by Joseph Camilleri,
Pax Christi Australia

In an important speech delivered last week President Barack Obama has defended the use of drones by invoking the just war doctrine.

This much awaited justification rests on two fallacies: that the United States is formally at war; and that it can be just to kill someone for a crime in the absence of a fair trial.

Why did the U.S. president feel compelled to offer this lengthy but belated explanation of America’s drone policy? Put simply, because the use of drones is now increasingly contentious as it becomes the favoured response of the US military and intelligence establishment to the terrorist threat – from Afghanistan to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond.

A number of terrorists have no doubt been killed, but so have many others, including civilians. One estimate puts the death toll since 2004 at between 1,963 and 3,293. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham estimates the number to be 4,700.

The great attraction of the drone is that the killing appears risk free. The need to deploy U.S. troops on distant and dangerous terrain is greatly reduced while those who direct the drone are safely ensconced thousands of miles away at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia…

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3 thoughts on “DRONES: Ethical battle hovers over use of drone technology

  1. Johnny..thanks for sharing this…but we as an organization need to clearly say that is NEVER just to take another life..Obama’s speech used code words to further co-opt religion ( Christianity) with the state when he referenced “just war theory”..There has never been a just war..the so-called JWT is nothing more than a “work-around” the teachings of the non-violent Jesus..Pax Christi USA must say NO to the Just War Theory…We can’e led world leaders use it as a way to justify war.

  2. Following the above link for “just war doctrine”, several points are of interest. For example: “Behind contemporary war theory lies the idea that war is always bad. A just war is permissible because it’s a lesser evil, but it’s still an evil.”
    My son once wrote a grade school report on this doctrine. When he asked a wise priest at our parish (God rest his soul) about this “theory”, he answered that there are no “just wars. Just war, death, violence and tremendous loss.” He added that WWII came close to being a “just war”, but then we dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
    Thanks for this post, Pax Christi.

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