Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Thorn Of Drones

I spent years trying to help a friend pull an emotional thorn out of his hand. Finally I discovered that the thorn that was hurting him was growing from his hand. He was born in pain. He lived in pain so he could know he was living. He caused pain.

Drones that kill are such a thorn. They hurt the sender and the recipient. They inspire retaliation. Their use is not clean.

Last spring, in a graduation speech at the War College, President Obama said that the military is becoming more and more obsolete and that it is being replaced by the NSA and drones, which accomplish the same goals at a fraction of the cost.

A week later, the Snowden material began to be released, and the NSA was no longer a secret. The NSA became an object to be investigated. Its compromise of our liberty may not be worth the extra security it brings. In recent weeks, America's use of drones has been similarly targeted. Drones have flaws. They hurt people we don't want to hurt.

Perhaps the saddest result of drone warfare is that a drone-fired missile kills not only the individual who is targeted, it kills everyone around him as well. Civilians are killed.

There are growing calls to end the use of drones. Targeted killings by the military are beginning to undercut the efforts of the State Department to make peace. The deaths of people who are blithely killed by desk jockeys playing a computer game in a country far away cause damage to our greater effort.

Just as the flow of news about the NSA is reining in their excesses, so may the story of America's self-destructive use of drones rein in the excesses of targeted killing. Here is a blog about drones that I just started, something to collect links to the unfolding story. It is called   The Thorn Of Drones.

I hope that peaceful means can serve to make a more peaceful world. Killing by drone is not a peaceful means. It does not bring peace.

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