Barack Obama has never claimed to be pro-life, and his actions speak to that fact. Under Obama, the drone-strike program that was controversial during the Bush administration has grown dramatically. And while the intention of using drone strikes is understandable — the ability to eliminate terrorist targets with unmanned aircraft keeps U.S. military personnel out of harm’s way — the grim reality undermines any good intentions.
In September, CNN reported that a recent study showed that drone strikes “are too harmful to civilians, too sloppy, legally questionable and do more harm to U.S. interests than good.” As president, Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalis have “killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children,” according to a Washington Examiner report. For every terrorist killed, the number of civilians who have lost their lives continues to mount, and the question of who is actually a “terrorist” has become even more vague.
Last week, MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough explained that America’s drone policy basically says that “if you’re between 17 and 30, and within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up.” The right-wing host added, “Instead of trying to go in and take the risk and get the terrorists out of hiding in a Karachi suburb, we’re just going to blow up everyone around them.”
When Scarborough brought up how drones have indiscriminately killed many innocent children, his fellow MSNBC contributor Joe Klein replied, “The bottom line in the end is whose 4-year-old gets killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”
Klein’s answer is literally that of a terrorist, or as the U.K. Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald noted, “Klein’s justification — we have to kill their children in order to protect our children — is the exact mentality of every person deemed in U.S. discourse to be a ‘terrorist.’ Almost every single person arrested and prosecuted over the last decade on terrorism charges, when asked why they were willing to kill innocent Americans including children, offered some version of Joe Klein’s mind-set.”
Last year, the parody website The Onion ran the headline, “Could the Use Of Flying Death Robots Be Hurting America’s Reputation Worldwide?” while also asking in a correlating video “Should We Stop Using Robots That Randomly Kill Children?” The faux “news” panel in the video dispassionately debated whether or not killing kids with drones was wise U.S. policy. It was a funny video with a poignant message: treating the death of innocent children nonchalantly is absolutely horrific.
But this is exactly what Joe Klein did, and this is exactly what President Obama does. When moderator Bob Schieffer asked both Mitt Romney and Obama about the use of drones during the last presidential debate, Romney confirmed that he would continue the program. Obama ignored the question. Many Americans, from government officials down to the average citizen, ignore the question. In fact, most are unaware that there is even a question, thanks to a liberal media that continues to kowtow to Obama and a right-wing media that still defends Bush’s legacy.
But for pro-lifers, we must ask ourselves this question: If life is sacred, how can we justify killing so many innocent children randomly? Some might say, “That’s war. We make mistakes.” But this is the nearly the same thing that pro-choice advocates say when young women become unexpectedly pregnant: “That’s kids. They make mistakes.”
Yet I don’t know a single pro-lifer who would agree with rectifying the mistake of an unplanned pregnancy by making yet another mistake in terminating a pregnancy. If we somehow justify the killing of innocent children abroad just because they’re Muslim or culturally different from us, how is this different from liberals who dehumanize the personhood of a fetus? How can we say, as Klein does, that killing their kids is OK because it allegedly protects ours?
I believe that sometimes war is justified and so is the collateral damage that comes with it. What the United States is currently saying to the world is that war is always justified so long as America is the party waging it and any collateral damage that comes along with it is acceptable. We are saying that our policy is now permanent war, which means permanent collateral damage and thus the permanent death of random innocents.
As an American, I’m outraged. But as a pro-lifer, our policy of using drone strikes is something I simply cannot abide.
Jack Hunter assisted Sen. Jim DeMint with his latest book, Now or Never: Saving America From Economic Collapse. He also co-wrote Rand Paul’s The Tea Party Goes to Washington.