I Just Don’t Care About Drones
I’ll make this quick since I’m trying to recover from a painful visit to the dentist at the moment and will likely short out my laptop by drooling on it.
God bless Cesca for taking a reasonable and nuanced approach to the subject of the DOJ memo on the justification for drone strikes and the ongoing use of the drones themselves. God bless him because I’m glad he’s putting forth the effort and trying to carefully dissect an issue that’s much more complex than many seem to be willing to acknowledge. God bless him because he’s doing it so I don’t have to — which is good seeing as how I genuinely don’t give a crap about drones strikes or the legality or illegality of killing Americans who’ve taken up arms against the U.S.
During the lead-up to the 2012 election, I went on more than a few tears against single-issue voters — the people who were so obsessed with one pet injustice that they were willing to ignore political reality and sacrifice a generally good thing on the altar of the perfection they demanded. I get that a lot of educated voters have one or two sine qua non issues in mind when considering a candidate to represent them and this country, but to throw everything out the window just to make a point — one that can potentially have unintended, incredibly damaging consequences — makes you no better at problem-solving than a three-year-old. If you’re anywhere left-of-center on the political spectrum and agreed with a lot of what Barack Obama was doing but just couldn’t vote for him because he hadn’t done enough for marijuana legalization, or hadn’t taken what you considered a firm enough stance on gay marriage, or allowed for the use of drone technology in killing America’s enemies, you need to reorganize your priorities — especially considering what a Romney administration would’ve looked like.
Personally, I don’t spend as much time as many on the left do fretting over and occasionally shrieking about America’s supposedly illegal drone war and what some see as our adventures in imperial assassination. I’ve said this before but this is one of those times when it’s worth repeating: I have a limited reservoir of outrage and therefore I have to be judicious about how I spread it around. While I absolutely acknowledge the dangerous ground we’re treading on by authorizing the killing of American citizens without due process — there’s no doubt that eventually an administration I have less faith in than the current president’s will get the keys to the drones — I simply don’t get worked up to the point of spending countless hours and pages of copy railing against it. As Cesca said yesterday, there’s precedent for what Obama’s doing and beyond that it’s difficult to defend those who’ve decided to join Al Qaeda and wage war against the United States, even if they happen to be American citizens.
Drones are nothing more than the next advancement in combat technology. While there are ethical considerations when it comes to the use of them, as there were with all weapons that came before them, they’re no more dangerous than anything else we’ve created to kill each other over the millennia. They can be scary in the sense that they remove the risk to those using them to wage war — and there will absolutely come a time when they’re smaller, faster and are used more and more here at home — but you simply can’t stop technological progress. Attempting to regulate it is one thing; fighting it tooth and nail is something else entirely. Drones are here to stay so you’d better get used to them. If screenwriter David Goyer, who penned the story for Black Ops II, is correct in his vision of the not-too-distant future, a sizable portion of our military air defenses will eventually be unmanned.
So, no, I just don’t spend my nights awake in a cold sweat wondering whether the Obama administration is going to send a Hellfire missile from a drone through my bedroom window. And I damn sure don’t worry about whether he or anyone else — Democrat or Republican — is going to do the same to someone who’s chosen to join an enemy of the United States overseas. Those enemies are going to have to be taken out one way or another and a drone often beats sending in thousands of ground troops or even a handful of special forces.
You want to pitch a fit about drones and kill lists? Be my guest. I’m sure it’ll cost me my “Liberal Injustice Fighter” merit badge, but I sincerely am not willing to freak the hell out over either subject.
March 5th, 2015