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May 26, 2019

3/28/2019 11:09:00 AM
A moral, ethical, legal issue

Dear Editor:
I want to thank Pastor Mark Williamson for his beautifully expressed comments about the "Fighting Forever" theme of the Veterans Wall at the high school.
This theme is especially disturbing because of the reality it reflects. The U.S. has launched airstrikes, two land invasions, and drone strikes around the world since 9/11 under the auspices of the "war on terror." Violent extremism won't be stopped by "killing bad guys." Instead, we need a strategy to address the reasons people join these dangerous groups in the first place: political instability, unemployment, poverty and fear.
The U.S. is now engaged in a seemingly endless war against "terror"- fighting an ideology rather than a particular nation. Technological advances, including drones, allow individuals to be assassinated and communities to be attacked with little direct risk to the attacking nation. These attacks are shrouded in secrecy, insulating the vast majority of people from the violence that is being carried out in their names.
Armed drones are the tool of choice for this new warfare. These weapons let the U.S. attack in secret, regardless of national borders and without oversight or public debate in the United States. As Jo Becker and Scott Shane of the New York Times reported, the targets for these attacks are selected by the administration from what is sometimes referred to as the "secret kill list."
Drone violence is a moral and ethical issue as much as a legal one. Coming face to face with someone described as an enemy requires a deliberate choice to override a deep human instinct against killing. Drones override this check on lethal violence, making the decision to kill seem more like a videogame than a matter of life and death.
One drone strike instantly radicalizes people against the United States in ways that al Qaeda propaganda never could. Drone assassinations destabilize national and global security. If one government, no matter how powerful, decides it can kill whomever it wants, where and when it wants, what's to stop other countries from deciding they can as well?
Marie L. Baker,

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