Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Whole Drone Strikes Thing

Let's get to it: it's late, and this subject makes me unusually sober and antagonistic. No real polished writing or sympathy to my detractors here.

So people have been whining about the U.S.'s drone attacks in Pakistan, and I honestly don't understand why. I'm not taking a side here; my position is only that if people are going to be okay with our traditional military strategies, then it makes no sense to be against drone strikes. Nothing about these strikes poses any unprecedented moral breach in military conduct.

Here's the fact of the matter: the military is, by design, an industry of death. It specializes specifically in the murdering of people, and no amount of Memorial Day euphemisms will change that. What is so different about sending unmanned aircraft to slaughter our enemies then sending U.S. citizens in aircraft to slaughter our enemies?

People usually point to the fact that these drone strikes cause civilian casualties. Pardon me, but so fucking what? Civilian casualties have always been a part of war. And they're not a part of war because soldiers are reckless and civilian casualties happen unintentionally, but because soldiers are given orders with full knowledge that their actions will inevitably result in civilian casualties. If we're going to be a society that regards military action as acceptable, we're going to have to shut up about hurting civilians, because of the simple fact that armies aren't on the side of the civilians; their intent is to eliminate the enemy.

Sure, the U.N. complained about the U.S. not recording civilian casualties and not giving civilians information about casualties. This may be tangential, but these complaints, along with the whole concept of war-crimes, seems to me disingenuous. It seems like this whole enterprise of deciding what is "acceptable" and what is "unacceptable" behavior in war is an attempt by people who must know, to a degree, that war is a morally problematic enterprise to manage their cognitive dissonance. Sure, dying to napalm is equivalent to torture, but so is spending days dying to gun wounds.

I may expand on this later, but I'm tired.

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