Letters to the Editor

Collateral damage is why drone strikes should end

One of our drones inadvertently killed two hostages in January: an American (Warren Weinstein) and a European (Giovanni Lo Porto) from Italy. President Obama quite properly apologized for this mishap. We concur that these worthy humanitarians merit a formal apology from our President.

But what about all the many Asians, who became “collateral damage” in drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc? Why don’t we apologize individually to their kin folk? Are they lesser beings?

We are told that the drone attack was carried out in keeping with our guidelines for conducting counter-terrorism. Which international organization drew up these guidelines that allow us to execute drone strikes (in a war with no formal declaration) against citizens in their own country with significant resulting casualties? Would we Americans allow, say, Mexico to send drones into our air space to slaughter Americans because they believed that we were housing drug terrorists who threaten their peace and security?

We can solve the dilemma by suspending all drone strikes. Let international laws be drawn up that defined and govern use and limitations of drones equitably to protect us and all other countries from arbitrary killing of innocent civilians. Oh, incidentally, in that same drone strike another American, Ahmad Farouk, a terrorist, was executed without the benefit of a trial by a jury of his peers.

David L. Edwards, M.D.