This week, President Obama declared the war in Iraq to be over. The announcement received much press coverage and not a little scorn, as at least 50,000 US troops will remain in Iraq. Little noticed however was also the fact that US military chiefs admit that UAV flights in Iraq have not lessened – in fact the likelihood is that drone flights in Iraq will actually increase. Asked about UAV flights in Iraq, Gregory Gonzalez, UAV project manager in the US Program Executive Office for Aviation said “It’s not going to slow down any time soon.”
In fact many analysts predicate a bright and glowing future for drones with sales predicated to be worth over $70bn over the next 10 years. However a growing number of critics are beginning to question the morality of drone wars and drone assassinations.
In ten days time 14 peace activists will do on trial in Las Vegas following a protest against drone wars at Creech AFB where USAF and RAF control drones over Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the 14, Fr. John Dear, an American Jesuit priest said in a recent interview
“A year ago, 14 of us, including a number of priests and nuns, walked onto Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, headquarters of the drone program. We walked on with roses and knelt down and prayed. They almost opened fire on us, they arrested us and put us in jail.” He went on to say “The future is not the drones. We need to abolish these evil weapons and pursue nonviolent ways to resolve international conflict.”
Amen to that.