Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/771/16997

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 June 2013

Deadly long distance weapons of war

Geoff Jones reviews Drone Warfare by Medea Benjamin (Verso Books, 2013)

Drone Warfare by Medea Benjamin

Drone Warfare by Medea Benjamin

The super-villain in a secret hideout, while his invulnerable robots pick off his enemies, is a science fiction standard.

But in the world of drone wars, the 'villain' is Barack Obama and his 'hideout' an airforce base in Nevada.

In 'Drone Warfare', American anti-war activist Medea Benjamin has written a guide to how murder is committed by remote control, something all too familiar in Pakistan and other parts of the world.

These drones are a scaled-up (and deadly) version of the radio-controlled small aircraft sold in high street toy and model shops.

The Predator (the name says it all), has a 48 foot wingspan, a range of 600 miles and is armed by two Hellfire missiles with high explosive warheads.

Its high resolution video system enables its operators to watch individuals on the ground from a mile high.

Launched from 60 US bases around the world, they are 'piloted' at a distance from Creech Airforce Base, Nevada.

Drone manufacture is a multi-million dollar business. One firm, General Atomics of San Diego, had revenues of $662 million in 2010, mostly from selling to the Pentagon.

But the murder business has been privatised with the dirty work carried out by the mercenary firm Blackwater (now renamed the more 'fluffy' Academi) and others.

Drones are also exported to many countries and are manufactured in Britain. And the next generation of drones, such as the British Taranis, will be able to attack targets at long range without even the control of a human operator.

Most US drones have targeted Afghanistan and Pakistan, aimed at 'beheading' Taliban and Al-Qa'ida groups.

Civilians hit

But despite US denials, most of those killed have been innocent civilians, women and children. It is estimated that between 2,600 and 3,400 Pakistani people have been murdered in this way since 2004.

Leaving aside this terrible statistic, it is shocking that the 'liberal' Obama has publicly stated his belief that the US has the right to use drones anywhere in the world to assassinate any 'enemy' of the US, with no requirement for evidence or legal process.

Benjamin gives many examples of people utterly unconnected with any 'militants' murdered in this way.

US ally Israel, which also considers itself exempt from international law, uses the same argument to murder women and children in Gaza.

The advantage of this form of warfare is clear. The killing happens far from international observers or media.

No US troops are in harm's way. It's a 'clean' form of warfare - with the nice collateral gain of big profits for companies closely linked to government agencies.

But on the ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Gaza, Yemen and more, things are very different. Living under the threat of invulnerable drones must surely kindle in people an abiding hatred of those preaching about 'democratic values' while reserving the right to wipe out whole families without warning.

There is no way that the strategy pursued by the US and their client governments can ensure peace, let alone growth and development in those areas.

The way to defeat reactionary forces in these countries will come from the people themselves like Asif Iqbal, a schoolteacher who had defied the Taliban to keep his school open in Waziristan, killed by a drone strike in 2010 and Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban for demanding an education.

So the next time Obama proudly announces the death of an Al-Qa'ida 'leader', ask, was he actually a leader or just a mistake by a bored operator in Nevada? Who gave the US government the right to kill him without trial? And how many of his family, children or neighbours' children were killed with him?

To get more detail of the drone attacks on Pakistan go to: http://drones.pitchinteractive.com/

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 26 June 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Police dirty tricks - a threat to democratic rights

Teachers strike to defend education

Cuts until 2020? We need councils that fight for us!

Jack Straw forced to retract lies about Militant

People's Assembly: Thousands opposing cuts... but leaders sidestep strategy for victory

Farage's tax scandal hypocrisy

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Brazil: A victory for the mass struggle


Socialist Party workplace news

Conference anger with Unison leadership, and Labour

Action needed to stop Royal Mail sell-off

RMT: Fighting casualisation

PCS: members discuss next anti-cuts action

2012 London bus strike victory showed potential for militant union fightback

Having a fine time? Not if you're a courier driver

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour council introduces zero-hour contracts

How mental health carers and service users took on Salford council

Bristol council opposes 'bedroom tax' evictions

Lessons for today from an anti-poll tax bailiff buster


Socialist Party review

Deadly long distance weapons of war


 

Home   |   The Socialist 26 June 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

US:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: The US presidential election

triangleA day in the life of a salon worker

triangleNews in brief

triangle'FinCEN Files' expose rampant financial corruption: nationalise the banks!

triangleSocialist Party Wales: US - Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

Pakistan:

triangleLeicester Kashmir protest rejects religious smokescreen

triangleAnger continues to mount over imposition of direct rule

triangleKashmir crisis: Stop the attack on democratic rights

triangleIndia General election shows crying need for independent socialist alternative

Taliban:

triangleBombing Syria won't stop Isis

triangleHiroshima - 70 years on

Obama:

triangleUS: "We've had to build a huge culture of resistance"

triangleThe life and legacy of Martin Luther King

Gaza:

trianglePalestinian solidarity demo

Afghanistan:

triangleAssange arrest: US and allied governments seeking revenge for exposing dirty wars

Anti-war:

triangleHistory: Alice Wheeldon - an anti-war socialist persecuted by the state

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

23/9/20

Pay

A day in the life of a salon worker

23/9/20

Socialist Party

Why we joined the Socialist Party

23/9/20

Football

TV: The English Game - how the working class made football the people's game

23/9/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

16/9/20

Labour Party

Non-fiction: Left Out - the inside story of Labour under Corbyn

9/9/20

Black Lives Matter

Video game developer attacks Black Lives Matter

2/9/20

Iraq

TV: Once Upon a Time in Iraq

2/9/20

Housing

Manctopia: billion pound property boom

19/8/20

George Orwell

75 years since the publication of Animal Farm: From 'two legs bad' to 'two legs better'

22/7/20

Cuba

Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

22/7/20

Letters

The Socialist inbox

22/7/20

Socialist Party

I joined the Socialist Party to fight back

15/7/20

Housing

TV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families

15/7/20

Bolsheviks

Books that inspired me: The Mother

15/7/20

Black Lives Matter

How the FBI and Chicago police murdered a Black Panther

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999