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Drone Strikes: Silent But Deadly

Back ground information about me and my issue:

 

As I said in the video, my name is Zawwar and I am a Pakistan currently living in Jakarta, Indonesia, pictured below. I go to an international school and am constantly surrounded by so many different types of people. Because of this, I’ve been lucky enough to gain knowledge about issues that affect more than those covered in the news and my world views have always been able to be kept in perspective. With that in mind, my page is dedicated to an issue that I have been following for some time and I hold very personally, Drone Strikes. Specifically, I will be focusing on the United States drone strike policy compared to other countries and my hope is that by the end of this page, you will see that it must be changed. However, before I continue, I feel it is nessacary to provide some background information on exactly what drone strikes are and how this has become an issue.

Do you support the USA’s current system of launching drone strikes

Yes
No
Not enough information to decide

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Since 2004, the US has been practicing in a new kind of clandestine military operation. The justification for using drones to take out enemy targets is initially appealing because it removes the risk of losing American military, it’s much cheaper than deploying soldiers and it is politically much easier to manoeuvre (i.e. flying a drone vs. sending troops). It takes the conflict out of sight, out of mind. However, recent statistics show the success rate is extremely low and the cost on civilian lives and the general well-being of the population is very high. When untargeted civilians are involved within a drone strike, they are given the term “collateral damage”. This project helps to bring light on the topic of drones.
If you would like a greater understanding of this issue, the link below gives a good visual representation of the issue of drone strikes. Drone strikes used by the US are targeted at many different countries and even though this website is just focused on one, it is personally one of the best websites I have found on the issue:
http://drones.pitchinteractive.com/
The issue:
While there are many questionable aspects to the US drone policy, the most prevalent is a lack of regulation. For most issues, the USA represents the best of democracy and a true model in terms of checks and balances. This couldn’t be further from the case when it comes to drone strikes. Firstly, the information available about drone strikes is extremely limited. Number such as how exactly how many people have been killed, who is on the target list and how those people are evaluated in not available to the public or even most of the government. The United States government has said in the past that everyone targeted by drone strikes present a “imminent threat” to the United States however,  there has been no clear definition of what qualifies as an imminent threat. Additionally, there is no public knowledge about any type of committee to check the actions of whoever orders a drone strike, meaning those in charge can theoretically strike anyone without consequence. Whether or not you are directly affected by drone strikes, the system surrounding it represents the opposite ideals that America was founded upon and that, everyone should take interest in. The video below is of talk show host Jon Oliver doing s segment on Drone Strikes and while his show it technically a comedy show and very clearly politically biased, that fact that it was the only major segment done on drone strikes for a long period of time goes to show the lack of coverage about the issue.
Initiate change:
With a new president in Donald Trump, it is unclear what the future trend for drone strikes will be however the only chance for the system surrounding it to be fixed must come from the citizens. There has to be more public outcry against the way drone strikes are conducted. There is little attention given to drone strikes by the media and the mass public so that has to change in order for this system to be checked. I think the best way to do this is to create an emotional connection to the victims of the drone strikes. While I dont have direct access to drone strike victims there is a project called the “American Prospect” which is dedicated to taking testimonials of some of these drone strike victims. So of their testimonies are below.
Zubair Rehman was 13 years old when his village in northern Pakistan was struck by drones, his grandmother, an untargeted civilian, died in the attack and was considered collateral damage. This is a section of the testimony he gave in front of congress and a description of the events:

“As they(drones) hovered lower than usual, drones were particularly loud that day. In that part of Pakistan’s tribal region, even two-year-olds can recognize the unmistakable thrum.Snapped out of his thoughts, Zubair saw two light rays strike Dadi(grandmother). A wave of heat knocked him off his feet. The smell of burning electric wires and burning flesh invaded his nostrils. A searing pain ripped through his leg. Shrapnel had lodged itself above Zubair’s knee. His thigh felt like it was on fire.

Terrified, Zubair’s siblings and cousins inside the house scampered outside when they heard the explosion. As the children watched, a few minutes later another missile struck near the same spot. A total of nine children were injured in the attack.”

Zubair gave this statement in congress:

“I no loner love blue skies…I now prefer grey skies because the drones do not fly when the skies are grey and more a moment, I am at peace”

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 This testimony,the first time the U.S. body has heard directly from the victims of drone strikes in Pakistan, in many ways represents a larger issue about the effect that drones have on the victims. On the surface, drone strikes are meant to efficiently combat terrorist groups and high target radicalists however, at its core, drone strikes are meant to be a tool to stop terrorism in general and this is where the argument shifts. New research shows that many terrorist organizations like Al-Queda and ISIS use drone strikes as a method of recruitment. For those who have lost loved ones or friends in drone strikes, many terrorist Organizations play on their emotions and sympathy in order to use their anger to join their organizations. The graphic below depicting the relationship between # of drone strikes and the # of terrorist attacks proves this point as even though drone strikes have increased, so have terrorist attacks.
Finally, I would be very grateful if you could fill out the exit survey below:
After reading this information, do you support the USA’s current drone strike system

Yes
No
Still not enough information to decide

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