Jacob Grunberger is right. JHU’s involvement in drone warfare is wrong, and we must do something about it. His proposal for compensating the victims of American drone attacks is worthwhile. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration tries to shield drone warfare from scrutiny or criticism, treats the communities under attack with astonishing disregard and would likely embargo aid under the pretenses of the “War on Terror.” But, as Mr. Grunberger suggests, we have a unique opportunity to promote peace, transparency and the rule of law.
JHU’s mission is “to educate its students and cultivate their capacity for life-long learning, to foster independent and original research and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.” Classified weapons research undermines this mission. Its “benefits of discovery” are fear, death and destruction. With JHU’s help, the U.S. brings these “benefits” to parts of the world where no state of war has been declared, setting an example for others to do the same.
There is no neutral position on our university’s complicity in drone warfare.
If we have doubts about our university’s involvement in drone warfare, why limit ourselves to compensation after the fact? Why not demand full transparency on JHU’s drone weapons research? Why not demand that the University suspend drone weapons research until we determine its compatibility with our university’s mission? Students and faculty — not administrators, trustees, or military elites — are at the center of the University’s mission.
These are our demands to make, if we want them.