Long overdue Congressional hearings are underway examining the Administration’s use of drones in the Middle East. An article in The Verge highlights testimony from a Yemini journalist whose village was bombed only six days earlier in order to take out a single man suspected of having ties to al Qaeda. The strike succeeded in killing the suspected terrorist as well as six other people. Imagine that. You drop a bomb into a populated area and there is collateral damage.
An interesting point brought out in the article is that the Obama Administration claims that it uses drones only in cases where it is “unfeasible” to capture a suspect, but the Yemini witness says there was no reason why the alleged terrorist could not have been arrested by local authorities. I imagine this isn’t the first such case.
What is clear from the hearing so far is that part of the intended purpose of drone bombings is to strike fear in the hearts of would be terrorists. “You want to be a terrorist? Okay, but you’re putting your entire village in danger,” goes the thinking. The reality, however, is that it is magnifying the hatred of America among Muslims and it is being used as a recruiting tool by groups like al Qaeda. We seem to be under the delusion that terrorism actually works except when it is used against us.
All you have to do is look at what we are experiencing right here in the U.S. in the days since the Boston Marathon bombings. Dial up FOX News or Limbaugh or Hannity and you’ll get an earful of anti-Muslim hysteria. What we fail to understand is that their conservative counterparts in Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan are doing the exact same thing to stir up anti-American sentiments.
Drone bombings are wrong on many levels, but perhaps the worst consequence of their use is that they are helping plant the seeds of hatred among young Muslims who are growing up watching innocent people being torn apart by American bombs.