There is a certain "madness" that now reigns with our use of drones in conducting our war with terrorists. Of course it is not depicted that way by our political leaders. Essentially with them, we're the good guys and the "terrorists" are the bad guys. Whatever we do to pursue them anywhere, by whatever means at our disposal is the right thing to do. And the American public, according to polls seems to agree.
It appears only a few deep thinkers step back critically, analyze and contemplate what we're doing and how we're doing it.
There are the Scott Ritter's and Jeremy Scahill's and a some others who have written respectively about our quagmire in Afghanistan (Ritter) and our fighting an undeclared war in Pakistan (Scahill), but their keen-eyed analysis and investigations seem to have no impact on our decision makers, our president's and most members of Congress. Their warnings fall on deaf ears, where they should count the most.
Ritter, a former weapons inspector in Iraq, after the first Gulf War in 1991, knew from personal experience Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction at that time in January 2002 when President Bush announced (absurdly) Iraq was part of an "Axis of Evil" with Iran and North Korea. Bush and Cheney paid no heed to Ritter and others, determined as they were to invade Iraq and topple Saddam. Ritter was all but dismissed, particularly by Joe Biden, then the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Scahill, the author of "Blackwater: The World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army", and the first to expose Blackwater (now known as "Xe") and the outsized role this outfit plays as a Defense Department private contractor, first in Iraq, now in Afghanistan and more ominously and clandestinely in Pakistan.  Scahilll clearly sees the madness of our wars and how we conduct them using extralegal means to fight them.
These men (and other like minded observers) represent sanity and clear-eyed analysis, but to what avail?
President Obama has not only escalated the war in Afghanistan, (acceding to his military commanders requests by authorizing an additional 30,000 troops, adding to the 21,000 he approved shortly after coming into office) but has dramatically escalated the use of drones, particularly in the undeclared war in Pakistan. It is here where the "madness" of our war against terrorists has taken a dramatic leap.
These drones are unmanned and controlled by military personnel operating thousands of miles away in air conditioned command posts in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Using video monitors from satellite feeds, they spot suspected terrorists and with pinpoint precision obliterate the foe with the push of a button.
We've attained sanitized warfare, with no casualties from the drone attacks on our side and only "bad guys" taken out (or so we want to believe). Unfortunately, the reality is not so perfect. Through bad intelligence and misidentification of suspects there have been countless incidents where innocents have been killed and maimed by these strikes along with a few "bad guys" (dutifully reported by our main stream media). Officially we regret (dismiss?) these errors as "collateral damage", itself a sanitized term supposedly depicting an "innocent "mistake, rather than the murder of innocent people. The reasoning (excuse?) offered is "We take extra care in avoiding these casualties". But the truth is we could care less about innocents being killed by drone attacks as long as we're able to kill the "bad guys" [In Pakistan in 2009, the ratio of civilians to alleged terrorists killed was 140 to 1 editor.]
Since this sanitized form of warfare, initiated by Bush, aroused no public outcry by the American people (and though fiercely opposed by the Pakistani people, it is apparently secretly agreed to by the Pakistani government, but denied publically), the Obama administration has seen fit to dramatically increase the drone attacks.
The point being, there is certain "madness" to it all. That Pakistan is a sovereign country we are officially not at war with, but where we clandestinely conduct a not so secret war, is not only just routinely reported but elicits no questioning by the media, is astonishing. They just stenographically report these drone strikes as if they constitute "normal" military activity and are accepted as nothing unusual. And supposedly, so does the American public.
In another era, at the height of the Viet Nam War, when Nixon approved the clandestine bombing of Cambodia (a country we were not at war), going after Viet Cong guerillas (they weren't called "terrorists" in those days) there was a massive public outcry and demonstrations against this obvious illegal escalation of that now long ago war.
Today our escalation into Pakistan elicits hardly a murmur. We seem to have become callous, so numb to war that what was once considered unacceptable, is accepted as just another phase, with our use of drones, just a new technological innovation in our war against terrorists.
Regrettably, when our killing of innocents (in a country we're supposedly not at war) and our commitment to using drone warfare beamed from satellite images (that simulate video game warfare) are accepted by otherwise sane people as nothing unusual and "normal", then sanity has been replaced by "madness". And if that consciousness elicits nothing more than a yawn, a passive blink of the eye or a shrug, something is terribly wrong.
1 | 2