To The Daily Sun,
I heard President Obama's phrasing "on the civilized world," while lamenting the attack on Paris. All the turmoil and death and wounds are lamentable. At the same time, for years our unmanned drones have accidentally killed civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The numbers are huge. They usually warrant some small corner of our newspapers' pages. Well, I mean warrant, as in "assure," not deserve, but that's what the regular news of dead civilians gets if it's not Westerners in our civilized world. We don't think much about it.
President Jimmy Carter has said, "We don't know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks ... This would have been unthinkable in previous times." We have bombed wedding parties, villages — a New York Times report about 14 terrorist leaders killed by drones includes Pakistani sources indicating the same strikes killing some 700 civilians. "This is 50 civilians for every militant killed." It starts to be a story reduced to math.
While we care mightily for the war slaughter that has just happened in very civilized Paris, we are off-base not to care that we have done the same. With our regular drone attacks, we have been the terrorists in less on-the-map places that are people's homes where loved ones didn't get the lives they might have had. In a logical way, war begets war, and we have let the war industry become a very big player.
Lynn Rudmin Chong
- Category: Letters
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