My Wish for 2013: Stop the Killing of Children (Blog)

This is a discussion of the tragic loss of any child.

I'll always remember the morning I heard the terrible news of children being killed in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.  Twenty children!  How could this happen?  They were at school--a place that should be safe and happy for small kids.  And it happened so close to Christmas!  I'd say this is one of the worst news reports I'd heard in a long time.

I can't even begin to understand how their parents will cope with their loss.  If they have other children, they'll have to.  How can a parent ever get over the loss of a child?  They  probably will, after some time, but the potential from those kids will forever be lost. The families  and the community will never be the same.  We'll never know if one of them would have become the next Stephen Hawking or Mozart.

There was another terrible news report in July 2012; another mass loss of children:  Seven children were killed by a bomb while they were getting water in Afghanistan.  Somehow, the bomb was accidently triggered, and the children were tragically lost. It certainly wasn't intentional, but the kids are dead.   Murdered, in my view. The families and their communities will  forever  be scarred by their loss. Again, their potential is lost to the world.

There was a report from August of 2011 that at least 178 children have been killed so far in Pakistan and Yemen,  from the drone attacks ordered by Obama. What are attacks by drone? It's essentially an assassination program accomplished through remote control. George W. Bush started the program with one strike in 2004, but Obama has continued it, accelerating exponentially and seemingly with gusto.  There is now one drone attack roughly every four days. We don't know exactly how it works, because the program operates in secret.  We don't know why someone is chosen to be killed or by what criteria. There doesn't appear to be any review board to  okay or nix whomever Obama puts on the hit list.

 I've  been told that this unfortunate type of death is an unavoidable part of war, called  "collateral damage".   (Huh?  We're at war with Pakistan and Yemen now?) I say NO!   I don't accept the "collateral damage" argument.  Those kids are just as dead as the kids in Sandy Hook.  Their lives were also precious, and their families are just as destroyed  as the Connecticut families.  As far as taking out the "terrorist" who was targeted in the drone attack, now there are the parents who hate us.  Should we call them terrorists now?  Certainly retaliation would be on the mind of many grieving parents.

I'm told that drones are a good thing because they minimize the risk to our soldiers.  That argument doesn't work for me, either.  Harsh as it sounds, the soldiers have willingly enlisted.  They knew the risks.  The children in those countries who are terrorized, murdered or maimed didn't make any such choice.

You can read a couple articles discussing drones and their impact here and here .

There is also an excellent compilation of essays discussing peace versus war in a book called Why Peace by Marc Guttman.

As  far as accidental deaths of civilians and children while on the ground: Why are we still in Afghanistan?  I know all the usual arguments: we need to stabilize the country, teach them how to run it themselves, and so on.  I say:  how about we BRING THE TROOPS HOME now?  We've won the war!  Osama bin Laden is dead! Hey, we also got Saddam Hussein and Ghaddafi out of power in the Middle East. Isn't that what we went there for?

There's simply got to be a better way to conduct our business in this country. How about we stop building military bases everywhere, whether the host country wants us or not?  How about we remember the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which reads:   " No person shall be ...deprived of life...without due process of law"?  How about we simply tend to our own problems in our own country?  It's not like we don't have any.

Any loss  of any life is tragic, especially when it is a child.  I believe that all children's lives are precious, even those who live in other countries.  My wish for 2013 is that others will realize that, and work to stop the deaths of children everywhere.

