Opinion: Demonstrators are right to challenge drone policy

Kent Vashaw

Kevin Griffin

Kent VashawA small group of protestors demonstrated at Fort Bragg last Saturday against the destructive use of militarized drones by the United States military.

This protest was certainly a step in the right direction, criticizing a policy that the U.S. should absolutely abandon.

Supporting the rights of innocents, even if they aren’t American citizens, is our duty.

The protest was organized by the Quaker House of Fayetteville. The Quaker House is an organization that advocates for anti-war, pacifistic values.

The group organizes anti-war protests and lends aid to soldiers who want to leave the military behind them, according to the Charlotte Observer. The Quaker religion has had ties to pacifist movements for years.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that the protest was small, with about a dozen participants. But even a dozen protestors can get a message out.

Fort Bragg is one of the largest military bases in the United States, and houses eight types of drones. Drones are unmanned aircrafts, and their use as weapons has been drastically expanded under the Obama administration.
The protestors claimed drone warfare engenders hatred for America and spurs revenge. They hit the nail on the head. By engaging in controversial tactics that have high civilian collateral damage, such as drone strikes, the U.S. is only perpetuating the cycle of violence.

Drone warfare often kills civilians, which is against the terms of the Geneva Convention. Civilians are considered protected persons during a time of war, and any act of violence toward them is in violation of the convention.
More than 2,500 people have been killed in Pakistan since 2002, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. While the percentage of these that are civilians is disputed, the New York Times reports that some estimates of civilians killed are as high as 98 percent, including 176 children.

We just have no inherent right to send our drones into Pakistan without the consent of the Pakistani government.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that some people who passed by the protest hurled obscenities at the nonviolent Quakers.

Perhaps they supposed the protest was sympathetic toward anti-American terrorists. But drones kill way more than terrorists, and protesting drones has nothing to do with supporting those who seek to kill U.S. soldiers.

Vashaw, a sophomore mathematics major from Apex, is an opinion writer.