Drones and Contradictions

Found as a Facebook comment 3/8/2013 by permission

One primary purpose of law in a civil society is to determine compromise policy between 2 opposing positions. In a democratic republic these contradictions are normally between individual rights and the good of society. They are debated by our elected representatives who define policy through laws. Those laws are scrutinized by the courts. A vulnerable link in this chain is the influence of public opinion on the choices of those who are ostensibly elected to represent us, their constituents. Considerable frustration is created when the people feel government does not listen to their will. At each level of government there are alleged realities that dictate action that is virtually incomprehensible to the public. Those who are aware that these are artificial constructs are more frustrated than most and this can lead to active opposition to government.

Our task is to overcome the despair of believing we the people cannot change policy by revealing the right thing to do to our politicians, who have an agenda that does not necessarily serve the common good. We bemoan the fact that in the turbulent sixties and before that in the late 19th and early 20th century the will of the people, acting with courage to challenge the government, was able to actually influence policy. We fear that the numbing down of Americans makes it nigh impossible to move the needle of public outrage to the tipping point. Many of us see this truth as a crisis of the highest order, threatening the very life of the republic. Many days I fear this is true. Some other days I have more faith in the system, coupled with the righteousness in the hearts of what I pray is most Americans.

I can see circumstances where this power to kill American combatants on American soil, who are involved in overt acts threatening society, either collective or individuals, needs to be available to government. I also feel that the line must be drawn at murdering non combatants, unless their logistic and strategic planning actively leads to combat. There needs to be a national debate on the definition of combatant and the overall philosophy and legality of the use of drones. I can also understand the paranoia of the more libertarian of our brothers and sisters that this power is dangerous for citizens. How we resolve this conflict of human interests will say a great deal about America’s soul.

The thing I find unconscionable in all of this is the lack of transparency, honesty and accountability of the administration regarding the scope of drone attacks in all situations, domestic and foreign. I am a strong Obama supporter but he and his people really (past tense expletive starting with F) up on this whole program. Frankly this sort of clandestine use of deadly power has been a hallmark of US foreign policy for decades and it’s use domestically, although less pervasive and conspicuous, has always been there as well. The more this nasty behavior which we find more and more appalling as we continue to learn of its existence is fomented on the innocent, the more the people demand public accountability and this is a good thing. However it creates another conundrum of just how much the revelation of our dirty deeds hinders national security and puts American intelligence operatives in harms way.

So the challenge of society to find a via media between opposing forces, both with some apparent value, continues. We must do all we can to hold the feet of the powers that be to the fire at all costs. The future of our way of life hangs in the balance.

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