My pro-life position is simple: Life is sacred. Life is so sacred that for it to be taken there must be an extremely good reason—and there are few good reasons. Convenience is certainly not a good reason. This innate sanctity of human life is something virtually all civilized people recognize despite one’s politics. Even those who identify as pro-choice are only comfortable with abortion to the degree that they can downplay or dismiss the humanity of the subject at hand.
Barack Obama has never claimed to be pro-life. As the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney writes: “President Obama has killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia through a drone war aimed at exterminating the suspected terrorists on his unprecedented and ever-expanding ‘kill list.’”
The drone strike program that was controversial during the Bush administration has grown dramatically under President Obama. The logic behind drone strikes is plain—the ability to eliminate terrorist targets with unmanned aircraft means we don’t have to endanger U.S. military personnel. But the grim reality of these strikes drastically undermines any good intentions. The method has quickly become an everyday nightmare for average Pakistanis. 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.”
Indeed. For every terrorist killed, the number of civilians killed continues to mount—and the question of who is actually a “terrorist” has become even more vague.
This 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 … They are focused on killing the bad guys, but it is indiscriminate as to other people who are around them at the same time.” Scarborough continued: “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, Time columnist Joe Klein replied: “The bottom line in the end is—whose 4-year-old get killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”
As the UK 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 mindset.”
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 that emphasized the horrors of our nonchalant regard for the death of innocent children.
But this is exactly what Klein did. This is exact 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. Many Americans are unaware that there is even a question—thanks to a liberal media that continues to kowtow for Obama and a rightwing media that still defends Bush’s legacy.
But for pro-lifers, there must be a question: If life is sacred, how can we justify killing so many innocent children? Some might say, “Well, that’s just war. We 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 that pregnancy. If we justify the killing of innocent children abroad because their lives are somehow worth less, how is this different from liberals who dehumanize the personhood of a fetus? How does arguing, as Klein does, that killing their kids is OK somehow because it allegedly protects us?
I believe that sometimes war–and the collateral damage it brings–is justified. What the United States is currently saying to the world is that war is always justified if America is doing it. We are saying that our policy is now permanent war, which means constant collateral damage and the continued death of random innocents.
As an American, I’m outraged. As a pro-lifer, our policy of drone strikes is something I cannot abide.
Jack Hunter is the co-author of The Tea Party Goes to Washington by Sen. Rand Paul and serves as New Media Director for Senator Paul. The views presented in this essay are the author’s own and are independent of any campaign or other organization.