Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Could Jesus Use a Deadly Drone to Kill a Person? Most U.S. Catholics are Unaware of Drone Warfare

THE LAMB CATHOLIC WORKER, Columbus - Drone Attacks by the United States:
      According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been 364 drone strikes in Pakistan over the last nine years. 312 have been carrried out by the Obama Administration. It is estimated that up to 3,500 people have been killed by drone strikes, including up to 196 children, and over 1,400 people have been injured. In the name of all the victims who have suffered and died from US drone strikes, and all their grieving families, it is time for all people of faith and conscience to demand an end to the Obama administration's illegal and immoral "Kill Lists" and use of killer drones (info. from a fellow Catholic Worker).
      Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S., Sherbano (“Sherry”) Rehman, a former political journalist and diplomat, has recently emphatically stated that "there should not be any ambiguity that Pakistan is very clearly against drone attacks on its territory.  We see them as against international law and we consider them a violation of our sovereignty." She also conveyed that drone attacks were counterproductive because they were fomenting extremist views.
      At the base of Jesus’ new command to love one’s enemy and do only good to those who hate you, is another: to love one’s neighbor as oneself.  To do this one must place him or herself in the neighbor’s shoes and imagine what that would be like.  Loving one's neighbor as oneself reminds of a recent national magazine cover's subtitle about what it would be like if these drones were used against us.  Jesus  gave a clear warning about this:  "Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword." What would the physical searing pain be like on the receiving end of a sharpshooter's high speed bullet or military drone’s high magnitude and high speed explosive (dropped in batches at a time)?  What would it be like for you or your children to live under and in terror - sporadically hearing the whistles and explosions and even witnessing loved ones dying in this manner?
     I happened to recently teach Iraqi war victim children in a public school, and not only heard horrific accounts of what transpired with loved ones, but have witnessed their post-traumatic stress syndrome. One example is of a fifth grade girl (who had been a Kindergartener when we attacked Baghdad) who, now in fifth grade, ran screaming into my ESL room and screaming out of my room and screaming back in for weeks.  I explained to my Iraqi  students and families  that most Americans were very against this war and that we are very sorry.  This, though, was kind of hard to explain to my Pakistani students.
    *Note:  While an ESL teacher, I had all my 2nd -  5th graders create a simile and a metaphor for peace to hang up before the Winter Break (Christmas).  Those of the Iraqi  students were the most touching like, "Peace is People Not Dying," instead of "Peace is People Not Killing," like other students had written.  Since many of my students were Muslim, and the five times a day that they pray begin with, "All merciful Allah, ..." (and because I personally believe in all-merciful God), my peace metaphor was: 
                                             "Peace is an All-Merciful River
                                              Flowing Out of the Holy Place,
                                              Slowly Changing the Hearts
                                              of Men and of Women."

*Note:  On May 3, it is the 30th anniversary of something worth reviewing - the U.S. Catholic bishops' peace pastoral: "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response," which states that the only way that we can possibly possess weapons of mass destruction is that we are in the process of disarmament.  It is worth reading!  And special thanks to Dr. Ron Carsten, an Ohio Dominican University teacher of peace and justice who co-authored it along with the U.S. Catholic bishops in 1983.   Muchas Gracias!