Protesters gather in Rochester to oppose military use of drones
Protesters gathered outside the Federal Building on State Street in Rochester Tuesday to demonstrate against the use of drones by the U.S. military.
Specifically, the members of a group called the Upstate New York Drone Action Coalition pointed to a recent investigation by the New York Timesthat found that U.S. airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians in places that include Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
Harry Murray is one of those who was at the protest that attracted a couple of dozen people. He’s concerned because of the remote way in which the military can carry out the drone attacks from thousands of miles away.
“You’re not risking any American troops, and therefore it’s too easy to order drone strikes, which may increase the risk of a real war breaking out because the people who get killed and the relatives of people who get killed don’t appreciate these attacks,” said Murray.
Reverend James Swarts is a Navy veteran, and he heads up the local chapter of a group called Veterans for Peace.
He said that some former military members have seen the destruction that drones, that hit civilian targets, can cause.
“Our members have seen the results of the campaign of predator drones,” Murray said, “causing so much grief that you’re killing families, children and no accountability.”
A spokesman for the U.S. military told the New York Times that mistakes do happen because of incomplete information and other issues, but he said the military works hard to avoid that type of harm.
In response to questions from the Times, Capt. Bill Urban, the spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said that “even with the best technology in the world, mistakes do happen, whether based on incomplete information or misinterpretation of the information available. And we try to learn from those mistakes.”
Urban also told the Times that, “We work diligently to avoid such harm. We investigate each credible instance. And we regret each loss of innocent life.”