A recent NewYork Times article about military drones had some ominous warnings about the technology getting out. Global Exchange Co-founder Kevin Danaher shares his thoughts on the subject.
Military Drones are the Opposite of Nature’s Drones
A drone in nature is “a stingless male bee that has the role of mating with the queen and does not gather nectar or pollen.”
But the drones used by the US military are certainly not stingless and they do create nectar, but it is the bitter nectar of hatred and resentment when we kill innocent bystanders in so many of our drone attacks.
Within US society, who benefits from people around the world hating us? Could it be the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us against? An imperial power structure based on formal democracy must have a credible threat to justify spending so much taxpayer money on weapons that are ineffective against the real threats we face.
When Soviet communism collapsed, it created a huge problem for the U.S. military and the corporations that supply it with everything from guns and bombs to boots and socks. As the USSR declined as a threat, US taxpayers started asking about a “peace dividend” that would switch military spending to dire social and environmental needs.
But along came the events of September 11, 2001 and, conveniently, a new threat was created. Even if you buy the official story, why would U.S. leaders hasten to define the incident as war instead of crime, and thus anoint the rag-tag Al Qaeda forces as an equal combatant with the world’s only superpower?
The greatest threat to the US military-industrial complex faces is not outside our borders; it is the minds of the American people. If enough people get out in the streets (does the word Occupy ring a bell?) we can demand a shift of resources away from death and destruction toward green jobs, better schools, no more home foreclosures, and affordable health care for all.
In addition to the money being wasted, the drones have another dangerous impact: the undermining of the US Constitution, this nation’s most precious document. The Obama administration and the Bush administration before it have executed US citizens in Yemen without any trial, based solely on the US government’s perception that these US citizens were a threat to US national security.
Last time we checked, it was not legal for the US government to execute US citizens without a trial. Is the empire so fragile now that it requires the sacrifice of our basic rights in order to suppress some “bad guys”?
And if all that is not bad enough, chew on this trajectory for the technological future of drones. The Pentagon and private contractors are developing tiny remote-controlled drones, and these can be weaponized with explosives or disease agents. Can anyone be so naïve as to think that this technology will not eventually get into the hands of people who would fly a mass of hummingbird sized, weaponized drones into some corporate headquarters or the Pentagon?
Drones were developed as a response to the American people’s distaste for US soldiers dying abroad. Our leaders thought, “how can we run an empire when our people don’t want to spend their own blood?” And instead of heeding the wisdom of the masses, US leaders instead developed weapons that can be remotely controlled, thus lowering the US body count in foreign wars.
But these chickens will come home to roost, and we will rue the day we let the military-industrial complex define security in ways that make us LESS secure.