Warfare continues to become more professional and dehumanized every day.

The purpose of Extraordinary Edition is being revisited for winter, headed into 2013. U.S. foreign policy, Central Asia and the Middle East remain key focal points. Economics and culture on your front doorstep are coming into focus here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A discussion between two people regarding U.S. drone strikes.

The individual who tipped ExEd off to the Newsy.com drone ethics debate video had this to say in referencing said video ...

"I agree with questioning the ethics in the use of UAV's. Drones are used to kill "the enemy," while the flyers of the drones are clear and out of any danger. It creates an unfair fight to be "hunted by robots," as you say. No longer is this man against man, but man against machine. It doesn't seem fair for the civilians that lose their lives to this kind of sneak-attack warfare ..."

"The video debates the recent drone attacks in Pakistan. It debates the effectiveness of the drones in finding the enemy, and whether they working to resolve conflicts or just create more anger and hate. The failed Time Square bombing by Faisal Shahzad obviously answers this question. The drone attacks in Pakistan directly influenced his decision to bomb Time Square. He certainly cannot be the only example of this, as I am sure similar images of hate is simmering in the minds of other people who have lost family members to US attacks."

These thoughtful and concerned comments prompted my response, which after writing, I thought worthwhile to share with everyone else here--

"You raise a notion I don't think gets any play at all in the media. You hear an argument that goes, "Attacking civilians in regions where terrorists lives inevitably gives rise to recruitment of more terrorists and attacks like Times Square and the Detroit Christmas attempt." This one sort of fades into the din of "We must stop the terrorists at all costs, never letting up at any point in the day," which is more like what our servicemen and women get to hear all the time.

What you do not hear is a theory or line of reasoning that goes, 'Terrorists [those who use violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims--Oxford English Dictionary] use their precious resources to strike where they can, when they can based on the support they have from populations outside their group dependent on public opinion and recent developments. They cannot strike anywhere they want whenever they want.' What happens when that public support dwindles to a whisper and their resources dry up too far for them to raise airfare for one person beyond 500 miles? These ideas you do not see in the media much of anywhere.

The drone ethics debate, as you've seen, is highly marginalized at present. Why is the debate relegated to blips on the horizon of mainstream media coverage and deep fringes of internet fora? There are reasons. Typical reasons but not necessarily good ones. Military actions are subsidized by taxpayer and citizen support, but they are not beholden to it. Most military actions are classified, and discussing troop movements publicly is speech unprotected by the First Amendment under the definition of sedition. But drone missions come with a special controversy: they are moved further and further from public purview. From U.S. military operations in Afghanistan away to JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command at the forward operating base in Bagram. From JSOC to the CIA. And we are told CIA agents have a different exposure to U.S. law than U.S. soldiers. And finally from the CIA, who administers the flights into Pakistan, to private contractors like Blackwater/Xe and similar companies, some of Pakistani and Afghan origin.

The way I see it, the push for accountability to the public on killing civilians in the hunt for terrorists whose "high value" is actually quite disputable, profiles of the victims doled out to the media on a need-to-know basis, has to come from the public.

If the public says, 'Drones kill bad guys, our soldiers don't come into harm's way,' then that's the world we live in now. I think it sounds like the last Terminator movie for reasons not rooted in science fiction. But that's my piece.

If the public says, 'I really don't want more women and children killed by unmanned missile strikes, no matter who you're targeting, because I wouldn't want that to happen to me or to my children,' then enough public outcry could actually get the drone program decommissioned and put a stop to some of this Fox News type spin with might-makes-right, the Empire will emerge victorious, the ends justify the means always and we're mandated by our God to win in the Middle East mindless silliness that keeps us damning the torpedoes and lodging U.S. presence further into central Asia and the Middle East with no end in sight."

I welcome readers to this discussion. If you feel moved to post a comment, please help continue the thread and thank you.

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