On the face of it drone strikes aren’t such a bad idea. Approval ratings plummeted for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan once Americans no longer saw these causes worthy of sacrificing the brave men and woman who serve in the trust their government will put them in harms way only in the best interests of the Country’s defense. The military is used for a far broader purpose than defense. National defense, defense contractors – these are soothing names to justify the enormous budget and cost of life and human suffering involved in their endeavors. More accurately the military serve the interests of our Country and our allies. These interests could range from noble to motivated by greed. The more corporations are in power the more likely it is that the US will find itself in continual wars, an unsettling number involving strategic regions for cultivating natural resources; oil being the most likely candidate to come to mind first.
Drones Are A Profitable Solution To The American People’s Disfavor With Foreign Wars
What’s the real reason the majority of Americans tired of the perpetual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? For some at least one factor was the consideration of the hundreds thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan people died and suffered over near to the length of a generation. These same people could also be expected to be angered by the death of our own sons and daughters, friends and family, who sacrifice their lives, physical and mental well being, to serve the Country’s interests. The majority though don’t lose sleep over the death of the innocents not counted as our allies and brethren. They are collateral damage, necessary to keep America and our children safe. That’s what we are told, not just by Fox News, but by the other major networks as well. Imagine a world where people who had the same financial interests in the military industrial complex were also heavily invested in the mass media. Welcome to it.
The drones remove a large number of our soldiers from harms way to carry out certain missions, or executions, as the case may be. This is good, we don’t want our soldiers to die, and could any ethical or moral reason be good enough to surmount that? It depends how the drones are used of course, but those who control them are those in power, and those in power usually, historically speaking, probably don’t have the best interests of the people at heart. Not really. Not the people beyond the sphere of their family, friends and coworkers, or their bubble, to be precise. They might believe they do, but that’s to better sleep at night.
Personality Drone Strikes
There’s two kinds of drone strikes that I’m aware of. Personality strikes, and signature strikes. A case can be made, one I can on occasion agree with, that these can be the best option. These are precision strikes against known imminent threats to the US. Though we’re unfortunately going to have to explore the new definition of imminent in the context of drone strikes. Theoretically if you could eliminate the bad guy without any collateral damage, and no safety risk to our troops, then where’s the harm?
First let’s talk about what’s imminent. It was imminent that this sentence be born following the last. My next breath is imminent. If someone broke into the house with a weapon, that would be imminent danger. We can extend the timeline to be generous. If we know an asteroid is headed to Earth and that it will strike then we know an imminent threat is on our hands. The time table is well understood, and destruction is inevitable unless action is taken. That’s my take on imminent anyway, that’s how I would use it.
Broadening The Definition of Imminent When Concerning Drone Strikes
But recently released memos regarding information on drone strikes has given us insight into the reinterpretation of the word imminent to the Obama administration. Let’s here it from the administration, referencing Al Qaida threats, “…has recently been involved in activities posing an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States, and there is no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities, that member’s involvement in al-Qaida’s continuing terrorist campaign against the United States would support the conclusion that the member poses an imminent threat.”
It’s still possible this too initially might sound reasonable. Consider though that there’s no due process involved in any of this, and American citizens too can be killed if they are abroad. And they have been. Anwar Al-Awlaki was killed by a drone strike, a US citizen believed to have significant ties to Al-Qaeda. Putting that aside, a couple of weeks later his 16 year old son was killed by a drone strike. Also a US citizen.
Sure There’s Due Process, Just Not Judicial Process, That’s all.
I referenced a lack of due process and maybe I was hasty in my choice of words. Let Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States explain, “the Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process,” OK, so we have due process, but not judicial process when it comes to drone strikes and the killing of American citizens abroad. Also while we’re at it the NDAA act allows for the indefinite detention of US citizens without a trial. Always good to keep in mind. So what’s due process without judicial process? In short, the Obama administration gets to kill who they want based upon whatever evidence they see fit, be it bad evidence or not.
Signature Drone Strikes
Signature strikes are a different story. Such a strike could encompass a location that is suspected to be important to blow up, and it just might be in a populated area. We know we’re using drone strikes in Afghanistan, so I won’t trouble you with the numbers there, but consider Pakistan. Pakistan’s not happy with the US, but if you watch the mainstream networks you might not appreciate why the animosity is so great.
As of December 17, 2012, 176 children were killed in drone strikes in Pakistan. That’s just children and says nothing of the deaths of suffering of the innocent civilians in general left in the wake of these strikes. We’re told that these strikes are surgical, that every precaution is taken to avoid collateral damage. 176 children dying is a surgery gone terribly wrong.
Drone Strikes: Adversely Affecting The Mental Health of Entire Populations
There are drones flying overhead in well populated regions of Pakistan everyday. These people have heard the explosions, they have witnessed the carnage in the aftermath, and they have attended the funerals of family, friends, or in the least those in their community. They never know when the explosion will go off, they never know where. There are record amounts of citizens seeking pharmaceutical assistance which can fairly be attributed to post traumatic syndrome while living in a same traumatizing conditions day after day. What would we, as American citizens, think if another country with drones flying over our cities imposed those same conditions upon us. We would fight back, and hate those who oppress us.
Then there are miniature drones. These are in the shape of a helicopter, quite small, enough so to go unnoticed while it lands in a tree, or perhaps atop a building. The drone can then monitor a three mile radius. Sure they’re expensive, but the US military is spared no expense in the interest of peace. There are private corporations who line the wallets of politicians that ensure the proper legislation is passed to allow them to conduct business. And this is, and will become increasingly more so, big business.
What Will Tomorrow Bring
What perhaps is most disturbing is that the majority of the American people are OK with drones. There are many who are adamantly outspoken about them, but they are not the one’s in power, and they are in the minority. Science Fiction movies were invented for a reason. There’s a wisdom there, glimpses of possible futures, ones that have already come to light in too many respects. I may as well mention 1984 by George Orwell. That book never hurts to name drop on a topic like this. With all the possibilities we have to look forward to with the advances Mankind has made and will make, the only chance it’s not going to end badly is if enough people care. Are drones a step in the right direction towards the future you want?
If you’re interested in learning more, Judge Napolitano wants to talk to you about it, and despite the fact he’s on Fox News, he actually has the capacity to talk sense now and again.
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