Our wars – attack of the drones
I am amazed at American arrogance, and have always been, since a very young age.
I remember it like it was yesterday, in third grade, when one of my fellow students described us as “Americans”. The teacher gently reminded her that we were “North Americans”, and not the only ones, at that. I, of course, had never thought of it that way, but it has stayed with me ever since.
We North Americans have been using drone strikes against our enemies for quite some time, but perhaps no more avidly-so than under the current POTUS.
Kudos to Senator Ron Wyden, D-OR, for asking questions that need asking, and not falling into lockstep with POTUS. After all, we are not Republicans. I don’t agree with all of his logic, but he is clearly a leader on the issue of whom to be proud.
Back to my point. Suddenly, because an opinion has been released that it is legally acceptable to kill American enemies in such a fashion, some people have their panties in a twist.
When we were killing “them”, which also included, and continues to include, collateral deaths to innocent civilians, there was not near the uproar over the use of drones. Now there is.
Is it legal? Of course it is.
I don’t say this as a frequent-supporter of President Obama, but as an amateur historian.
Since the days of Benedict Arnold, some of those amongst us have gone over to the other side during our wars. The Revolution. The War of 1812. The Spanish-American War. Both World Wars. Viet Nam. The conflicts in the Middle East.
It doesn’t matter whether these folks were killed by muskets, Kentucky rifles, M-1s, AR-15s, “Smart” bombs, or drones. It is legal.
Assuming, of course, that one believes this a legally-defined war. That debate did not take place sufficiently, and there is still room for dissent over that status.
The issue of national sovereignty is a different matter.
Violating Pakistan’s borders to accomplish these targeted deaths seems to have no legal foundation whatsoever, nor does it have any moral foundation either, particularly at a time when most people are wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth over the “invasion” of one of our embassies, and the subsequent deaths of four State Department employees.
While it can certainly be argued that it was inevitable anyway, violating another country’s sovereignty seems, to me, to be sure to at least hasten the odds that our enemies will establish a covert presence in either Mexico or Canada to start lobbing drone strikes across the respective borders and into the United States.
Perhaps the most frightening and threatening aspect of the use of drones is here at home. One think tank estimates that there will be 30,000 domestic drones in use here in the very near future, by 2020.
Inspecting pipe lines, transmission lines, traffic watch, border patrol, park security, waterway inspection, search and rescue, and almost anything that we use helicopters and light aircraft for in order to accomplish surveillance from the air.
Drones are cheaper, less labor-intensive, and safer. I understand the logic.
However, it also means they will be watching us- in our backyards, on trips to the grocery store, on our balconies, through our windows- as we BBQ, swim naked in our pools, at political rallies and protests, as we go to church or not, as we consult with Planned Parenthood, or visit our lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, girlfriends, boyfriends and fertility clinics.
Watching us by any means in the public areas- by intersection cameras, radar, direct observation, etc., is one thing. After that, it does not become murky, it becomes a virtual eclipse.
And domestic terrorism by drone cannot be far away. How long before somebody lobs one into a school, an abortion clinic, a synagogue or mosque, or even the Westboro Baptist Church?
Although one can never be certain about famous quotes anymore, Benjamin Franklin apparently said:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”