Terror: the red, white and blue way

There are times when I feel proud (and grateful) to live in this country. And then there are times when I feel ashamed, and every American — no, every human being — should feel disgusted with the actions committed by the US government under the previous two administrations. Both President Bush and Obama have caused and are still causing terror on thousands of innocent lives, and it should be condemned, loudly.

In September, Stanford  University and New York University (NYU) released a study they conducted in the country of Pakistan, where they researched the impact of US drone strikes. It’s an eye-opener to say the least.

To start, “the drone” is a brilliant weapon. It flys high above, with no human pilot, and merely has someone controlling the operations from a distance through remote control, or through autonomous programing. It then drops bombs over targeted areas. It’s a devastating weapon, and it’s been abused by the US government, especially in Pakistan.

Abused so much that the study finds that US drone strikes have killed as many as 881 civilians since 2004. That’s right, 881. This number ranges from 474- 881 due to the fact that these were testimonials and could not be counted exactly; but, still, whether it’s 400 or 900, that’s way too many innocent lives.  Here’s the kicker, though. Of those killed, 176 were children.

Can we imagine — just for a few minutes — this happening in our country, our states, our cities, our subdivisions or our blocks? Hundreds of people in an 8 year span are blown up, many of which are children. Planes, with intent to kill, are flying over your home, everyday. You’ll wake up, waiting for your worst nightmare. You’ll go to work, praying the drones don’t drop a bomb on your family while you’re gone. Forget about having a life under these circumstances. You might even be afraid to leave your home, fearing the next strike. Imagine the fear, the terror. It would be horrifying.

This is exactly how the people of Pakistan feel. According to the study:

“Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.”

The study examines the tactic of “signature strikes” vs. “personality strikes.” The two are still lethal, but very different. Personality strikes are when intelligence is completely and totally aware of who the enemy is and where they are located. Signature strikes are where things get ugly.

“According to US authorities, these [signature] strikes target “groups of men who bear certain signatures, or defining characteristics associated with terrorist activity, but whose identities aren’t known.”

Interestingly enough, it was Bush who mainly performed personality strikes, while it’s President Obama who has increased the number of signature strikes, and, thusly, killed more innocent lives.

It gets even worse. There are documented instances of “first responders/rescuers” being bombed immediately following the initial strike. That’s right, read that last sentence again. The US government drops bombs on people who are trying to save the lives of those who have already been harmed/killed.  These are called “double taps,” and it’s one of the most inhumane acts anyone could ever perform.

Not only does all of this cause fear, but it also brings rise to many militant groups around the country and the rest of the middle east. It’s used as a recruiting tool by many terrorist organizations. Ever ask, why “they” hate us?

It then begs the question: How productive are these strikes? It’s a salient question to ask, because there is a good chance we are creating more enemies than we are killing. Which would then make the “war of terrorism” totally counter-productive.

These are human beings, not pieces in some board game. The killings can’t be coined as “mistakes” or “rare occurrences.” Rare isn’t murdering hundreds of innocent lives over an 8 year span. Terrorism is murdering hundreds of innocent lives over an 8 year span. There is no other way to describe it.

It’s terrorism, the American way.