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Erin Thorn December 31, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Nice article Jill.
Robert Parry December 31, 2012 at 06:26 AM
My only comment: Nothing pleases me more, as the father of a toddler, than the idea that no child will ever suffer again. Unfortunately, this uniformed rant is a recipe for the opposite. Once the evil Americans leave, more children will die horrific, intentional deaths. Little Afghani girls will be tortured and killed for having the audacity to attend grammar school. Pakistani children will be shot and have hot cooking oil thrown on them because their parents are not sufficiently pious Muslims, or are thought to be consorting with infidels. They will die when bombers from Yemen blow up planes over Detroit. The will die when Pakistanis succeed in blowing up cars in Times Square. We are engaged in a messy war with a remarkably evil enemy. You can criticize all you want from the warmth of your California living room on a holiday afternoon, but out on the FLOT (forward line of trace), Soldiers are making life or death decisions for themselves and others. Doctors are correcting cleft pallets and shattered limbs of children who would otherwise be maimed for life by nature and farm accidents - if they live. You can read all the articles you want, but you've not had a teenager thank you because American improved the quality of his life. You've not seen cages in which the Husseins fed children to lions. You've not been in a fight for your life with the enemy's children standing next to and behind you. You don't know, yet have the audacity to judge those who do.
Dan Crandell December 31, 2012 at 07:09 AM
I have decided that sometimes it's best to just let it be let it be let it be. To do otherwise would be to kill a mockingbird or pull the wings off a butterfly. Happy New Year Jill.
Gayle M. Montgomery December 31, 2012 at 05:40 PM
The fact of the matter is, Jill, that Pakistan and Yemen have been at war with us for quite some time. Musharraf smiled as he put our money in his pocket and then harbored Osama Bin Laden and a host of Al Qaeda death camps. Yemenis (not all, but enough of some to mention) have also played an integral roll in the Taliban. Nobody wants to see children murdered. But maybe it would serve you well to get a little more exposure to what is actually going on in these areas and how children are used as shields and worse. Here is what is happening in Yemen as we speak. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/31/us-yemen-us-qaeda-idUSBRE8BU02I20121231 http://news.yahoo.com/least-three-al-qaeda-linked-militants-killed-yemen-062249061.html Here's what is happening in Pakistan: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a0df8bf4-5296-11e2-8e1b-00144feab49a.html#axzz2GeUfaDVo http://wtvr.com/2012/12/31/21-missing-pakistani-policemen-found-shot-dead-by-taliban/ What you are failing to recognize, Jill, in your statement about war with those two nations is that we were not at war with Afghanistan but rather the Taliban. The Taliban is not a nation, it is a military cult that is spread in many lands. Chase them out of bordering nations, and they infest and slaughter some place else. So, yes, we have been going into other areas, just as we went into Cambodia and Nicaragua in times past though we were at war with neither.
Gayle M. Montgomery December 31, 2012 at 05:43 PM
And this is in the British press and dates from November. Are these the children of which you speak, Jill? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2234840/The-year-old-terrorists-Youngsters-trained-kill-pistols-assault-rifles-shocking-pictures-al-Qaedas-heartland.html
Gayle M. Montgomery December 31, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Now, if you want to turn your angst into something productive, read about the kinds of lives those kids are living and give time and tithe to a nonprofit human rights organization that will alleviate some of this by rescuing vulnerable children. It has to be something more than a gnashing of teeth and arm chair disdain. Here are a couple of ideas: http://www.hrw.org/ http://www.amnestyusa.org/ http://www.unicef.org/ http://www.who.int/en/
Jill Pyeatt December 31, 2012 at 07:46 PM
You folks have no idea of my life experience, or of the tremendous amount of activism I do in the antiwar and liberty community. Gayle, thanks for the links, although I'd read every one previously. I've simply reached a different conclusion than you or Mr. Parry did. Is our current foreign policy working? I guess that depends on how you judge. I don't fees safer at all because of the "War on Terror" in effect sine 9/11, yet our freedoms are continuously eroded through the Department of Homeland Security, such as the dreadful Patriot Act and the personal assaults from the TSA at airports. Since I don't believe the current foreign policy is working, I hope to try something else, such as not going into countries and killing their citizens. If we leave them alone, I beleive the vast majority will leave us alone.
