November 9, 2002

Assassination from the Sky

The Guardian takes a closer look at the use of drone aircraft for killing. "George Bush etched another notch in his gun butt this week, blowing away six 'terrorists' in Yemen's desert," says the Guardian. "Their car was incinerated by a Hellfire missile, fired by a CIA unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone." (See Drones of Death.)

The Guardian continues: "Even as the bullets ricochet, it should be said there are some problems with this approach to international peacekeeping. For a start, it is illegal. The Yemen attack violates basic rules of sovereignty. It is an act of war where no war has been declared. It killed people, some of whom who may have been criminals, but who will never now face trial. It assassinated men who may have been planning attacks. But who can tell? It is, at best, irresponsible extra-judicial killing, at worst a premeditated, cold-blooded murder of civilians. And it is also, and this is no mere afterthought, morally unsustainable. Those who authorised this act have some serious ethical as well as legal questions to answer. That there is no prospect at all that they will, and no insistence by Britain or others that they do so, only renders ever more appalling the moral pit which gapes and beckons."

When the son of an ex-CIA chief ascends to the presidency, after his father had essentially a 12-year reign (under both Reagan and Bush administrations), the implications are quite disturbing, especially when you see this kind of activity start to become public.

Knowing that drone aircraft can accomplish such feats, and knowing that remote flying technology also exists for commercial aircraft, why is it so startling to some people to suggest that those planes that ran into buildings on September 11 quite likely were not piloted by anyone on board?

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