Transcript: Rep. Alan Grayson’s remarks on civilian drone strike victims – Oct. 29, 2013

Partial transcript of remarks by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) at a congressional briefing with civilian victims of U.S. drone strikes on Oct. 29, 2013:

Apart from the 100 plus people who are here in this room with us today watching me, watching us, watching the testimony you’re about to hear, everyone who hears this testimony will hear about the [incomprehensible audio] – it could be in the next room, it could be in another city, could be in another country. That technology in one form or another has been with us for 150 years. Remote viewing, remote listening, seeing things from far away. My children engage in it virtually all the time…

Now, today, there’s a new technology in our lives, and that technology is remote killing – the ability to kill people from a great distance through drone warfare…

I’m proud to be part of this event, and I’m grateful for the opportunity for the first time on Capitol Hill to listen to stories of people who have suffered from America’s reliance on drones abroad with great expense to them and to others.

Let me be clear about this. The [incomprehensible audio] in which we choose unilaterally to kill from the skies within the borders of other states with whom we are not at war is wrong. It’s just too dangerous.

If you agree with me that due to the extrajudicial nature of these killings they should stop, then I welcome you. If you agree with me that due to the belief that collateral damage in the form of the deaths of innocents, adult and child, should never be acceptable, particularly at the will of one man, then I welcome you. If you agree with me that if you think that the unintended consequences of civilian deaths attributable to drone strikes and that the public opinion that is mobilized against us in every nation that is victimized by the strikes ultimately engenders more hatred for America than it could possibly extinguish through death, then I welcome you. And if you’ve yet just make up your mind about the pros and cons of these drone strikes – these miniature acts of war – then I’m particularly glad that you’re here this morning…

I want to reiterate that the reason why we’re here today is an important one, that America’s drone policy is wrong. It’s dead wrong. American soldiers invaded a country with which we were not at war, killed civilians on the way, and then stood there for years afterwards to go on patrols against perceived enemies, killing them as well. We find ourselves in an international crisis.

When China deploy drones over the skies of Cleveland to kill those with anti-Chinese sentiments, I think you can imagine the results of that.

Invading from the skies is no different than invading from the ground, and there’s no Constitutional legal framework can which these life and death decisions be made. There needs to be increased oversight of the decisions to fly lethal weapons over another nation and killing people. And we should never accept that children and other loved ones far away land are acceptable collateral damage.

The world has learned from these past wars we’ve passed rules that every nation must adhere to when engaging in combat, the United States of America disavowed these rules unilaterally and engaged in anonymous killing from the skies does not make that secret. [Inaudible]…

I can’t think of any other type of human activity where we would accept the fact that 10% to 30% of the dead would be innocent. If we have 10% to 30% of the deaths with the victims of capital punishment in the United States, then clearly it would end overnight. If there was some kind of drug that end up killing 10% to 30% of the patients who took that drug, we would never include that drug as safe, no matter how effective it was. If there were a particular kind of surgery that end up killing 10% to 30% of the patients, that surgery would be forbidden and the doctors who perform that surgery would be put in prison. And yet, we accept the idea that 10% to 30% of the victims of drone strikes are innocent, and we should not be because that is fundamentally unacceptable…

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4 Comments on “Transcript: Rep. Alan Grayson’s remarks on civilian drone strike victims – Oct. 29, 2013

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  4. Pingback: Transcript: Press Q&A on civilian victims of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan – Oct. 29, 2013 | What The Folly?!

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