If you missed Simon Jenkins’ Drones are fool’s gold: they prolong wars we can’t win, you can go to it now thanks to a Moseley reader.
Simon Jenkins’ points:
- Aerial bombardment has long been a questionable weapon of war.
- These weapons induce not defeat, but retaliation. The killing of officers merely sees others replace them, eager for revenge. Three-quarters of Pakistanis are now declared enemies of the US.
- Notional membership of al-Qaida in Yemen is reported to have grown by three times since 2009. Jimmy Carter declares that “America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends”.
- Neither the legality nor the ethics of drone attacks bear examination . . . But if Obama, himself a lawyer, had any reservations about the legality of these weapons, he has clearly overcome them.
- Yet each week Obama apparently sits down and goes through a “kill list” of Muslims he intends to eliminate, with no judicial process and no more identification than the word of a dodgy spy on the ground.
- Drone attacks are ineffective (as well as illegal, barbaric & immoral, Ed). Since the drone war began in earnest in 2008, there has been no decline in Taliban or al-Qaida performance attributable to it. Any let-up in recruitment is merely awaiting Nato’s departure.
- They are militarily pointless: Taliban in Waziristan are no threat to London or to Washington. Al-Qaida can do no more to undermine the state than set off the occasional bomb, best prevented by domestic intelligence.
- Today’s “wars of choice” reflect a more sinister aspect of democracy. Elected leaders seem to crave them, defying all warnings of the difficulty of ending them. Mesmerised by Margaret Thatcher’s gain from the Falklands, they all want a good war. In this the drone is fool’s gold.
- Drone proliferation: Eleven states deploy them already. The US is selling them to Japan to help against China. China is building 11 bases for its Anjian drones along its coast. The Pentagon is now training more drone operators than pilots. What happens when every nation with an air force does likewise, and every combustible border is buzzing with them?
His conclusion: It is hard to imagine a greater danger to world peace.