From that point, it was inevitable that the world would see the further depersonalization of war, leading to such devices as torpedoes and bombs, which allow humans to avoid having to face the enemy du jour. The firestorm over Dresden and the atomic bombing of Japan became Twentieth Century symbols of such escalation. The horror of September 11, 2001, and far-too-many other atrocities, demonstrate that the Twenty-First Century has become the Era of Terrorism, a new kind of war, requiring new tactics of both offense and defense. So, welcome to today's Drone Warfare!
There are undoubtedly justifiable uses for unmanned drones, piloted by operators hundreds or even thousands of miles away: surveillance, intelligence-gathering, and even some uses in combat. Certainly, other things being equal, it is far better for we "good guys" to use such drones in place of planes with live pilots, which can be shot out of the skies by a variety of weapons. It is indeed argued that such drones are lifesaving devices and are thus fully justified.
Then why, one may ask, was the United States Senate recently confronted with an old-fashioned filibuster led by Kentucky's Senator Rand Paul, intended to block the confirmation of a new director of the Central Intelligence Agency until America's policy on War by Drone was clarified and amended to prevent targeted killings of Americans in the United States itself? Could it be that the ambiguity of our Attorney General's response to Senator Paul on this matter led to that symbolic protest action against an improper -- indeed unconstitutional -- use of unmanned drones? Could it be that the lack of due process in such targeted killings, which involve no judicial determination of any guilt, is abhorrent to the basic principles on which this nation was founded, and which supposedly still guide our path? Answer: all of the above.
Yes, our uninspiring Attorney General tried to weasel out by claiming that the United States has no intention of using unmanned drone aircraft to take out suspected "enemies of the State." Yes, our Attorney General stated that such actions would only be considered as a last resort in the face of imminent serious threats. Yet, we are on a very slippery slope if targeted assassinations by drone are to be used under any circumstances. The erosion of our constitutional protections of due process, fair treatment, judicial determinations, and innocence until proven guilty, are blatant and should be unacceptable in any supposedly-civilized nation.
War has been worsened by depersonalization for millennia. Moving to this next level of War by Drone Killings is a despicable escalation of a trend which began with the bow and arrow -- and for which there is no end in sight, except perhaps the end of any semblance of a humane humanity.