A friend asked if I could “refute” an article about drones published by “Responsible Statecraft,” and I’m not really sure I can. If an article were to oppose certain types of rape or torture or animal cruelty or environmental destruction but build in the assumption that one simply must have those things, albeit reformed versions of them, I couldn’t refute the need to oppose the particular atrocities. I could, however, question the assumption that that was good enough.
And if people who were paid to support the torture of kittens argued against doing so without gloves on, I could recommend getting the view of someone not paid to think that way, especially for publication on a website dedicated to opposing the torture of kittens (with or without gloves on).
Of course, there are some false beliefs built into the worldview represented by the article linked above, but there’s also the basic worldview that accepts murder, at least if it’s done by missile from robot plane.
It’s, not coincidentally, a worldview that goes along with Blobthought so thoroughly that it imagines “Over the Horizon” to be a part of “daily parlance” because somebody at the White House thought it was a good new phrase for obfuscating the blowing up of human beings in other countries.
It’s, also not coincidentally, a worldview that ignores the existence of laws, the laws against murder to be found in every nation on earth, and the laws against war to be found in the Hague Convention of 1907, the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, the United Nations Charter of 1945, the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
It’s a worldview that necessarily distinguishes large-scale terrorism from poor-man’s terrorism, re-labeling the former as “counter-terrorism.”
It gets into factual trouble when it claims that its so-called counter-terrorism prevents or reduces or eliminates terrorism, and when it suggests that drone murders conducted in places where troops are on the ground murder the right people and succeed in not being counter-productive in the way that drone murders conducted elsewhere tend to be.
It perpetuates a gross media myth when it suggests that the drone murders in Kabul that became news just as the U.S. was removing troops from Afghanistan were different — not because the “ending” of the war was news and the location was in the capital — but because thousands of other drone murders all killed the proper people and didn’t generate more enemies than they killed.
It inverts reality when it depicts blowing up more people in Afghanistan with missiles as a public service and suggests that France should share part of the burden of providing it.
The reality, of course, has been decades of endless drone murders, including “signature strikes” and “double taps” targeting mostly unidentified people and sometimes identified people who could easily have been arrested had there not been a preference for murdering them and anyone nearby them. Daniel Hale is in prison, not for revealing a proper wholesome murder program that’s now been tarnished by withdrawing beyond the “horizon,” but for exposing the reckless sadism of drone war.
Were drone murders not already counterproductive on their own terms, we would not have had so many just-retired U.S. military officials denouncing them for being so. Maybe “Responsible Statecraft” should wait for military employees to retire before publishing their propaganda. A CIA report found its own drone murder program counter-productive. A CIA Bin Laden Unit Chief said the more the United States fights terrorism the more it creates terrorism. A former Director of National Intelligence wrote that while “drone attacks did help reduce the Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, they also increased hatred of America.” A former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff maintained that “We’re seeing that blowback. If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.” Both General Stanley McChrystal and a former UK Special Representative to Afghanistan claim that every killing generates 10 new enemies. Former Marine Officer (Iraq) and former US Embassy Officer (Iraq and Afghanistan) Matthew Hoh concludes that military escalation is “only going to fuel the insurgency. It’s only going to reinforce claims by our enemies that we are an occupying power, because we are an occupying power. And that will only fuel the insurgency. And that will only cause more people to fight us or those fighting us already to continue to fight us.”
Of course, terrorism predictably increased from 2001 through 2014, principally as a predictable result of the war on terrorism. And 95% of all suicide terrorist attacks are indefensible crimes conducted to encourage foreign occupiers to leave the terrorist’s home country. That a non-counter-productive approach is possible has been proven many times. For example, on March 11, 2004, Al Qaeda bombs killed 191 people in Madrid, Spain, just before an election in which one party was campaigning against Spain’s participation in the U.S.-led war on Iraq. The people of Spain voted the Socialists into power, and they removed all Spanish troops from Iraq by May. There were no more bombs in Spain. This history stands in strong contrast to that of Britain, the United States, and other nations that have responded to blowback with more war, generally producing more blowback.
The “successful” drone war on Yemen predictably helped generate a more traditional war on Yemen. The successful marketing of killer drones has led to the acquisition of military drones by over 100 national governments. One can’t help but wonder whether everyone on Earth agrees on which people are the proper people to blow up and which are the improper ones.