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Musings on Drones

May 14, 2010

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I find the whole drone thing, as used today in Pakistan, sort of bizarre. And it just happened without anyone noticing.

Are the strikes legal? Does it mean the US is at war in Pakistan? Are they useful? How accurate are they? Who dies and who reports on the deaths? What does it mean – for a society – to wage war through machine, without the possibility of fatalities? What does it mean for an individual to kill, outside of the context of war, where he is with comrades and his life is in danger – in real war, to kill is often to save oneself and one’s fellow soldiers.

How do people perceive drone strikes on the ground? When I think of this I think of a huddled group of young men up in the barren mountains, far from the metropole of New York who live in a village on the far periphery of globalisation, and talk into the night about these things that continuously circle in the sky, bombing anything. To them it must seem bizarre. Which it is, because the logic behind each strike is only in the eye and the mind of an operative sitting in Nevada, USA – and he goes home at 17.30, probably to laugh at a Simpson’s episode or to recoil in shock from graphic scenes of violence in an episode of The Wire.

Is it all not a sort of a crazy dystopian and post modern madness? Is it not god like, to have omnipresent control of the air and the power to destroy anything that you see?

And most importantly perhaps, how do you fight against this? How does one respond? Are they angry? Defiant? Hopeless? How do those young men rally themselves, as they talk into the night, pausing in silence only to listen to the droning sound that saturates through the air?

Anyway, here’s a good article by Paul Rogers, which answers the latter question.
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