Murder the game

If Kabir Aluzai speaks of his brother, he acts sad and broken. “He was just killed. Even his bones burned in the car,” he says. Aluzai’s brother, Karim, became the target of an American drone attack in the Afghan province of Wardak in 2013. He was a fruit merchant. His car was loaded with melons. In 2017, I met Aluzai in his home village, which is haunted by the “Angels of death” – so the drones are called by many locals. Aluzai and other people from the village described how the drones to determine their everyday life. The children are afraid to play and cannot sleep, while adults, such as field or mine workers, cannot work carelessly outdoors. Everyone seemed traumatized. As soon as the sky is clear, The Predator drones appear and fire their Hellfire missiles. They do not distinguish between insurgent Taliban fighters and unarmed Afghan civilians.

More than 40 countries worldwide have already purchased armed combat drones, including small countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Now Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to arm the Bundeswehr with combat drones.

In Germany, the purchase of armed drones is now officially discussed. The Bundestag recently saw military officers and politicians who spoke openly in favour of the unmanned death machines. The voices of those affected, such as people like Kabir Aluzai, are absent. You might almost think they don’t exist at all. Instead, death is romanticized at the touch of a button. The " Angels of death “are apparently precise and protect the lives of” our " soldiers. These Narratives are not unknown. The Americans established it two decades ago. But they lead completely astray.

The best example of this is everyday life in Afghanistan and other countries affected by drones. In Yemen, there were times when they killed more civilians than Al-Qaeda. In Pakistan, the majority of identified drone victims were not militant fighters, but innocent people. And in Afghanistan, the most drone-bombed country in the world, people like Kabir Aluzai’s brother are killed almost regularly. There are many reasons why you rarely hear of them. Most drone killings happen in remote, rural areas that are hard to reach. In addition, this type of warfare is insidious and always lowers the killing threshold on the part of the pilots, who usually stay at far-off spots. car. pressing a button. Sometimes there are three dead, sometimes five, sometimes one. Over and over again. In the shadow of any public. At the same time, the dehumanization of the victims takes place. You don’t see farmers or children playing, but supposedly armed fighters or terror suspects. Almost always. Everywhere. As in the computer game. Known targets, such as Osama bin Laden or Taliban founder Mullah Omar, were never killed by the drones. Many extremist leaders continue to live. Who had to die instead of them, nobody knows, because it is almost never asked. It is human rights activists, whistleblowers and some investigative journalists and researchers who have made it their mission to investigate these war crimes. The work is tedious, tedious and dangerous.

But in the context of the German drone debate, not only all these people and their Expertise are drowned out, but above all the victims who should be listened to. “You can’t fight Terror with Terror. We can never say with complete certainty who we’re shooting at,” Lisa Ling says again and again. She knows what she’s talking about. Once she worked for the US Air Force in Afghanistan and waited for drones. But then she dropped out of the program and became a vocal critic of the attacks. Ling believes that no debate should take place without those who are exposed to the constant Terror of drones.

Where the drone Trend can lead, by the way, can be seen in the USA these days. Since massive protests against racism and police violence have taken place across the country, triggered by the murder of African-American George Floyd, the militarization of the police has become increasingly clear. In Minneapolis, even a Predator drone was (still) used to monitor protesters. According to surveys in recent years, large parts of American Society supported the drone war in distant countries.