Gayle M. Montgomery December 31, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Jill, there are some points on which we agree. I strongly opposed the war in Iraq and believe we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan. One could even attribute some part of the problems in Afghanistan with our earlier intervention and then abandoning them when the Russians invaded. But live and let live does not work because while you and I might wish to leave them be, they do not have the same desire for us. If we are going to extricate ourselves from war torn nations, are we going to do it everywhere? Do you know why OBL said he did what he did relational to the 1st WTC bombing? It had to do with our support of Israel in the Israeli Palestinian conflicts. To me, that mess is like a game you put on your desk where you pull back on ball it smacks others, and then volleys. The problem has been in that situation that the light is only shone on one side of the equation and there is blame to spare. OBL indicated he was really angry because little Palestinian children were being killed by the Israelis, we supported the Israelis, and did NOTHING. Real John Miller's "The Cell" having to do with 9/11. If we had taken a NIMBY position on that situation, where would we be? Like you, I don't want to see kids killed. But, as I have stated earlier, I don't want to see our soldiers maimed either. Drone technology is not perfect, but it is safer for our troops in the long run.
Jonathan Jaech December 31, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Good article Jill. Killing children abroad is abominable and only perpetuates the cycle of violence. Little wonder the military-industrial complex favors it -- it's good for business!
Jill Pyeatt December 31, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Hmmm, I have a problem with little Palestinian children being killed, also ( they're being murdered in much higher numbers than Israel's children), but I see no purpose in this .thread trying to discuss the Israel/Palestine dispute. Suffice it to say that I do my best to reduce the violence there by trying to raise awareness of it. Also, I don't believe Osama bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11. Hasn't that been proven by now? There was never a link to Osama bin Laden. This whole "war on teror" has been misquided from the beginning.
Jill Pyeatt December 31, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Thanks, Johnathan! It's nice to know some people "get it".
Jill Pyeatt December 31, 2012 at 09:07 PM
*jonathan* Sorry about misspelling your name--
Gayle M. Montgomery January 01, 2013 at 04:04 AM
Jill, if you do not believe that OBL was responsible for 9/11, whom are you suggesting is? How much reading and research have you done on the subjet of the 9/11 terrorists? Miller was on the Joint Terrorism Task Froce, an investigative reporter, and later counter-terrorism chief for LA. I believe he has now moved into work for the FBI. Richard Clarke was a counter-terrorism expert in the State Department at the time that Condoleeza Rice took over. If your beliefs are more parochial or conspiratorial, I suggest you find their books and take a peek. Miller's is called The Cell (but has more words in the title that follow), and I believe Clarke's is called Against All Enemies. I read a couple more after the attacks. Very insightful reading.
sayitisntso January 02, 2013 at 09:52 PM
You’ll prevent the killing of more children with a ban on Alcohol than a ban on guns. I don’t see any legislators screaming for a ban on Alcohol or a limit on the number of drinks that can be served at a bar or restaurant or mandatory breathalyzers in all vehicles. Drinking alcohol is not a Second Amendment Right but kills more innocent people the legal gun owners in the USA do. CHILDREN: In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Out of those 211 deaths, 131 (62 percent) were riding with the drunk driver. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Traffic Safety Facts 2010: Alcohol Impaired Driving” Washington DC:National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2011.) In 2011, 9,878 people died in drunk driving crashes - one every 53 minutes National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012. Drunk driving costs the United States $132 billion a year. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2010 Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2012.
Dan Crandell January 05, 2013 at 12:22 AM
@Jill What is the #1 cause of death (homicide) concerns you the most? Some of these comments show confusion of issues. Which issue should we deal with first?
Bill C. January 09, 2013 at 08:49 AM
I'd comment on this crazed story but the ignorance shown by Jill tells me it's not worth the effort. Sometimes you just can't fix stupid.
Laura Brown January 28, 2013 at 01:33 AM
Jill, thanks for speaking up for the value of all children's lives -- not just those of Western children. The questions you raise about blindly accepting the euphemism "collateral damage" are valid and important. Keep up the good work.
Marg January 28, 2013 at 02:49 AM
Here! Here! Robert. You are right, again.
Marg January 28, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Sick comment, Jonathan. Really sick.
Marg January 28, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Gayle, You are absolutely spot on in this thread. OBL went on the air and said he was responsible. Duh!
Marg January 28, 2013 at 02:56 AM
All children are the hope for tomorrow but sadly, in many countries around the world they are disposable. Look at China. They are either used as slave labor or if born female left to die. The list goes on.......war will always exist. There will never be peace on earth because it's not in human nature to be peaceful.


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