President Obama, Stop the Drones!

President Obama, Stop the Drones! March 22, 2013

I am a supporter of the president. However, the ever-increasing use of drone warfare has got to stop. It’s gotten out of control, and the president seems virtually unaccountable for it.

This week, the highest ranking official yet voiced concerned over the use of drones:

Gen. James E. Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a favored adviser during Mr. Obama’s first term, expressed concern in a speech here on Thursday that America’s aggressive campaign of drone strikes could be undermining long-term efforts to battle extremism.

“We’re seeing that blowback,” General Cartwright, who is retired from the military, said at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.”

Go back and re-read that last sentence. Let’s take one issue at a time.

If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution.” Do you get that a military general is accusing a (Christian) civilian president of being too violent?!? That alone should take our breath away.

You’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.” Huh, no shit. When people get mistakenly bombed by virtually invisible, silent, unmanned aircraft, it tends to piss them off. Good to know.

I am no peacenik. But I am damn sick and tired of neverending wars in places where we have so little to gain and so little chance of success. The Obama administration continues to use a hazy definition of being “engaged in combat” to use drones against “enemy combatants.”

Some have blamed the media for not asking enough questions; media critic David Carr blames Congress for being “remarkably incurious” about the drone program. I blame the American people. I blame myself.

It is time for those of us who share the faith and the politics of the president to demand that he order a moratorium on drone strikes. Then he should engage in a transparent conversation with the American people — primarily through our representatives in Congress — about the use of drones.

Then let’s get out of Afganistan, and stop making up wars to fight.

This week I re-read one of my favorite novels, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I was once again reminded about the unwinnable shithole that was the Vietnam War. You’d think that we would have learned our lesson on that one. It seems we haven’t.

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