The (Keep ‘Em) Coming of the Drones
The thorny issue of the CIA’s use of drone warfare was the focus of CODEPINK’s recent conference in D.C. last week. Humanitarians, journalists, activists, lawyers, and technology experts all came together to discuss the “widespread and rapidly expanding deployment of both lethal and surveillance drones, including drone use in the United States.”
Although drones, which are used in Yemen, Gaza, Pakistan and Afghanistan, deserve a lengthy analysis, I’m just going to mention some interesting points (for now).
- Medea Benjamin, author of “Drones: Killing by Remote Control”, described the two kinds of strikes: “personality” strikes are aimed at a hit-list of specific people, while “signature” strikes are aimed at anyone displaying suspicious behavior-carrying weapons or being in a group that could be classified as militants (according to Benjamin). She continues to describe surveillance drones, used right now in the U.S. experimentally by certain police departments. They’ll be on our way into our airspace soon, and then, “get ready for another level of surveillance.”
- The United States, Israel, and China, are the world’s largest producers (and users, with respect to the U.S. and Israel) of drones.
- Obama, along with White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, openly defend the use of drones, because well, what could be a better alternative? “Obama and his advisers ‘are very mindful’ that as the first nation to regularly conduct strikes using remotely piloted aircraft, ‘we are establishing precedents that other nations may follow and not all of them will be nations that share our interests or the premium we put on protecting human life, including innocent civilians,’ Brennan said.” Make of that what you will, but It sounds as if he’s defending the current situation while fending off blame for future mishaps. Are we getting ahead of ourselves? It’s a bit terrifying to think, maybe not.