20 November 2012

Churches welcome drones inquiry

The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Methodist Church, The United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union of Great Britain has voiced support for a parliamentary inquiry into the use of drones. According to a report in the Times today, members of the Commons Defence Select Committee are to investigate the deployment of armed unmanned aerial vehicles in Afghanistan as part of a two-year inquiry into the military's use of lethal force.

Steve Hucklesby, JPIT Policy Adviser, said: "The UK faces a serious dilemma in that we are using drones in Afghanistan alongside an ally that engages in targeted killings across the border in Pakistan. The use of remote weaponry to seek out and kill alleged enemies of the state may be politically acceptable but is morally indefensible.

"It has been suggested that drones are not fundamentally different from any other form of air power. However this reality is more complicated. They raise concerns because they offer a qualitative increase in capability that, for example, makes them the weapon of choice for the CIA. Their ability to observe for hours or even days at a time and covertly to track and eliminate individuals makes targeted killing more seductive. This capability is not just an issue for the US.  It also concerns our own use of drones." 

The Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church both discussed the use of drones to carry out targeted killing at their conference/General Assembly this summer. The Methodist Church press release is available here.

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