “How Many?” Why does the military with its tremendous power still find it necessary to kill innocent families with small children to attain its end? This amounts to summary execution. Is such killing morally defensible – enforcing a death sentence with no due process?
Quoting from a report in the New York Times: “Mr. Plaw, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, considered four studies of drone deaths in Pakistan that estimated the proportion of civilian victims at 4 percent, 6 percent, 17 percent and 20 percent respectively. But even the high-end count of 20 percent was considerably lower than the rate in other settings, he found. When the Pakistani Army went after militants in the tribal area on the ground, civilians were 46 percent of those killed. In Israel’s targeted killings of militants from Hamas and other groups, using a range of weapons from bombs to missile strikes, the collateral death rate was 41 percent, according to an Israeli human rights group.”
Religious leaders have an obligation to question the morality of such warfare. Questions being consider: Are lethal drones sufficiently capable of distinguishing between civilians and combatants? Why is the rate of civilian casualties so alarmingly high? Do military drones cause more civilian casualties than traditional military methods? Are drones likely to accomplish these goals or does their use create more hostility and serve as a recruiting tool for terrorist extremists? Why are there so many young people wanting to join the ISIS?
The use of lethal military drones raises questions of conscience for the religious community. As people of faith, we must advocate a just peace based on human dignity and human rights for all. It is time to call for an immediate halt to lethal drone strikes.
Pope Francis has said that, “War is madness” and warns that perhaps World War III has already begun, “one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.” The Hebrew Bible states, and the New Testament affirms, “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:15, I Peter 3:11)
Why is ” drone warfare ” an urgent moral issue now? by Bishop Richard E Pates
Living Under Drones: Victim Stories
Jerry Novotny, OMI
(The Difference is LIFE): “No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it.” – St. Maximilian Kolbe
Websites by Fr. Jerry
(English) Fr. Jerry’s Blog
Japan-lifeissues.net (in Japanese)
Fr. Jerry’s Blog (in Japanese)