Thank you for stopping by for a visit. You are invited to read and comment on anything posted on this blog. I advocate the maximum amount of Personal and Economic Liberty, consistent with the defense of individual rights. I am fiscally conservative yet socially tolerant, I favor lower taxes, free trade, individual rights, strong national defense and limited government. I subscribe to the Freedom Fighters Creed: I am an American Patriot, defender of the Constitution, First Principles and Essential Liberty.

I believe that buried deep down inside every Conservative you'll find a Libertarian - And Inside Every Liberal Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out.

"One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" - Plato

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Friday, June 8, 2012

On The Mind of a Drone Strike Operator

On Wednesday, wire services reported that 18 civilians were killed in a pre-dawn airstrike in eastern Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai blasted the NATO strike, pointing out that the U.S. government would have a hard time explaining the vans filled with the dead bodies of women and children that local villagers displayed for reporters. This latest example of civilians caught in the crossfire of America's Long War got a few mentions in the papers and on TV, but it didn't inspire much outrage.
And yet it occurred in the middle of a heated debate in Washington and around the country about drone strikes and President Obama's personal involvementin the military's so-called “kill lists.”  
Why do conventional airstrikes seem to draw so little attention. while drone attacks arouse paroxysms of anger among war critics and many progressives? Is there a moral difference between dropping ordnance from a manned aircraft thousands of feet above a target and firing a Hellfire missile remotely from thousands of miles away in a CIA cubicle? It's hard to come by credible figures comparing casualties that result from these two methods of attack. But there's little doubt that drones, with their ability to linger over targets for hours and even days, are the more precise form of weaponry.
So why this "fetishization" of drones, as Bill Roggio, the editor of a website that tracks targeted killings, puts it? One reason may be that people feel uncomfortable targeting individuals for death. There's something particularly ghoulish about the specter of a president going over a hit list and personally choosing targets for execution. (The reality with Obama is far more complex and reassuring. He has acted more as a constraint on military killings than as a catalyst.) There are debates within legal circles about the ethical propriety of carrying out these state-sponsored targeted strikes, and whether the U.S. should be developing norms for an emergent type of warfare whose popularity is only growing. Then there's the technology itself. People are fascinated by drones; the precision of their lethality makes them seem more sinister than conventional weaponsCONTINUE READING 

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