Monday, February 25, 2013


{from an April 27, 2009 letter to National Public Radio}
Thank you for your insightful 4-27-09 NPR report that included Pakistan’s reaction to the U.S. use of Predator drones in their country.  The claim was made by a former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, that our drone attacks increase the public support and power of the Taliban in Pakistan.  We in the U.S. should understand why this may be so.  In this part of the Muslim world, honor is often more important than life itself.  Our automated battle tactic is a source of shame.

In our classic cowboy movies, our stars Ronald Reagan and John Wayne would have been appalled at the dishonor of “shooting the bad guy in the back” by machine without warning--without the courage of meeting the enemy face to face.  These drones operate like a hanging judge and lynch mob made mechanical.  The condemned may be terrorists who have sent out suicide bombers who’ve killed also with appalling dishonor—or perhaps the drone’s victims are mothers and children.  The intelligence of the CIA may, or may not, have been accurate.  But as my conservative Republican father has repeated many times: two wrongs never make a right.

That does not matter to the killer drones.   It has to matter to the people of the U.S., or we become a chief perpetrator of terrorism technology ourselves—against the Pakistani nation, in the eyes of the world, and in our own hardened hearts.         Yours truly, Michael McCarthy


From first use in Iraq & Afghanistan, to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and other places little mentioned,  these airborne droids are on a roll, even into our own friendly skies {thus far for surveillance only}.

There is still some current debate about our use of lethal drones, but the necessity of ever more sophisticated weapons of war, and war itself, despite the inevitable deaths of the innocent, is never doubted.

A perpetual Cold War on Terror.  We keep Le Guin’s abused child {see previous Weekly} in a terrible closet, because we won’t answer the Gospel call to be peacemakers.  This closet is cramped and miserable, yet extends all over the world.  It’s built by our consumer society and maintained by our war industry—the suffering of the innocent protects our way of life.

Drones may or may not give a more distant, precise killing, and thereby “save lives” but this presumed success promotes increasing reliance on these facile death machines.  We should know better.  Basic humanity recoils at their shameful devious impunity.  Who orders death by drone, and on what factual basis?  Who knows precisely who needs to die by remote control?  The accusers never have to face the accused, they just blow them away by intercontinental button push.

The drones are a psychic echo of that despicable floating killer robot dispatched from the death star of the Evil Empire, trying to kill Luke Skywalker on the ice planet.  It was so easy to understand in that Star Wars movie.  Why don’t we recognize the evil when it becomes one of our U.S. government’s major foreign policy tools?

Slate Magazine’s 2-21-13 article is subtitled, “Drones, war, and civilian casualties - How unmanned aircraft reduce collateral damage.”
Slate, 10-18-12,  Drones attacks in Libya - An unprecedented expansion of presidential power.

 The detached use of this technology is not without personal consequence.
here were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war.'"
                                                Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, May 2, 2003 {Pope Benedict XVI}

Let us pray, at this time of choosing the next pope,  that the Holy Spirit continues to enlighten our church to open its doors and windows fully to God’s unconditional, nonviolent, merciful love. 

More of my droning on drones.

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