Kathy Kelly on democracy and the use of drones

by Tom Roberts

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troberts@ncronline.org

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Few have the credibility of Kathy Kelly to question the political and military decisions of national leaders. Her credibility stems from the fact that she has spent more time than most among the innocent most deeply affected by war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As she says in this recent piece questioning the use of predator drones as a means of accomplishing assassinations at a distance, her organization, Voices for Creative Nonviolence "believes that standing alongside people who bear the brunt of our wars helps us gain needed insights. Where you stand determines what you see.

"In October and again in December of 2010, while in Afghanistan, I met with a large family living in a wretched refugee camp. They had fled their homes in the San Gin district of the Helmand Province after a drone attack killed a mother there and her five children. The woman’s husband showed us photos of his children’s bloodied corpses. His niece, Juma Gul, age 9, had survived the attack. She and I huddled next to each other inside a hut made of mud on a chilly December morning. Juma Gul’s father stooped in front of us and gently unzipped her jacket, showing me that his daughter’s arm had been amputated by shrapnel when the U.S. missile hit their home in San Gin. Next to Juma Gul was her brother, whose leg had been mangled in the attack. He apparently has no access to adequate medical care and experiences constant pain."

Read the entire story, about her encounter with an academic and journalist who asks her the disturbing question: Do ordinary citizens in the United States know about the use of drones and what they do?

Who authorizes the use of these weapons? What are the implications in their inevitable proliferation by other countries?

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