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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/6/10

The "Madness" of Drone Warfare

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These drones are unmanned and controlled by military personnel operating thousands of miles away in air conditioned command posts in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Using video monitors from satellite feeds, they spot suspected terrorists and with pinpoint precision obliterate the foe with the push of a button.

We've attained sanitized warfare, with no casualties from the drone attacks on our side and only "bad guys" taken out (or so we want to believe). Unfortunately, the reality is not so perfect. Through bad intelligence and misidentification of suspects there have been countless incidents where innocents have been killed and maimed by these strikes along with a few "bad guys" (dutifully reported by our main stream media). Officially we regret (dismiss?) these errors as "collateral damage", itself a sanitized term supposedly depicting an "innocent "mistake, rather than the murder of innocent people. The reasoning (excuse?) offered is "We take extra care in avoiding these casualties". But the truth is we could care less about innocents being killed by drone attacks as long as we're able to kill the "bad guys" [In Pakistan in 2009, the ratio of civilians to alleged terrorists killed was 140 to 1 editor.]

Since this sanitized form of warfare, initiated by Bush, aroused no public outcry by the American people (and though fiercely opposed by the Pakistani people, it is apparently secretly agreed to by the Pakistani government, but denied publically), the Obama administration has seen fit to dramatically increase the drone attacks.

The point being, there is certain "madness" to it all. That Pakistan is a sovereign country we are officially not at war with, but where we clandestinely conduct a not so secret war, is not only just routinely reported but elicits no questioning by the media, is astonishing. They just stenographically report these drone strikes as if they constitute "normal" military activity and are accepted as nothing unusual. And supposedly, so does the American public.

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In another era, at the height of the Viet Nam War, when Nixon approved the clandestine bombing of Cambodia (a country we were not at war), going after Viet Cong guerillas (they weren't called "terrorists" in those days) there was a massive public outcry and demonstrations against this obvious illegal escalation of that now long ago war.

Today our escalation into Pakistan elicits hardly a murmur. We seem to have become callous, so numb to war that what was once considered unacceptable, is accepted as just another phase, with our use of drones, just a new technological innovation in our war against terrorists.

Regrettably, when our killing of innocents (in a country we're supposedly not at war) and our commitment to using drone warfare beamed from satellite images (that simulate video game warfare) are accepted by otherwise sane people as nothing unusual and "normal", then sanity has been replaced by "madness". And if that consciousness elicits nothing more than a yawn, a passive blink of the eye or a shrug, something is terribly wrong.

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