It is difficult to describe just how abhorrent that I find the concept of the US military murdering the many bystanders and even targets with drone strikes and then trying to justify their illegal actions (under both US and international law) by labelling all of those killed, injured, and maimed as enemy. It reeks of the counting the body bags of civilians mentality that has been losing them wars during my lifetime.
I suspect that many other people with military backgrounds like myself would feel the same thing. In the aftermath of the Vietnam war, the consequences of such indiscriminate targeting of civilians around targets was quite apparent. It was highly counter-productive and more likely to create civilian support for insurgents than to terrorise them.
It sounds like time for New Zealand to deal with this rogue state mentality that the United States has fallen into. To do it before the stupidity spreads to states with even less compunction that the US. And to do it the way we do best – internationally. No Right Turn on an idea from KiwiPolitico..
Over on KiwiPolitico, Pablo suggests a good idea: that New Zealand take a leadership role in the fight against US drone-murders by unilaterally renouncing the use of lethal drones:
At the end of my remarks I proposed that we debate the idea that New Zealand unilaterally renounce the use of lethal drones in any circumstance, foreign and domestic. I noted that the NZDF and other security agencies would oppose such a move, as would our security allies. I posited that if implemented, such a stance would be akin to the non-nuclear declaration of 1985 and would reaffirm New Zealand’s independent and autonomous foreign policy.
Alternatively, New Zealand could propose to make the South Pacific a lethal drone-free zone, similar to the regional nuclear free zone declared by the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga. I noted again that countries like Australia and Chile would oppose the move (both have drone fleets and do not discount using them in anger), but that many of the Pacific Island states would likely welcome the idea.
(Note: lethal drones. Unarmed drones are a different matter, and have countless civilian applications)
He also suggests extending the ban to intelligence cooperation, and letting the New Zealand public decide the matter through a referendum.
I support this idea. Armed drones are used to murder people without trial. In Pakistan and Yemen, they are basically being used to indiscriminately wage war on civilians. We should have no part of either. New Zealand should renounce these weapons, ban our intelligence services from passing information to countries which use them, and organise the world against them. Obviously, that’s not going to happen under our current extrajudicial-murder-supporting government. But surely one of our opposition parties could make it policy?