It is rather chilling that 66% of the country supports drones strikes. It is chilling not only because of the seeming willingness to be in perpetual war and the lack of public discourse about the cost and consequence of perpetual war (or the lives lost), but because it is a stark reminder how all lives are not imagined as equal. Imani Perry got me thinking about imagining or dreaming alternatives this morning. Imagine if the media focused less on polls and more about educating/informing the public about the destruction of drones. Imagine if they reported the words of Shahzad Akbar (from article that Scahill quote is from), a Pakistani attorney, who reminded the American public, “Drone victims are not just figures on a piece of paper, they are real people and that’s why it is important to see what happens on the ground when a missile hits a target. We have to see what exactly is happening on the ground, what is happening to the people.” Imagine if polls would take place after watching a video from Jeremy Scahill, who in one speech offered the following:
What is happening to this country right now?” We have become a nation of assassins. We have become a nation that is somehow silent in the face of — or embraces, as polls indicate — the idea that assassination should be one of the centerpieces of US foreign policy. How dangerous is this? It’s a throwback to another era — an era that I think many Americans thought was behind them. And the most dangerous part of this is the complicity of ordinary people in it.
Imagine if this was part of the conversation; what if there was a daily confrontation with lost lives at the hands of drones. Tell their stories; report the death and devastation; show imagines of what a drone does and then take a poll. Maybe I am holding onto those freedom dreams, that if people knew the facts, knew the stories, read “The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot who killed a child,” the polls would be different. The policy would change. But I don’t know. But the imagination and the dreams are powerful, so despite my cynicism and frustration, despite my sadness, I cannot but hope, wondering if we will begin to heed the words of Dr. King,
I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.” The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.
Polls are one thing but drones are not about polls; they are about morals and values, life and death; they are about people.
Here is the article got me thinking about these questions.
Amid months of discussion on the morality and legality of using drone strikes to target terrorist groups – and a week after President Barack Obama publicly defended his use of drones – a strong majority of Americans said they support such measures.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll out Wednesday found that 66% said they favored the use of unmanned aircraft to kill suspected members of al Qaeda and other terrorists, while only 16% said they were in opposition and 15% said they didn’t know enough to form an opinion.
Since Mr. Obama’s inauguration in 2009, more than 300 drone strikes have been conducted in Pakistan, according to the nonpartisan New America Foundation, while the George W. Bush administration conducted fewer than 50 strikes.