A reader wants to discuss drones

He writes:

I’d like to see smarter heads than mine talking about it. I wonder if Rand Paul or someone might sponsor such a bill?

“What should a bill banning drone assassinations overseas, as well as domestic drone spying, look like?

It is irrelevant whether these machines are being used presently for good or evil, the ability to hover anywhere, to follow anyone and kill them at any time by pressing a button is TOO MUCH POWER for any government on earth to have, particularly any small subset of high-level government officials. If the trend continues, the sky will be full of OUR drones – American killing robots – and their controllers will be able to exercise their will however and whenever they choose.”

I don’t know that I agree with this particularly.  It seems a little late to the game to fret about wielding “too much power” in the form of a drone when we have enough hydrogen bombs to obliterate the human race multiple times.  My issue with drones is not that they kill people very selectively.  Indeed, I like selective rather than mass and indiscriminate killing in war.  My big issue with drones is that that the President wielding them has granted himself the power to use them against any person on the planet he decides needs killing, and with total secrecy and zero accountability–and that has already included quite a large number of innocents, whom he retroactively declares “terrorists”.  He could use a Glock with a silencer and it would be just as evil and dangerous.

By the way, for a little insight into how drone warfare affect the people who fly the drones, go here. The seduction of drone warfare is that it is “bloodless”. What this basically means is that our civilization gets to do one of the things it loves best: kill people while making sure all the slaughter is kept tidily out of view. We do it with our shame about abortion (by running the disgusting crime through a series of euphemisms. We do it with euthanasia. We do it with our shame about torture (also endlessly euphemized).  We do it with our shame about the death penalty (all while lying that this utterly hidden killing is some sort of ‘deterrent’). And now we are hoping to perfect it with warfare so that the process of slaughtering people who get in the way of running our slumbering culture of suburban consumerism happens with the fewest Americans possible bearing the burden and those killed are kept as far from the consciousness of most Americans as possible.  We are laboring to be on a permanent, eternal war footing, but to do it in the illusion of living in peace. It’s an apotheosis of the bizarre “We are locked in a clash of civilizations and struggling for our existence! And the way to meet this world-historical challenge is to go shopping!” weirdness that followed 9/11.  That, in addition to the Prez’s tyrannical murder powers, is sinister.

But, what do you think? Discuss.


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