From Pine View Farm

Droning On 3

Daniel Ruth makes a point about raining robotic death from the sky; follow the link for the rest.

Those of us who had a problem with what’s-his-name asserting that the Constitution did not protect Americans because he said they were enemy combatants must also observe that Mr. Obama with his killing lists ordering death-from-on-high is in the same league. And so are his legal experts with their semantic gymnastics trying to justify treating American citizens as if they weren’t citizens. They drone on, same as it ever was, sort of.

It’s difficult, though. In my selective way, I concede that blasting some American al-Qaida member deep in Yemen seems reasonable. You can’t have the drone read him his constitutional rights through a loudspeaker. My attitude is: Occupy any area that is clearly a battlefield in a war against America, die. But too often there is collateral damage, the modern term for innocent people dead. We are on a slippery slope in a toboggan of our own manufacture.

My two or three regular readers know that I am not a fan of drone warfare.

Note that I am no more against drones in general than I am against M16s, Tanks, and aircraft carriers.

I’m not for any of them, but sometimes they seem necessary.

What troubles me is the packaging–drones are presented as somehow surgical weapons that always get the right target. Their PR makes gamers’ raining robotic death from the sky seem somehow, well, nice, antiseptic, almost harmless.

Too many wedding parties, too many children gathering food, too many innocents surgically struck have been destroyed.

Yet, the “surgical strike” PR helps the citizenry turn away from the dealing of death.

As Bob Cesca points out, there is a possible corrective, and it’s not yelling “Obama=Bush”; anyone who is capable of grasping more than one thought at a time can see that he doesn’t.



  1. George Smith

    March 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    There’s a big problem with the idea that ‘blasting some al Qaeda in Yemen” seems reasonable. When WWII was over we didn’t waste time digging dead end Japanese soldiers out of hideouts in Pacific Islands we’d already overrun. It was a matter to iron itself out. One question to ask is why do Americans now think getting  handfuls of Muslims in the poorest places of the world, more than a decade in, matters? Why do they think any of it’s reasonable? They think so because they’ve been propagandized on the nonsense that one or two very poor people in far away lands with no resources can duplicate an historic event like 9/11, easily. That’s not the case. It’s history and so is al Qaeda. The wheel will no more come around for them than it did for old bitter SS men after the Fuhrer killed himself in the bunker as the Soviet army closed in. But it is a measure of ten years of propaganda and the instillation of groupthink. So that he’s writing about it is fine. However, the entire argument that the country needs permanent wartime footing and power to kill pre-emptively anywhere there are poor people who can’t fight back, where there are failed states or tribal violence and civil war, because the world has changed and one or two of them can cause mass death in the US is one of the big pernicious lies of our lifetime. 

  2. George Smith

    March 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    It’s also morphed into an upper class thing. You’ll have noticed that more, and more, these teeny enemies, wherever they are, are alleged to be able to launch attacks that might hurt the economy. Then you look at the YouTube thing you posted the other day, the last two minutes, that shows where all the money is. And our enemies will threaten or damage the economy and make a collective ‘us’ worse off? It’s to laugh. There’s nothing worth damaging in the bottom 99 anymore.

  3. Frank

    March 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Good points all.  It’s a stupid tactic from any kind of larger strategic view.  It’s killing persons who have no realistic means of harming us and alienating many many more who could help.  


    And it is part of the Legacy of George the Worst.  Had he not mongered so much war, the occasion to drone on poor folks half a world away would not be presenting itself today.  The evil that men do . . . .


    When I wrote the post, I was thinking more of the moral issue, which is not quite as cut-and-dried as some would have it.