The price of war is… Does anyone have a factual, ethical, and moral way to finish that sentence? Wars only take things from people, their societies, their governments, and most importantly their futures. Since January 2012 the Peace & Justice Center has been paying close attention to the “real cost of war” with its Cost of War Speaker and Film series. The series currently covers a broad spectrum of topics but in 2014 will focus on drones which are unmanned aerial vehicles that have become signature weapons in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and beyond. They scout over these countries and shoot missiles which miss their target very often and kill innocent people including children.

In October of 2012 Leah Bolger, President of Veterans for peace, spoke as part of this series; much of her speech was about drone warfare. In her talk she gave four reasons why we should oppose war:

  1. It’s immoral simply because it kills people (it’s outside the law).
  2. It’s illegal; the wars that the United States is in violate several conventions from the international community such as the Geneva Convention.
  3. It’s ineffective.
  4. It costs too much.

One is used to hearing about repression by the government to its people since it’s something one can see quite easily, but what about the repression within oneself? Drones not only have an impact on the statistics related to human deaths, but also on the psychological trauma that men, women, and children suffer from. Leah Bolger talked about how people who experience drone warfare have entered a new period in time called “After Drones (AD)” because drones have entirely changed the way in which they live. Children don’t go to school anymore because of these drones that make constant attacks. What is the future of a country where the younger population isn’t getting any education? All they’re getting is a reverberating sound of missiles constantly falling near where they live. There is no future for a society that is deprived of schools or who lack attendance at those schools for fear of death. Without the ability to educate its people, countries can’t grow economically, politically, and socially. In countries that experience drone attacks, even the way in which people live has changed; instead of having large weddings, only a few people attend, instead of having lots of people at funerals, only a couple of people show up, etc. Drones are shaping these people’s lives, and all the government says is: “we killed this many bad guys”.

One of the major non-NATO allies that the United States of America has is Pakistan. When going to Pakistan, Leah Bolger mentioned that a pupil said that 3 out of 4 Pakistanis thought of the United States as an enemy country. People in Pakistan are asking for peace and are very frustrated with their own government because nothing is being done to stop drone strikes. In most countries around the world, the US gives money to the family of civilians that were wrongfully killed, but in Pakistan they don’t. When asking Pakistanis if they wanted compensation for the deaths of their family members, they said no. This is because no one wants to make money from the death of a loved one. So what is the price of war?

by Julian Geoffrey Lopez

Thanks to CCTV you can see Leah Bolger’s complete talk by clicking the link below.