Drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants; in his 2010 guilty plea, Faisal Shahzad, who had tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, justified targeting civilians by telling the judge, “When the drones hit, they don’t see children.”
We are fighting “Muslim Extremist” we are told. People who want to kill American’s because we are rich and free. They hate us because we are Christians. The people in the middle east are insane, violent, and hateful. That’s why they tell us we are at war – with terrorism.
We have so successfully taken the human element out of battle that it barely touches our heart. We barely find even the most mild of interest in the headlines. “12 killed by Drones in Pakistan”, “Drone strike on Iran border”, and the list goes on. We are killing terrorist, not humans, we are at war with terrorism, not people, and killing is as easy as a video game when young men fly missiles into the homes of our enemy even with their family inside – I guess killing children doesn’t serve to radicalize anyone. Right?
War should be gruesome, grotesque, and bloody. That only serves to remind the people how horrible it is. When we take those elements out – the wars never end, the killing never ends.
Plus – other countries are watching. What future effect does our actions have?
Justly or not, drones have become a provocative symbol of American power, running roughshod over national sovereignty and killing innocents. With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.
People are people. People are motivated by survival, anger, and the need to take action. It is all too easy to blame terrorism on religion. “They are Muslim’s who hate Christians and Jews.” Is that really the case? Even if it is true for a very select few – how much easier is the United States making it on their recruitment efforts?
Would you rise up against your enemy if a Drone strike killed your wife and children, destroyed your home, evaded your lands?
How many terrorist attacks have their been in Japan or Costa Rica – two countries without a military? Think about it.
There have been at least 2000 deaths (publicly acknowledged by the government) since 2004 caused by Drone attacks. Estimated loss of civilian life is unknown.
Loss of Liberty in America
It is foolish to believe that militarism has not harmed us at home as well. We have given up an almost infinite amount of privacy and liberty to aid our “war on terror”.
The Patriot act made it legal for the Government to invade our privacy – all in the name of safety. How many years will that legislation haunt us after the fighting is over? As we speak American citizens are being murdered without trial when they found themselves on the President’s “Kill List”.
Even if they are criminals – which I am sure many are – can we really justify the death of an American citizen without trial? Can we justify blatant violations of the constitution? What presidence does this set for future use by the military? Who makes these decisions, who decides if you are an enemy, who has that right if not the people themselves? A trial by one’s peers is the only justice. Is it not true that our liberties are most important to us in times of war than in times of peace? We must uphold them not when it is easy, but when it is most difficult!
What about the Long Term?
Mr. Blair, the former director of national intelligence, said the strike campaign was dangerously seductive. “It is the politically advantageous thing to do — low cost, no U.S. casualties, gives the appearance of toughness,” he said. “It plays well domestically, and it is unpopular only in other countries. Any damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term.”
Will our children be better off because of this war? Will drone attacks help the world in the long run? Is this a popular ploy that keeps American casualties low and pole numbers high – yet makes death tolerable and other countries despise us? These are important questions for our future. Before you support the war effort decide for yourself what type of future our actions are building. Is this a war for a means to an end or perpetual – will killing and war be like maintenance on a car. Necessary to maintain our spending and superpower status? I think you know the truth already.
Peace is sustainable, War is not
$1,452,000,000,000 in direct spending. That doesn’t include loss of productivity at home, life, indirect costs, other Government agencies like the FBI, CIA, and more.
Countries overstretch, go bankrupt, make enemies they either have to destroy completely or fight with forever, powerful countries become weak from war, and are eventually overtaken by the strong. That will be are fate if we cannot end this perpetual war.
It’s not like the days of antiquity either – when two kings could meet in the battlefield and come to a peace agreement and end it all. Rather we have made enemies, many of them, spread across the world. There is no single person we can come to an agreement with to end the fighting.
Rather our only strategy can be a long term peace strategy. We must build rapport, respect, and trust with our enemies in hope we one day become friends. Without that we will suffer the same fate as all other great empires.
Summary – A Foreign Policy of Peace
If you are a conservative that supports the war consider these facts:
1. It is a fallacy that terrorism is born out of Islam. The truth is their religion unites them with commonality and their hatred, anger, and radicalization is developed over time.
2. We are breeding a culture of radicalization and anti-Americanism in countries abroad. More war will only breed more war. Peace is the only option to stop this process.
3. The use of Drones is immoral. It desensitizes us from the cost of taking a life and makes us look insensitive to the rest of the world. It also establishes a precedence for other world powers.
4. The short term cost of this War is costly.
5. The long term cost of this War is even more costly. (perpetual war, perpetual enemies, bankruptcy, the fall of an empire, radicalization)
6. The loss of Liberties at home is happening now – using “the war on terror” as an excuse.
7. We are setting an example for other nations.
8. A strong national defense without nation building is more ethical, cheaper, and sustainable than what we have now.
9. Peace is sustainable.
This post was inspired and in partial response to Canadian Rattlesnake.