And so now the United States has determined that it is Vital and Necessary to establish and enforce tight and binding international Rules for the use of drones.
President Barack Obama, who vastly expanded U.S. drone strikes against terrorism suspects overseas under the cloak of secrecy, is now openly seeking to influence global guidelines for their use as China and other countries pursue their own drone programs.
The United States was the first to use unmanned air-craft fitted with missiles to kill militant suspects in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
But other countries are catching up. China’s interest in unmanned aerial vehicles was displayed in November at an air show. According to state-run newspaper Global Times, China had considered conducting its first drone strike to kill a suspect in the 2011 murder of 13 Chinese sailors, but authorities decided they wanted the man alive so they could put him on trial.
“People say what’s going to happen when the Chinese and the Russians get this technology? The president is well aware of those concerns and wants to set the standard for the international community on these tools,” said Tommy Vietor, until earlier this month a White House spokesman.
As U.S. ground wars end—over in Iraq, drawing to a close in Afghanistan—surgical counterterrorism targeting has become “the new normal,” Vietor said.
Amid a debate within the U.S. government, it is not yet clear what new standards governing targeted killings and drone strikes the White House will develop for U.S. operations or propose for global rules of the road.
Obama’s new position is not without irony. The White House kept details of drone operations—which remain largely classified—out of public view for years when the U.S. monopoly was airtight.
This is typical. One need only consider very recent history. Such as when the United States enjoyed a monopoly, or near-monopoly, in nuclear weapons, at which time it felt no need to establish any nuke rules at all.
And, indeed, that nation’s premier serial killers—a.k.a. “generals”—wished, and fervently urged, at various times, that there be nuke-rain-down-on-thee in Japan, the Soviet Union, Korea, China, Vietnam . . . even the freaking Moon.
They got their way, did the serial killers, in Japan. But never after. Nor, in their thereafter everafter lust to later nuke-rain the Soviet Union (multiple times), Cuba, Afghanistan, etc., and on to the present day: Iran. Always, one of more civilians, tethered to the ball of sanity, have blocked them in their way.
Useful news, for those who perceive Reality through that glass-darkly straw in which the boys in the serial-killer blues forever get their way.
Anyway. Once humans not interned in the dirt-patch known as “the United States” began possessing nuclear weapons, suddenly a Great Flap swept across the American land, and it became at once Right and Meet that many and myriad Rules be established, to prevent non-’Mericans from getting themselfs a nuke, or, worse, Wrongly using one.
This is why, these days, every time you look at the news, there is something about Iran or North Korea. Something where some American is leaping and shrieking and running around with his or her hair on fire. Because some humans in these countries—Iran or North Korea—may be thinking about getting theyselves a nuke. And the US, sitting on more nukes than Midas has gold, and still the only country ever to use one to wantonly and needlessly and insanely incinerate hundreds of thousands of people, says This Cannot Be.
Decree of the US being: “I got mine. None, is yours.”
Now, I guess, we must gird our loins to eternally recur through this same sort of nonsense with drones.