Thursday, October 29, 2009

Predator Drone: License to Kill

The Predator drone aircraft is unquestionably one of the deadliest of all new U.S. military machines. Soaring thousands of feet above the clouds without making hardly a peep, its use in Iraq and in particular Afghanistan has shown its extraordinary might.

Controlled remotely in places like military bases outside Las Vegas, Nevada, the unmanned vehicle has become one of the most agile in covertly tracking and killing the enemy with precision-guided accuracy. Its awesome power for destruction has dazzled military planners and defense contractors. Those on the ground however, who feel its wrath are among the most unsuspecting and explainably so sometimes due to the complete ignorance caused by innocence.

Its use along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border won praise for disarming supposed jihadic extremists and spiked heated criticism for blameworthy actions that repeatedly result in scores of deaths of helpless civilians.

And in these horrifying and strikingly unjust events, new questions are arising as to the legality of aircraft operations predicated on such premises of preemptive strike. RawStory reports that the head of the UN department on Extrajudicial Executions Philip Alston criticized the United States' use of Predator drones in Afghanistan. He explained that, "The onus is really on the United States government to reveal more about the ways in which it makes sure that arbitrary extrajudicial executions aren't in fact being carried out through the use of these weapons."

The Predator drone made its first active appearance in the United States in early 2009 when NORAD began U.S.-Canada border patrol exercises in the sparsely populated region between Manitoba, North Dakota and Minnesota. While it is not reported if these drones have strike capability, common sense would infer if not, to add that feature would not pose great difficulties.

The Predator is a silent killer, essentially an experimental weapon used much as the new Luftwaffe fighter planes that bombed Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. With little research on the Predator's implications, its bounds for proper legal civilian patrol use hang in limbo. However, the UN's astounding report gives legal precedent to investigate claims of predatory abuse in extrajudicial summary executions. To debate this so-called "off-limits" topic will only allow the People decide what's truly best in public use of these towering observant strikers.

Predators need not prey on Afghans or whoever for that matter as their touted "successes" almost ensure wider future use. In arming our technology we must be certain our justice does not become overzealous, and our strengths do not become our weaknesses.

It is imperative that the question of Predator drones be engaged and their wasteful and abusive actions ended.

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