Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You

Photo by AK Rockefeller | CC BY 2.0

“Mommy, what’s chutzpah?”

“Sweetie, chutzpah is when the head of Homeland Security says Americans are in danger from drones, but skips over all the people US drones have killed.”

Leo Rosten famously defined chutzpah as “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”  Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen showed off her chutzpah in an op-ed in the Washington Post: “The U.S. Isn’t Prepared for the Growing Threat of Drones.”  Nielsen begins by praising the wonders unmanned aerial drones can do, such as drones’ usefulness in rescue efforts, but adds that “the technology also has a dark side.” You don’t say.

Many people are already familiar with drones’ dark side, having experienced it first-hand.  Rafiq ur Rehman did.  A CIA drone killed Rafiq’s mother while she was gathering okra behind their home in Pakistan’s remote tribal regions.  The drone also wounded Rafiq and his two young children.

The US has conducted lethal drone strikes overseas since the days of the George W. Bush Administration.  American drones have killed people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.  None of these are countries with which the US is at war.

US drones have bombed wedding parties in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen.  US drones have bombed funerals.  Many drone victims are children: …

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