By Cameron M. Bray ’16
Several years ago, I received a toy helicopter for Christmas.
I crashed it a lot. The helicopter rammed full speed into everything: books, walls, doors, you name it.
From that young age, I learned I would not grow up to pilot Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the U.S. military.
UAVs, Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or drones, are gaining prominence as the situation in the Middle East boils.
294 weapons were released by drones in Afghanistan in 2011, while 506 were released the following year, according to The Guardian.
Drones strikes in Pakistan and Yemen have hunted down key targets such as al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who died Sept. 30, 2011 in a CIA drone strike.
Besides key targets, 2,528 to 3,648 people have died as result of drone strikes, in Pakistan since 2004, according to The Huffington Post.
Between 416 and 948 of these people were civilians, not threats.
This is unacceptable. And yet, President Barack Obama continues to defend the drone program.
“Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians,” President Obama said to the National Defense University as reported by The Huffington Post. “And the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.”
This reasoning seems sound at first but we must remember, two wrongs don’t make a right.
By killing innocent civilians, we become the very people we swore to destroy.
We spread fear when our drones kill civilians and destroy homes.
In order to beat terrorism, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard than the terrorists. Otherwise, we are only damaging ourselves and our reputation abroad.
As Mark Twain said: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
The United States needs to curtail the drone program before its international reputation crashes and burns.