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Letter: The cost of remote bombing is not worth the benefit

(Tom Brenner | The New York Times) Demonstrators near the White House as Taliban fighters seize the capital city of Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. President Joe Biden's decision not to begin a mass evacuation of Afghans months ago has left tens of thousands of people in a desperate limbo.

The U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan on Aug. 29 that killed an aid worker and nine other civilians did not have to happen, it was not an inevitable tragedy but accidental and reckless homicide. The blame is not just on the officer who ordered the strike, but on all who support the military strategy of remote targeting.

On Aug. 29 our military commanders were nervous after the suicide bombing at Kabul airport, and they apparently had intelligence that a car bomb was going to be used in the same area. They used remote surveillance and intuition in a rushed decision to launch a missile at a suspicious car full of innocent people.

This protocol is not acceptable — lethal force should only be used for obvious defense. I am concerned that America’s reliance on aerial bombing and “over the horizon” targeting will continue to make lethal mistakes. These mistakes demoralize the personnel responsible and would be considered involuntary manslaughter in our legal system. Bombing nonmilitary targets is also counterproductive because some relatives and associates may seek revenge for every civilian killed. The cost of remote bombing is not worth the benefit.

Dave Powelson, Logan

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