Send in the Drones

Yesterday, press secretary and general whipping boy Jay Carney alleviated all of our fears, stating that “[President Obama] thinks that it is legitimate to ask questions about how we prosecute the war against Al-Qaeda.”

"Yes, His Grossness. I'm sure you have a comment."
“Yes, His Grossness. I’m sure you have a comment.”

President Obama says it’s okay to question him, at least on this one issue. So let me take first crack at it.

That admission comes after the drone aspect of the War on Terror Overseas Contingency Operations has fallen into the public spotlight after the death of a 16-year-old American citizen. Quickly following was the release of the Department of Justice’s guidelines for when and where they can kill American citizens.

But I’m not going to take issue with the severe erosion of civil liberties and the collective constitutional spitting the administration is doing with this (you know I worry about that sometimes. And othertimes). I want to take sides with a younger, more idealistic politician. A politician I like to call Barry Obama.

Barry, the near luddite like I am, does not believe that good, hardworking Americans should be replaced with better, harderworking robots. There we can have some common ground, both of us ignoring those American jobs created by inventing, producing, and maintaining those robots (and those criminals who comically try to steal them).

And how soon power changes us. In those four years, my crippling paranoia has only improved (I’m typing on the original Gilligan’s Island’s coconut radio), whilst now Mr. Obama has done a complete 180, replacing good, honest American Killing Machines with actual Killing Machines (which I hope are at least American made).

The average bank teller makes $24,000 nationally. The average army sniper? $35,000. We’re taking away well paying jobs with endless potential (Yemen, here we come). We have recently seen that in America there is no dearth of gun-happy young men, (maybe because there is no jobs for them), and as much as we like to pretend, killing people needs a human touch.

In all reality, people make mistakes, too. I am sure there have been real live American soldiers who killed 16-year-old American citizens. But that’s why we have a court martial system. And if it turns out to be intentional, they get punished. Who’s going to reprimand the machine? There are so many endless amounts of fingerprints on the drones, so many difference people who could take and dodge the blame, that the buck has to stop somewhere.

I’m always cautious when killing becomes too easy. And not just with guns, because (usually) behind a gun you have a person and a conscious, who has to consider and weigh the value of his actions against the value of the opposite’s life. Can you program one of these machines to make these decisions? Can they sense the American citizenship on the heatmass in the crosshairs, realize it’s depriving due process, and kindly move on? An occupying force can win the hearts and minds of an occupied citizenry, but what do the Iraqi or Afghani people think about America when the look up at the dark shadow crossing their skies besides recognizing the sure sign of imperialism.

Brian Gross had his internship as a Doorman stripped away by that door jamb. That stupid door jamb. Help fight machines taking valuable jobs by reading his blog and telling your friends.

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