In my opinion, it is unnatural for a normal human to kill any creature especially another human. The United States military understood this, decades ago after they experienced and established this behaviour during the Vietnam War. Typically, the modern soldier was initially unwilling to kill. During the first expose to actual combat, soldiers would instinctively fire their weapons above a visible target. This forced the military to experiment with methods to encourage the troops towards murderous violence. This included the evolution of mind-altering {psychedelic} drugs such as LSD and methamphetamines {Tik} which was enhanced by the military to stimulate violent behaviour change.

Since the human and financial cost of war is prohibitive, development of the automated drone industry has been advanced. A drone has the capability to kill and destroy on a massive scale, at a fraction of the cost of sending actual troops. Without the permission of sovereign nations, the US bombs rural villages in distant lands causing millions to live in constant fear of the terror that comes from above.

To mock international law and the civilians that live in these battle regions, the Pentagon recently created military medals for drone pilots and cyber warriors. Christof Heyns, a South African law professor is the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions. He recently told a conference which was organized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Geneva that President Obama’s attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, carried out by the CIA, would encourage other states to flout established human rights standards. Heyns suggested some strikes may constitute “war crimes”. His comments come amid rising international unease over the surge in killings by remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Pakistani ambassador recently declared that more than a thousand civilians had been killed in his country by US drone strikes. Claims made by the US about the accuracy of drone strikes were “totally incorrect”, he added. Victims who had tried to bring compensation claims through the Pakistani courts had been blocked by US refusals to respond to legal actions. The US has defended drone attacks as self-defense and has refused to allow judicial scrutiny of the program.

The ACLU estimates that as many as 4,000 people have been killed in drone strikes since 2002 in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Of those, the vast majority were civilians. The USA is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court or many other international legal forums where legal action might be started. Ian Seiderman, director of the International Commission of Jurists, told the conference that “immense damage was being done to the fabric of international law”.

Globally, those who celebrate human anguish and despair will continue to beat the drums of war. Those who desire peaceful co-existence must stop those who advocate conflict as a political or economic strategy. It is obvious that peace will not come without sacrifice, however, if this generation fails to lay the foundation of prospective international peace, what legacy will we leave our children?

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress