Wednesday, March 06, 2013

An Opinion on Drone Use

The use of drones - specifically in combatant and warfare capacities - has been on my mind for many many months, before drone use on American soil was even an issue. Today Senator Rand Paul's filibuster is making news as he has spoken on this subject for over seven hours (at the time of my writing). And as is evidenced by the title of this post, I do have an opinion on this subject.

War is a heinous and heartbreaking way to resolve conflict. When we as a country go to war (in any capacity), we need to weigh the cost and benefit of all our actions. Does the loss of life on the opposition's side justify the end for which we hope? Does the potential loss of lives on our side make up for the resources or ideals for which we fight? Loss of life humanizes war and combat for both sides. Granted, it's often easier to picture your own loved ones who are fighting or who may fight as the lives we would save by using drones... but don't let that benefit hold more weight than the innocent lives that are put in danger on the other side by our use of drones. Drone use dehumanizes war and combat. The us vs. them mentality grows stronger. And the line that unnecessarily divides us and them widens to the point that we can easily forget that the people we fight have families, jobs, hobbies, and hopes and dreams for their futures. Granted, this is only one person's opinion, but it's mine. And it's one which I feel very strongly.

I think the following words by MK Gandhi are worth considering in this matter:

"[The] belief that there is no connection between the means and the end is a great mistake. Through that mistake even men who have been considered religious have committed grievous crimes. Your reasoning is the same as saying that we can get a rose through planting a noxious weed. If I want to cross the ocean, I can do so only by means of a vessel; if I were to use a cart for that purpose, both the cart and I would soon find the bottom.' As is the God, so is the votary', is a maxim worth considering. Its meaning has been distorted and men have gone astray. The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree... We reap exactly what we sow."

So thank you Senator Paul. Combatant drone use in any place is wrong and will not bring about positive outcomes.