Most Americans don’t approve of drone strikes. In fact, they’re less popular than Congress. Kidding, nothing is less popular than Congress, unless the poll asked: would you approve of a drone strike on your current location, right now? But even then it’s still within the statistical margin of error. I have supported drone strikes here on The Discord but only because Mr. Winslow keeps denying my “business” expenses.
I do maintain that, for now, drones represent the least horrible option. We can’t allow well-funded radicals to control swaths of this planet, well, unless ISIS starts to come through with the women and cars they keep promising me. Until larger players like Saudi Arabia and Iran grow up, or a Muslim Reformation truly takes hold, I suggest our failed-state-friends keep looking up.
Sure I have concerns about collateral damage but, let’s face it, all of the areas in question are already collateral damage. Drone strikes produce much fewer wrongful deaths than any other form of military intervention. The Saudis recently took a more conventional approach in Yemen and we have the kiddo death toll to show for it. One Saudi weekend in Yemen likely surpassed the entire drone program’s mistakes since 2002. Of course, I am greatly disturbed that drone strikes are responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths, here, but I am even more disturbed by our own Baltimore riot coverage here. We can do better, Winslow!
[Winslow: You’re right, Zano, but you submitted that one.]
What I don’t understand is all the scrutiny the drone program is getting domestically. Everyone seems up in arms after disturbing details of a recent drone strike emerged. We successfully targeted and destroyed an al-Qaeda base but in the process also killed two innocents held captive there. If I were those guys—and I’m not saying this lightly—I would take my chances with the Damned Air Strikes (DAS) …DAS bomb? I just don’t understand how we’re supposed to have a war against extremists minus any mishaps. It’s just not possible.
Here’s the NYTs coverage of the incident:
“It was a devastating acknowledgment for Mr. Obama, who had hoped to pioneer a new, more discriminating kind of warfare…The dark picture was compounded by the additional disclosure that two American members of Al Qaeda were killed in strikes that same month, but neither had been identified in advance and deliberately targeted.”
—Scott Shane, New York Times
Devastating acknowledgement? We took out an al-Qaeda base during that strike. Oh No, Mr. Bill!!!! What do you propose we do with al-Qaeda bases? Total radical-camp makeover?
“I don’t know…a little paint, a few flowers, a couple of throw pillows.”
Regardless of the topic, the GOP never fails to hoist that batshit signal. John McCain immediately said the two deaths were “obviously preventable” and represented “a failure of intelligence.” You certainly have a unique POW perspective but, having said that, how exactly was it “obviously preventable?” Choosing Sarah Palin as your running mate was a failure of intelligence that was obviously preventable. Booya! I’m here til’ Friday. No, really, Winslow’s trying to fire me again.
Targeting something in Pakistan from Nevada will always have its associated risks, Mr. McCain. For instance: Sorry Hajra! I was sure that AK-47 would make it through customs! See? If we’d known that two Western hostages were there, we would have approached this strike differently. It’s horrible, it’s unfortunate, but so is vetting and approving a petty, know-nothing as your running mate. You betch ya! Yep, you will never live that one down, Senator, even if you were the new Princess of Cambridge.
Here are my two biggest concerns with the drone program:
1. Do drones increase radical recruitment in the long term?
I’m not sure. Recruitment is a key component as to whether or not this radical movement dies, so focusing on reducing their ability to recruit is one of the most important aspects of this clash of civilizations. Obama understands this even if our republican friends don’t. Certainly drones are less likely to aid recruitment than wider military campaigns, but this PEW research poll shows just how despised the program is around the world. This is a real problem.
It may be the best argument for limiting or even ending the drone program outright. If I were Obama I would say we can limit or even end drone strikes, if—and only if—we get more regional and world support. You’re against drones? Okay, what are you willing to do to help the cause, neighbor? I’m talking to you, Luxembourg. I know, you have a standing army of nearly 64, and yeah, yeah, I know most of them are palace guards but they can be trained.
2. Post the Patriot Act is their really any meaningful oversight for this program?
Can our President target anyone in the world, Americans included, without due process? If that’s really the case than I have two words for you, Mr. President: Sean Hannity. Kidding, just take out Fox. No…not Sarah Palin, the TV network. Just be careful not to damage Langan’s Irish pub. Try aiming for the Wall Street Journal side of the building. Thanks.
Per the Huffington Post McCain believes oversight for the drone program should shift from the CIA to the Defense Department. Since I believe the CIA has gone rogue, this is a rare instance wherein McCain and I can agree.
[In a show of good faith the Palin “going rogue” joke removed by the editor]
Seriously, these are essentially assassinations. It certainly seems like Obama has free reign on whacking everyone on his own personal naughty list. The Santapranos? I would like to see a firmer more open process. Maybe we can all vote on who to whack?
I would be lying if I said I knew what to do about the Middle East, but I have always maintained that our republican friends continue to show us precisely what not to do. We can’t completely ignore the problem the way some liberals are suggesting, nor should we engage in more unwinnable land wars the way some republicans are suggesting. I admit support for our drone program goes on my karmic bill, but so will most of the events from last weekend’s video shoot. Sorry gang! I really thought that was just candy.
What we ultimately need is regional support to help with the intelligence and the targeting of radicals to allow more precise air strikes. Collapsing states are making drone strikes increasingly unpopular. Ideally these efforts need to be in coordinated with the country in question. Vacuums of power and failed states are making this little endeavor increasingly difficult, aka Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Philadelphia. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Winslow. In some instances, gambling debts CAN be considered a legitimate business expense.
I have supported drone strikes but only because I know of no better option. I am open to another approach but, until more surgical strikes are feasible, I’m afraid Fox News is safe. Maybe we should move the Guinness at Langan’s over to O’Brien’s anyway, just to be on the safe side. Irish bar bombs? I’m kidding, of course, who would intentionally target a news agency? …well, besides the whole Bush/Al-Jazeera thing.
If we elect Jeb Bush in 2016, Paul Wolfowitz is somehow still a Bush adviser, you know, Mr. Got-everything-wrong-in-Iraq. So what’s the worst that could happen? On a side note I can’t believe we’re back to two nominees who thought Iraq was a good idea. Yes we are F’d, but never for the reasons republicans think. Meanwhile, the threat from our radical friends is growing so until someone has a better idea, I’m going to keep droning on about this program.
You betch ya!