2/21/2013

Obama's Drones: Weapons of Convenience and Cowardice

Throughout the years in which Barack Obama has been the President of the United States, he has maintained a stealthy policy of using drones in Pakistan and Yemen, to carry out violent actions against scores of people who are described as "militants," a general designation that is applied (incorrectly and carelessly, in many cases) to any person who is regarded as posing a threat to the corporate interests of America. To the mind of a thoughtful observer, however, the deliberate use of drones (unmanned aircraft with loathsome powers, designed for the purpose of killing at a far remove, without harm to the distant killer) can never be viewed as anything other than completely wrong and patently murderous.

President Obama's drones are weapons of convenience and cowardice. In choosing to kill with drones, Mr. Obama is seeking, quite brazenly, to have it both ways: cravenly using American force to coldbloodedly murder the so-called enemies of America, but without having to encounter the uncomfortable problems that would ensue if American soldiers were put in danger. His choice of warfare by drone reveals him to be the worst kind of killer, a killer who lacks the courage to meet his supposed adversaries face to face. It is a well-known truth, of course, that many of the "militants" who are killed by drones in Pakistan and Yemen actually are women and children, but that evil truth has not stopped the killings from happening.

At the start of 2013, when Barack Obama began his second term as President, it was reliably reported, by a varied range of sources, that the surreptitious actions of American drones in Pakistan and Yemen had resulted in hundreds of civilians being killed. To those who dutifully guide Obama's drones by remote control, the entire process of striking at foreign targets is little more than a video game, sickeningly taken to a malign (and fatal) extreme. To President Obama, it is merely an expedient way of easily achieving his own abominable ends. In either instance, the use of drones is an utterly reprehensible policy that requires the heartless killing of defenseless people, and, as such, it necessarily demands a strong response of outspoken condemnation.

President Obama and his drones, with the unthinking support of the American public (particularly those shameless citizens who knowingly elected him twice), have taken us another step closer to a future of permanent war, a hateful and hopeless future in which acts of needless violence, brutally directed at civilians by a ruthless state, are constant and unquestioned. In the immoral context of such a future, human life will have only the slight value which is nominally assigned by remorseless leaders who are able to kill as openly and as frequently as they want, wherever and whenever they choose, without any fear of ever being held to account. It is a future that must be refused and resisted now, before it overtakes us.