For nearly a decade the United States has used drones to target and kill suspected members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen. Among others, US drones have killed busloads of civilians, guests attending weddings, taxi drivers, diners at a birthday party, people attending funerals and men attempting to reason with AQAP members. When we complained about these practices, in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and other places, one response was that it was better than carpet bombing like we did in World War II. That always seemed rather odd because World War II was a war, and the cities carpet bombed were ‘enemy’ cities.
I would say that, well, the places where the killer drones are operating are not places where it would be possible or ‘legal’ to carpet bomb. There would be no way to explain such a serious divergence from humanitarian law, the laws of war. They’ve made a fine point about targeting a globally dispersed enemy force, a point that I strongly disagree with though many are ready to buy it. One would think it would be beyond imagination to justify heavy bombing, carpet bombing in the same circumstance.
But Yemen has turned the world of ‘legal’ warfare on it’s head. Since last March, a Saudi led coalition of Gulf Emirates with US technical and political backing have been ferociously bombing Yemen