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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Drones are cowardly...

As my daughter and I yard sale today, we run into a young white man with the telling practically shaved head, conservative clothing, and huge shiney chrome and black motorcycle who explains that he has recently returned from Afghanistan where he’s witnessed lots of unfortunate – he eyes are cast down with a slight crease between the brows – collateral damage. He continues that civilian death is just the way war is, it is natural.

I have blogged many times about the military brainwashing that allows soldiers to justify the slaughter of civilians. The term 'collateral damage' is one such example. (See "Collateral Damage" entry)

The truth is that no, civilians did NOT used to die in such large numbers in wars but mostly soldiers died. 95% casualties were soldiers, maybe 5% civilians. It is only since World War 2 (and actually the invention of the airplane bombers) that those numbers have flipped to now it is 95% civilians, 5% soldiers.

I ask this young soldier, so even if it is true, is this right? He shrugs stating his affinity for the term ‘collateral damage’; like many soldiers he does not think beyond the rationalization he’s been fed.

I ask him "so you're willing to sacrifice your civilian mother, your baby, your wife if civilians are being killed?"

He beings to look uncomfortable so I let him off the hook by asking him “so what U.S. American civilians are dead? Or are at risk?” Before he can mention 9/11 and the twin towers, I ask him “Why is it okay to sacrifice the civilians of another country, as long as it is not our country?”

He says so glibly “They’re the bad guys”.


I ask him what would he do if our country was under siege by a foreign military and 20% of our civilian population was either dead or displace.

It’s like I’ve asked him what will he do if the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow. He smiles and says cockily we’re the lucky ones. We’re the powerful ones. We’re the ones that are living correctly, with God’s help, so we’re not suffering like they are in Afghanistan.

Even though I don’t want to, I end up asking so you think God wants his children in Afghanistan to suffer at the hands of American weapons, especially DRONES, and soldiers?

He looks at me and says very defensively that DRONES save American lives. I say what about Afghan lives?

He says nothing but the look seems to project his dismissal of all thought of other human beings. Then he does mention that the Taliban thinks we are cowards for using DRONES.

I ask him what he thinks. He says alls fair in love and war. Although for him personally, he’d rather meet the enemy face to face and have it out – which is what he’s so proud of, he’s not a coward!

I say what do you think is more cowardly, planes dropping bombs on people from an unmanned vehicle or the ground troop stacking the odds a billion to one in your favor.

He puffs up again, denying the odds are stacked in favor of the Marines insisting Afghans have the upper hand – after all, they hide out among the civilians, making it of course their fault civilians are killed.

I am incredulous. Most of the young men returning from these occupations at least own how unbalanced the fight is. I say you sure have a funny idea of fair, arming yourself with 100 thousand times more advanced weaponry, technology, not to mention the physical hugeness of most Americans compared to most Afghans, and then calling it ‘fair’.

I give him the GI rights hotline number in case he decides “to do what is right”. I’m surprised when he takes it.


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