Saturday, January 7, 2012

Drone War, Mainstream Media Support

Time Cheers the Drone War

01/03/2012 by Peter Hart

The new issue of  Time magazine promises on its cover "Essential Info for the Year Ahead." One apparently essential report: U.S. drones are awesome.
The report--written by Mark Thompson, available to subscribers only explains that a "hot military trend" this way:
Today's generals and admirals want weapons that are smaller, remote-controlled and bristling with intelligence. In short, more drones that can tightly target terrorists, deliver larger payloads and are some of the best spies the U.S. has ever produced, even if they occasionally get captured in Iran or crash on landing at secret bases.
And also, you know, kill innocent civilians.
There's no time to dwell on that, because there are too many good things to say about our remote-control war. "Drones had a big year in 2011," Thompson writes, and 2012 will be even bigger. As Time readers learn, "Unlike humans, these weapons don't need sleep."
And best of all, apparently, the military aren't the only ones doing the killing:
America's arsenal has become so small and lethal, you don't need the U.S. Army--or any military service at all, in fact--to field and wield them. The CIA, which used to be limited to derringers and exploding cigars, is now not very secretly flying drones. With little public acknowledgment and minimal congressional oversight, these clandestine warriors have killed some 2,000 people identified as terrorists lurking in shadows around the globe since 9/11.
The British Bureau of Investigative Journalism's investigation of the CIA drone program in Pakistan (8/10/11) stressed less of the gee-whiz and more the real-life consequences of the attacks. Estimates of civilian deaths range from 390 to 780-- including almost 200 children. U.S. officials, for the record, were once making absurd claims that no innocents were killed.
As for the apparent enthusiasm for waging a war where "you don't need the U.S. Army" at all--that is precisely one of the criticisms of the drone program; some legal experts argue that non-military personnel are not legal combatants, and therefore killing every one of those 2,000 "people identified as terrorists" was a war crime. Others point out that employing drones outside an active combat zone could also violate international law. But none of that is "Essential Info" for 2012.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For several years I've had a recurring image. I'm in a foreign land and I'm approaching a well with an earthen vessel on my head. The tranquility of the drawing of the water and the filling of the vessel is pervasive, and reminds me somewhat of my many trips to the well in Hot Springs where I actually do draw my water. Then I turn to walk back to my home about 60 yards away but fairly soon a small white object appears in the sky and it also heads for my home. I drop my water and begin running and screaming my baby's name, but it is too late. The home becomes an incinerator for all that my life had been.

Above and beyond the horrors that a conventional war can bring, the use of drones violates human, animal and plant rights in ways that I could not even fathom existed before considering this subject. And all the while there remain the beginning presumptions that an American life is more valuable than the life of, well, any other human's life; and that the definition of collateral damage extends quite naturally to those humans who live anywhere but The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave. This is an extension of the war formula calculated after the Vietnam debacle, where the average American is purposely kept separated from the war effort so as to avoid any feelings of responsibility leading to consciously objecting and protesting.

We shall reap what we sow.

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)