Monday, December 3, 2012

Death From the Skies

There's nothing like a post on drones to get the week started off right, right?

I guess what gets me is that here we have yet another example of U.S. foreign policy that purports to make us safer, yet in the long run will have precisely the opposite effect. 

You know, like trashing Afghanistan and Iraq.  I said at the time and continue to say today, that whatever short-term objectives may arguably have been accomplished (and actually, I can't name one) get lost in the fact that we have now created an entire generation of people in the Middle East and elsewhere who will hate us forever.  Hate us to the extent that they would be willing to die themselves to get back at us.

That's not a recipe for long-term world peace.

Yesterday I read a drone piece (Obama Breaks the Golden Rule on Drones) that articulated this problem quite well, and couched it in terms that I get.  "Golden Rule" here is not some monetary precept, it's the Biblical Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

When Pakistan's Foreign Minister was asked why so many people in Pakistan hate America, she responded simply, "Drones."

But the reality is Americans really don't have much to fear when it comes to terrorism. Every year for the past decade, more people have died from slipping in their bathtubs just here in the United States than have been killed by Islamic terrorists worldwide...which has to be making bathtub manufacturers a little nervous.

But the greatest tragedy in this drone war is how we've forgotten the most basic moral principle of all: the Golden Rule - "Treat others as you wish to be treated." It applies not just to preschoolers but also to global superpowers.

What if a known terrorist affiliated with Basque Separatists was riding in a car down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and a Spanish drone flying above the city launched a hell-fire missile - obliterating the car, killing and injuring dozens of nearby civilians, and leaving a giant crater in the middle of a busy Manhattan street. Do you really think Americans would say, "Well, those drone things sure are a nice, tidy way to fight terrorists"?

The piece goes on to basically say, you reap what you sow.  As drone technology becomes more ubiquitous, scenarios like that Manhattan one above are not only plausible but likely.

You should read the whole post.  It'll make you, well, sad is probably the best word, about our pursuit of short-term objectives at the expense of the moral high ground in the long-term.  


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