Posts Tagged ‘drones’

Innocent Blood drones from the Ground

October 31, 2013

About a year ago, October 24, 2012, a 67-year old midwife grandmother was slain when an American drone death machine struck her to the ground. She had been gathering okra to feed her grandchildren.

This happened in Waziristan, Pakistan.

Momina Bibi’s grandchildren were standing nearby: 13-year-old Zubair Rehman, and his 9-year-old sister, Nabila. They saw, heard and felt the whole thing.

Now a year later, on Tuesday of this week, October 29, Congressman Alan Grayson conducted a Congressional hearing to discover more facts about the killing. Five Congressman and a few other people present heard testimony from the children, and their father, Rafiq Rehman, son of the deceased Momina Bibi.

So in Washington, two days ago, in the Sam Rayburn building, Rafiq and his children explained to Alan Grayson,  and to our nation and to the world, what had happened in that okra field back in Pakistan a year ago.  Rafiq testified to us that his mother was dead, but he could not say why.

Neither can I say why. How about you?

When I heard about this, I was reminded of an old scripture:

And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’

And he said, ‘I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?’

And the Lord said, ‘What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.’

Now here is the 21st-century version of homo sapiens‘ depravity scenario:

And Uncle Sam watched over a grandmother of Pakistan who was picking okra in the field. And it came to pass that Uncle Sam shot off a drone against the old woman, and slew her.

And a year later, the Congressman raised the question to Uncle Sam, ‘Where is this innocent Pakistani woman?’

And Uncle Sam said: ‘I know not: Am I a Pakistani okra-gathering grandmother’s keeper?’

Now  this American citizen (I), hearing of it, said, ‘What the hell hath our Uncle Sam done over there in Pakistan? The voice of this woman’s blood crieth unto me, and yeah, even unto the Lord, from the ground.’

It was not so much the news report of this killing that caught my ear, but rather:

the cry of Momina’s innocent blood from the ground, half a world away.

Glass half-Full

What about Drones?

February 7, 2013

President Obama’s nomination of John Brennan for Secretary of Defense has prompted nationwide discussion on the use of unmanned aircraft, or “drones” for limited warfare, intelligence gathering, and surveillance.

The issues surrounding use of these machine should be examined by the American people. We need to deal with the moral and human rights questions that are now being brought forth from many concerned citizens and Congress. We should make ourselves aware of how these drones are used presently, and how further applications in law enforcement and defense will change the administration of justice both at home and abroad.

My impression as a citizen of the United States is that these devices are being used mostly in military strategies under the auspices of the Defense department, but that the CIA is refining their use for surveillance and intelligence gathering. It is plausible and (knowing how technology spreads) possible that domestic agencies such as FBI, Homeland Security, ATF, FEMA, etc are seeking legal authority for law enforcement intelligence gathering and surveillance on the home front.

Here are a few questions in my mind so far that need to be dealt with:

~ Can precise use of drones really minimize and reduce collateral damage and loss of innocent civilian life in warfare?

~ Are drone assassinations a more humane way to eliminate terrorists and criminals than traditional means?

~ Who makes the decision, and on what information basis, about who is to be targeted?

~ Will target selection by military personnel and law enforcement officials amount to elimination of due process of law for the person(s) targeted?

~ What are the long-range implications for constitutional rights, such as trial by jury, and the old principle of “innocent until proven guilty”?

These questions are what stuck in my mind after listening, this morning, to a very informative panel discussion on the Diane Rehm Show, National Public Radio. If you have an hour to explore this important topic, I recommend you listen to this analysis as presented by guest-host Tom Gjelten and other informed participants.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress