Drone Who Thou Wilt Is The Whole Of The Law

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 o noez! chinese drones!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 let's bombUnion (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.

It is far too late, now, to stop drones. That moment has passed.

That moment occurred when the US government first began relying heavily upon them.

But, then, not many Americans seemed much interested. Apparently, other things were going on. Maybe on American Idol.

Drones are wunderbar to American policymakers because they delimit the shedding of blood that happens to flow round the bones of Americans.

As was observed here on red four years ago:

[Drones] follow[] the pattern of Democratic presidents since Vietnam. Loath to have the body bags of Americans dumped on their doorstep, they search for seemingly more fastidious ways to wage war. So Jimmy Carter responded to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan by financing and arming Islamic zealots from around the world, and Bill Clinton intervened in Kosovo by bombing—no ground troops allowed—Yugoslavia. As he gingerly seeks to withdraw troops from George II’s war in Iraq, and fend off a maddened hornet swarm of General Jack D. Rippers buzzing for Vietnam-era levels of troops in Afghanistan, Obama chooses to send waves of unmanned drones into the latter—and into an undeclared, but very real, war in Pakistan.

I’m not the only one who finds this sort of thing sick-making. [Jane] Mayer quotes former Army Ranger Andrew Exum, who says “there’s something about pilotless drones that doesn’t strike me as an honorable way of warfare.”

That it is not. Blowing Baitullah Mehsud off a rooftop in Pakistan, while he received medical treatment, killing him from an air-conditioned bunker some 8000 martyr here, martyr theremiles away, is, in my opinion, and as I’ve stated before, an act of cowardly back-shooting, akin to li’l Bobby Ford’s “targeted assassination” of Jesse James. Too, all it does, in Pakistan in 2009, as in Missouri in 1882, is make a martyr of the victim. And there is an axiom in war, as in all of human life, that what goes around comes around. The victims of unmanned drones, there in the poorest regions of Pakistan, of course do not have access to such sophisticated and fastidious technology. But then, such folks have proven they don’t need to. They are perfectly capable of transforming commercial airliners into drones of their own.

Now, they don’t need to. For nations all over the world are building drones. And, because the sickness of money uber alles currently infects the entire planet, those drones shall be sold to whomsoever can cough up the requisite cash.

Let’s pause for just a moment to examine just what it is we speak of when we speak of drones, at least that variety used as killing machines.

What we speak of is the New Normal in gutless cowardice.

As was set forth in the dread deleted diary:

Or, the US can continue to try, for a time, to gaspingly hang on, as glow-in-the-dark five-star cowardly back-shooters.

In the bent genealogy that trails from this:

—When the English introduced the longbow, French knights despised it. They believed that if you were going to kill a man, you should do it while looking into his eyes. The British were perfectly happy to take advantage of this French notion, which they considered quaint, because it allowed them to gobble up huge sections of the European continent, until the French too employed men who could kill from a distance.

To this:

—It was the British, in the years preceding WWII, who blocked international measures that would have barred the use of aircraft in warfare. As the wife of British “statesman” David Lloyd George noted in her diary on March 9, 1934:

At Geneva other countries would have agreed not to use aeroplanes for bombing purposes, but we insisted on reserving the right, as D. puts it, to bomb niggers! Whereupon the whole thing fell through[.]

To this:

—From their cockpit at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, the pilot and co-pilot are flying a pilotless Predator on a bombing mission over Afghanistan, 8,000 miles away. A forward air controller in another unmanned drone spots the target and the Predator bomber takes off under local control from Kandahar partyin Afghanistan. Minutes later, control of the bomber is handed over to satellite control in the cockpit at Creech.

Two hours later, the crew sees on the cockpit screen two suburban vehicles stop in front of the targeted mud-baked house. Half a dozen bearded men hurry into the dwelling that intelligence had spotted as a Taliban command post. Seconds later, the bombardier in Nevada squeezed the trigger and a 500-pound bomb flattened the Taliban dwelling with a direct hit.Watching the action on identical screens are CIA operators at Langley, Va., who can call in last-minute course corrections.

Their eight-hour mission over, pilot and co-pilot climb into their vehicles and drive home. Thirty minutes later, they are playing with their children.

Belatedly, some Americans started saying drones are maybe not such a good idea. In the last year or so, drones have even become something of a cause celebre in certain quadrants of what must pass for the American left.

And, indeed, recently the depressingly large not-very-bright contingent of said left had a veritable online organism when the dumb-as-dirt junior senator from Kentucky, Ayn Rand Paul, took to the floor of the Senate for a 13-hour “filibuster” in opposition to President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan. Said organism because, during his prolonged screed, Paul several times shed crocodile tears over the use of drones.

It was farcical to believe that Paul actually opposed drones—and indeed he does not, as his subsequent comments make very plain. For, like his father, Ron “Rugs” Paul, Ayn Rand Paul is a noted hater of black people. And drones could prove very useful in killing such people. As Ayn ayn rand paulRand Paul has since acknowledged:

“I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on,” Paul said. “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”

So much for Ayn Rand Paul’s “principled opposition” to drones.

No, the Ayn Rand Paul “filibuster” was never about drones. It was not even about Brennan. It was about hating the black man. This was clear through Paul’s many giggling references—three in less than five minutes on the Sean Klannity radio show—to the fact that his “filibuster” was the longest one to occupy the Senate since black-killer Strom Thurmond’s 24-hour jihad against the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The Civil Rights Act that black-hater Ayn Rand Paul opposes to this day.

So it goes.

Drones are anyway about to become fashionable, there in the US of A. As I noted here some three years ago, not only shall drones be utilized by law enforcement, but any citizen who wants one, may fly one, and all across the fruited plane.

Today, everyone who wants one, and can afford one, has a smartphone. Soon, everyone who wants one, and can afford one, shall have a drone.

Here they come:

Personal drones aren’t yet plying U.S. flyways. But an arms race is building among people looking to track celebrities, unfaithful lovers or even wildlife.

Drones now are associated with the unmanned Predator craft the Central Intelligence Agency uses to fire Hellfire missiles at militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. But the essential technology is increasingly available beyond military circles, and spreading fast. An unmanned aircraft that can fly a predetermined route costs a few hundred bucks to build and can be operated by iPhone.

“The military stuff is kind of passe,” [MIT professor Missy] Cummings said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist from MIT to tell you if we can do it for a soldier in the field, we can do it for anybody.” As a parent of a 3-year-old, she said, she could use the same technology to track her daughter on her way to school (she would need to plant an electronic bug in her lunch box or backpack). That would “bring a whole new meaning to a hover parent,” she said. Schools could even use drones for perimeter control.

But human nature being what it is, it won’t take long for the technology to be embraced for less noble ends. Could nosey neighbors everybody is a spyuse a drone to monitor who isn’t picking up after their dogs? “That’s possible,” said Henry Crumpton, a former top CIA counterterrorism official who is now chairman of a company that develops drones—including one that can take off vertically, fly through a window and hover silently over your breakfast table.

“The only thing you’re bounded by is your imagination—and the FAA in the United States,” he said.

[Raoul] Felder, [a New York] divorce lawyer, said clever attorneys will find ways to get around FAA restrictions, perhaps by claiming their drones are for personal use—a distinction that should steer clear of FAA rules.

“This thing would be totally legal. There’s no violation of anybody’s premises,” he said.

Ms. Cummings predicted it’s just a matter of time before drone technology and safety improvements make the gadgets a common part of the urban landscape.

Privacy issues could emerge if such drones become common. While the military has rules of engagement governing drone use, there is no similar set of rules to protect privacy for domestic use of drones.

“If everybody had enough money to buy one of these things, we could all be wandering around with little networks of vehicles flying over our heads spying on us,” Ms. Cummings said. “It really opens up a whole new Pandora’s Box of: What does it mean to have privacy?”

If that is what you want. That is what you will get.

Fly the friendly skies.

Drone reign o’er thee.


9 Responses to “Drone Who Thou Wilt Is The Whole Of The Law”

  1. 1 Alexa April 25, 2013 at 12:50 am

    my dear professor honeybee, i understand that getting laws passed through a Congress I can only call intransigent to any proposed law by this president or his administration has become virtually impossible. i am increasingly troubled by the shadow laws and DoJ memoranda, though.

    they may be (i’m not sure) the only avenue for getting things done in real, practical terms, but this is just . . . . i don’t even know the word. asustador? Jedi mind-meld? what are your thoughts?

    excellent essay, as always. much to contemplate and savor here.

  2. 2 Alexa April 25, 2013 at 12:54 am

    It’s simple. There’s nothing at all complicated about it.
    War—There won’t be war when you decide you won’t murder other human beings.

    –the Gospel of Kenneth Patchen, via blueness

  3. 4 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) April 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Back in the earlier days of the Iraq War I wished a few times that we’d just do assassination instead of invasion, because it would kill fewer people. But of course, our government would never just use drones instead of invasion, they use them in places where they don’t want to have to invade. So it’s just yet more death in addition to the *actual* wars.

    On a slightly lighter note, I was watching a documentary on Nostradamus the other day and heard this snippet:

    His hand finally by Alus bloody,
    unable to protect himself by sea:
    between two rivers he fears the military hand,
    the black angry one will make him repent.

    The machine of flying fire,(Of fire, flying the machine)
    comes to trouble the great, besieged chief:
    within there will be such treason,
    that those abandoned will despair.

    and David and I were kind of darkly laughing about Obama being the “black angry one” (the doc was actually from 2006, so it didn’t have any theories on who the passage referred to), which I thought was ridiculous because, as lefties like to lament, Obama never seems to get mad. But David pointed out that for people living in areas of the world frequented by “the machine of flying fire”, the “black angry one” probably seems apt.

    • 5 bluenred April 25, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      For some reason, when I first read the first line of Nostrildamus there, I read:

      “His hand finally by Anus bloody.”

      Kind of a gross image. : /

      • 6 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) April 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm

        It’s times like these I wish I didn’t automatically visualize everything I read…

        Who knows? Prophecy is kind of funny sometimes. Maybe the way you read it is closer to the original intention.

        • 7 bluenred April 26, 2013 at 10:56 am

          I have the same visualization problem. This is why I was so struck by the Nostrildamus “His hand finally by Anus bloody” line.

          The sort of thing that doesn’t really need to be written.

          • 8 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) April 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm

            So I get the visualization ability from you? Good to know. I thought it was just me.

            • 9 bluenred April 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm

              I don’t know if you get it from me.

              But it’s a nice gift, eh?

              True: sometimes it makes you see “his hand finally by Anus bloody.”

              But it also allows you—great gift—to see the Great Wide Open.

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