Sunday, April 24, 2011

Drones and Collateral Damage

In the context of making a point, here, that drones are "a recurring element of our seemingly endless, unwinnable military conflicts," Adam Serwer also says that "In terms of killing fewer civilians, it’s probably better for the U.S. to be using drones at this point, because they are better at distinguishing a military target from a civilian one than an F-15."

"Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright told reporters during the briefing yesterday that the drones were being deployed in part to avoid 'collateral damage,' the dry military euphemism for dead civilians."

If you're concerned about the mindset that you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, the drones might (happen to) be a good thing. No particular kudos to the military, who are probably happy to have more inhumane or less inhumane technology according to their own ends. But if there happens to be a weapon available now with a little more precision, fine. If fewer civilians are killed rather than more, all other things being equal, it's a good thing. An even better thing would be not to have an 'endless war' footing in the first place, providing the pretext for lots of little civilian-killing chapters overseas and whatever the hell you want to do at home, outlasting many swings to the left, swings to the right, and sparkly new politicians.

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