Holy Cross to Lead Discussion on Ethics of Drone Warfare

February 28th, 2013 by 


The College of the Holy Cross will hold a panel discussion on the ethics of drone warfare titled “U.S. Use of Drones: Moral, Legal, Effective?” on Wednesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. in the Rehm Library, Smith Hall, at the College. The event is free and open to the public.

The increased use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, in the War on Terror has sparked controversy in this country, particularly for their role in targeted killings of suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens overseas.

Discussing the issue will be panelists David Cole, professor of law at Georgetown University Law, Avery Plaw, associate professor of political science at UMass Dartmouth, and Gregory Johnsen, Near East Studies Scholar at Princeton University.

Cole, who is critical of President Obama’s drone policy, has published seven books including “The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable” (New Press, 2009) and “Less Safe, Less Free: The Failure of Preemption in the War on Terrorism” (New Press, 2007). He is the legal affairs correspondent for The Nation, a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, and a commentator on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

Plaw, who defends the use of drones, is the author of “Targeting Terrorists: A License to Kill?” (Ashgate, 2008) and editor of “The Metamorphosis of War” (Rodopi, 2012). He is a co-creator of the UMass DRONE Targeted Killing Database, an online resource that tracks casualties by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

Johnsen, author of “The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America’s War in Arabia” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012), is a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen, where he argues citizen casualties by drones are driving the Yemeni people toward al-Qaeda. He has written for a number of publications including Foreign Policy, The American Interest, The Independent, The Boston Globe, and The National; and authors the blog “Waq Al-Waq.”

The panel discussion is sponsored by the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture and the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Holy Cross. Learn more and watch lectures online at www.holycross.edu/mcfarlandcenter.

About the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture:

Established in 2001 and housed in Smith Hall, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture provides resources for faculty and course development, sponsors conferences and college-wide teaching events, hosts visiting fellows, and coordinates a number of campus lecture series. Rooted in the College’s commitment to invite conversation about basic human questions, the Center welcomes persons of all faiths and seeks to foster dialogue that acknowledges and respects differences, providing a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope.  The Center also brings members of the Holy Cross community into conversation with the Greater Worcester community, the academic community, and the wider world to examine the role of faith and inquiry in higher education and in the larger culture.

For additional information, please contact Cristal Steuer at 508-793-2419.

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