The Terror of Drones
Conor Friedersdorf summarizes a recent report on the consequences of U.S. drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan. While one occasionally hears about nameless dead innocents, the full terror caused by these drones hasn’t entered the national consciousness. Americans may never forget the horror of 9/11 and the heroic responses to it, but we’re largely oblivious to the daily fear innocent people experience because of our nation’s drone program.
Mothers, fathers, and their children shut their eyes and cover their ears at the sound of drones. People awaken in the night screaming from nightmares. Children regularly cry in fear, and some are pulled from school. Everyone suffers perpetual stress, under unceasing worry that a person next to them at the market or at a mosque is a target. They’re fearful of attending funerals or even their neighbor’s home, and they avoid doing so.
This is terror. There’s no better word for it. And this is terror inflicted by the United States of America, by President Obama. Unintended terror is no less real to the people terrorized. For the most part, it isn’t real to us fortunate citizens supposedly kept safe by the drones, a sign we’re not as morally upstanding as we like to believe we are.
Update: See also Ned Resnikoff’s writeup on the report.