On November 13, PCMNY met at the Drone Plinth on the Highline in Manhattan, to protest the use of killer drones that are used by the US military with seeming disregard for accountability or respect for non-combatant life.
We were joined by members of Raging Grannies, War Resistors league and the Manhattan Project for a Nuclear Free World.
The flier included was written by Rosemarie Pace of New York State.
Say NO to Killer Drones –November 13th, 2021 – Pamphlet copy below
Why Military Drones?
Drone technology was mainly invented for use by the military to simplify the military’s engagement on the warfront. Its proponents claim that military drones save lives, military lives that is, primarily because they are often unmanned. They also claim that military drones are less expensive than airplanes, both to purchase and to fuel. They say there is less risk to the hardware of the drones than to airplanes because drones are smaller and fly lower. Because drones are often unmanned, they can operate for longer hours, and it is easy to transfer operation from one operator to another without loss of time. Drone proponents also claim great accuracy in drone use, avoiding civilians and infrastructure while being effectively lethal to enemy combatants. And they prize drones for their use in spying; drones tend to be difficult for the enemy to notice. They are also easy and fast to deploy, saving time to “neutralize” an enemy. (https://grinddrone.com/review/pros-and-cons-of-military-drones)
So Why Say NO to Military (Killer) Drones?
Contrary to the claim that drones save lives, especially if we value ALL lives, not just military lives, U.S. military drones alone have been responsible for the deaths of up to 17,000 people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and elsewhere. Drone pilot and whistleblower Daniel Hale reported that in only a five-month period 90% of drone victims were not those targeted. As we know, just this past August 29th, in Kabul, Afghanistan, a U.S. drone killed 10 members of the Ahmadi family, including 7 children from 2 to 16 years old. Zamadi Ahmadi, apparently the target of the attack, was an aid worker eligible for evacuation as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban. The fact is the drone attacks have repeatedly done indiscriminate harm to the old and the young, women and children. It is clear they are NOT accurate. And even if our sole concern were our own military, veterans and drone pilots have some of the highest suicide rates in the country. How can anyone argue that military drones save lives?
In 2020, a rogue drone autonomously “hunted down” and attacked a human target, perhaps even more horrifying than when drones are being directed with intention. (https://www.businessinsider.com/killer-drone-hunted-down-human-target-without-being-told-un-2021-5)
Military drones not only kill thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians, they injure many more. They terrorize ordinary people living ordinary lives and breed contempt for the U.S. and worse. The targets are generally people of color and Muslims, making the use of military drones racist, unethical, and immoral, a humanitarian crisis, not just a military one.
In addition, military drones deny those who actually are guilty the opportunity to surrender and the right to a jury trial. They encourage other nations to follow suit in using them, proliferating this form of lethal warfare. And they have the potential to create in the operators a video-game mentality toward what is anything but a game.
The legality of military drones is also in question. Their use is not specifically regulated under international law. But their use is governed by general rules of international law…. Depending on their specific features, the use of armed drones, both military grade and weaponized civilian drones, poses a series of challenges to implementation of these rules. (https://www.genevacall.org/humanitarian-concerns-raised-by-the-use-of-armed-drones/)
Finally, rather than being low cost, military drones are becoming increasingly expensive due to the growing price of research and materials.
Then What Can We Do?
Learn more at the websites already cited as well as https://bankillerdrones.org/.
Sign this Roots Action petition calling for an international treaty banning weaponized drones: act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6180.
Read about Daniel Hale’s case here: https://dandwithdanielhale.org/.
Sign these two petitions in support of Daniel Everette Hale.
Write letters using this guide produced by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines: http://www.icbl.org/en-gb/resources/campaigning-tools/lobbying-letters.aspx.
This leaflet was prepared for Pax Christi NYS and Pax Christi Metro NY