Churches welcome drones inquiry

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

Steve Hucklesby, JPIT Policy Adviser, said: "The UK faces aserious dilemma in that we are using drones in Afghanistanalongside an ally that engages in targeted killings across theborder in Pakistan. The use of remote weaponry to seek out and killalleged enemies of the state may be politically acceptable but ismorally indefensible.

"It has been suggested that drones are not fundamentallydifferent from any other form of air power. However this reality ismore complicated. They raise concerns because they offer aqualitative increase in capability that, for example, makes themthe weapon of choice for the CIA. Their ability to observe forhours or even days at a time and covertly to track and eliminateindividuals makes targeted killing more seductive. This capabilityis not just an issue for the US.  It also concerns our own useof drones." 

The Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church bothdiscussed the use of drones to carry out targeted killing at theirconference/General Assembly this summer. The Methodist Church pressrelease is available here.