National Security Journalist Speaks on America’s Covert Wars

Sep 18, 2015

Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr

A prominent national security journalist and war correspondent says the United States government could use more empathy when deciding on its foreign policy. Jeremy Cahill spoke at this year’s Hancock Symposium at Westminster College. Cahill criticized America’s covert wars, particularly the Bush and Obama administrations’ use of drone strikes.

“I think because we killed so many civilians in strikes,” he said. “Because we’ve had so many cases where journalists have gone to the scene and discovered that what we were told is not true, that we are actually aiding Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and other groups in their cause.”

Cahill questioned whether U.S. foreign policy is actually effective in addressing real threats, which he said has led to unnecessary killings.

“Political agendas are more important to our national security in terms of how we respond to threats than the actual threats themselves,” he said. “We’ve given up tremendous amounts of basic freedom in pursuit of what, destroying terrorism? We’re never going to destroy terrorism.”

Cahill said the United States could use more empathy when deciding on its foreign policies and that it should consider more closely the lives the policies affect. Drawing from his own experience as a war correspondent, Cahill urged journalists to begin covering stories of those affected by these wars, particularly military families and the citizens of the nations that are targeted.

The theme of this year’s Hancock Symposium was “Security vs. Liberty.” The symposium featured several other speakers such as Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, and CIA lawyer John Rizzo.