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Saturday, April 23, 2011

War makers’ drone effect cold blooded all round

Expendables cast over here, over there
Editing, comment by Carolyn Bennett

“Despite a pledge to draw down the U.S. role in Libya,” Free Speech Radio News reported yesterday, “the Obama Administration has authorized the use of armed drones and the military says they’re going ahead with strikes” on yet another sovereign country.

Expendable — more easily or economically replaced 
than rescued, salvaged, or protected 
[Merriam Webster] 


Drones are ‘uniquely suited for … urban areas where you can get low collateral damage.’

“Collateral damage,” FSRN explains, “is the well-known military euphemism for civilian deaths.”  Nevertheless, the military man says, though “‘we’re trying to manage … collateral damage, obviously, that’s  [drones are] the best platform to do that with; their extended persistence on the target …’” General James Cartwright of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was speaking Thursday at a press conference.

Those opposing the U.S.’s deepening and remote war on Libya point out that “the use of armed drones oversteps the U.S. role in Libya. Others point to the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan that has led to many civilian deaths” and raised the ire of Pakistani leaders and civilians. However, war makers’ continue casting expendables.


“Only in America,” reporter John Grant writes this week in This Can’t be Happening, can someone in a flight suit in an air-conditioned room watch television screens following people unaware, going about their business 10,000 miles away. Then, on orders from another person sipping diet drink in another air-conditioned room, turn those distant human beings into exploded pieces of steaming flesh and waste. The drone monitor and the orders-giver then leave offices and drive home to dinner.

“Under the reigning myth of American Exceptionalism,” Grant writes, “whatever Americans do is right and good because they are Americans; and, more important, because they have the most lethal weapons on the planet, up to and including the R and D marvel  of the Afghanistan War: lethal drone technology.…”

The most critical aspect of the scene does not end with secret technology, he says. What is more troubling in this context is “the mental human condition of men and presumably women [our expendables] who must ponder the moral implications of their sanitized, remote brand of warfare. Though removed from the fray, drone pilots are still part of the tactical aspects of war.”  They and their physically vulnerable colleagues on the ground in Afghanistan are “doing their jobs”  — as are “insurgents” who see U.S. soldiers deployed in Afghanistan as “foreign” adversaries they want out of their country and are “doing their jobs” killing U.S. soldiers before being killed themselves.

The war makers’ drone effect is indeed cold-blooded all round.

Sources and notes

“Critics say the U.S. use of armed drones in Libya oversteps the UN mandate” News Segments Friday April 22, 2011, http://fsrn.org/audio/critics-say-us-use-armed-drones-libya-oversteps-un-mandate/8403

“Hedging, Delusion and Dishonesty in Afghanistan” (John Grant, Copyright © 2011 This Can't Be Happening), April 20, 2011, http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/571

John Grant is a writer/photographer living just outside Philadelphia’s city limits. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and has published in fiction and non-fiction.


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