“Does the US really want to tell those of us in the rest of the world that our lives are not of the same value as yours?” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
A couple of years ago Americans asked a profound question – “Why do they hate us?” This question was asked immediately after the horrible 9/11 terrorists attacks on the United States. Yet, as we are asking why they hate us, other nations all over the world especially in developing countries are asking – “Why doesn’t our humanity count?”
Many developing countries have long held unto the belief that their humanity doesn’t measure up to that Americans, but our current drone policy has finally confirmed their presupposition. The foreign policy of drone attacks has killed many innocent people in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Kenya, and Ethiopia. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from 2004 to 2012 drone strikes have killed between 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, 474-881 of whom were civilians, including 176 innocent children.
No doubt these drone strikes have succeeded in killing terrorists like Anwar al-Awlaki and many more but the fact that drone strikes are killing more innocent civilians than terrorists should suggest to our nation’s leaders that these ceaseless tsunami of drone strikes need to stop. Even the United Nations has concluded that U.S. drone strikes is a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. Yet despite their cry for human dignity and the right to live, we continue to bombard them with heavenly strikes of drone attacks.
Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster of CIA’s Chief confirmation (John Brennan) in the U.S. Senate sends a shocking message to the rest of the world, and confirms our indifference to the plight of ordinary people who are losing their loved ones to drone attacks. Senator Paul, along with other senators, wanted to ensure that Brennan would not use drone attacks on American soil, believing that this type of behavior would be unconstitutional. But the same Senators have been silent on the insufferable pain of the people of Pakistan and all other places where our drone strikes have wrecked havoc.
As long as we continue to function on autopilot toward the rest of the world in our foreign policy, we will always create more enemies than we can kill. And as the leader of the free world we have the moral obligation to let the same moral values that shape our local policies, shape our policies toward our countries. Such practices will truly reinforce our values of freedom, democracy, equality, and justice.