The drone campaigns in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and who knows where else have resulted in the deaths of many innocent people who just happened to be there and of these many were children. Robert Dreyfuss writes about the remarkably callous attitude some in the military take towards these deaths.
The Military Times, which is not a military paper but part of the Gannett chain that targets the military, had an article that had the following:
When Marines in Helmand province sized up shadowy figures that appeared to be emplacing an improvised explosive device, it looked like a straightforward mission. They got clearance for an airstrike, a Marine official said, and took out the targets.
It wasn’t that simple, however. Three individuals hit were 12, 10 and 8 years old, leading the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul to say it may have “accidentally killed three innocent Afghan civilians.”
But a Marine official here raised questions about whether the children were “innocent.” Before calling for the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System mission in mid-October, Marines observed the children digging a hole in a dirt road in Nawa district, the official said, and the Taliban may have recruited the children to carry out the mission.
“It kind of opens our aperture,” said Army Lt. Col. Marion “Ced” Carrington, whose unit, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was assisting the Afghan police. “In addition to looking for military-age males, it’s looking for children with potential hostile intent.”
There are claims that the Taliban sometimes recruit children to act as spotters or even carry out operations. I can well believe that because they are a brutal and ruthless organization that will stoop to almost anything to get its way. But that does not mean that all children should be viewed with suspicion. Young children, especially in poor areas, often play in the sand and dig in the dirt. To say that such activities “open’s our aperture” (i.e., creates another justification for killing them) is another sign of how pernicious this drone policy is and how it often goes tragically awry.
President Obama’s nominee for
Secretary of Defense Director of the CIA John Brennan has, while serving as the president’s chief counter-terrorism advisor on national security, been the architect of the drone policy and closely involved in selecting targets. He is expected to face ‘tough questions’ at his confirmation hearings tomorrow but I do not expect many of them to be about the drone program but to mostly center on the Benghazi affair and leaks about classified information, because the deaths of poor foreign children is of little consequence to members of the US congress.
He is expected to be easily confirmed.