by Paul Balles
The drones have roused the hive; and Junior Republican Senator Rand Paul has the bees swarming. Excuse the analogy.
Until Paul decided to filibuster the Senate on the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director, both the polity and the mainstream media were paying little attention to the U.S. government’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones.
An occasional column on the use of drones for president-ordered assassinations appeared in the press.
Rand Paul buzzed onto the scene with fears that the Obama administration might order drones into action against U.S. citizens in America.
Paul had obviously been following some of the paranoid Libertarians, anxiously following the proposals for limiting gun ownership. They had interpreted this as a move to make American citizens helpless against a U.S. government attack.
For Rand Paul, filibustering the Senate for 13 hours, the issue couldn’t be clearer, and he demanded an answer to a question put to the Attorney General about the vulnerability of citizens inside the U.S.
The next day or two were all abuzz with bees swarming throughout the major TV networks and newspapers.
When the Washington Post reported that Paul “held the Senate hostage Wednesday in order to warn that American citizens could be targeted by drone strikes on U.S. soil, he was rightly taken to task for gross and irresponsible mischaracterizations of the Obama administration’s policy.”
Reported by David Corn of Mother Jones, “Paul’s rant targeted a nonexistent dispute: whether or not Obama administration officials believed they could use drones (or other weapons) to kill American citizens within the borders of the United States without due process.”
In an article on drones, author/editor of Blaze, Christopher Santarelli, concludes that “the advancement of drone technology will undoubtedly change law enforcement tactics forever.”
On ‘Real News‘ a panel discussed how “the use of drones in law enforcement could open a can of worms in our legal system, and how the country may try to handle the delicate balance between civil liberties and security as this new tool becomes readily available.”
Clearly, the reason why drone technology has been low-keyed in the press and media rests with the fact that it has been used for military objectives.
Numerous writers have commented that “Military commanders use tactics and strategy in combat to inflict as much damage on the enemy while trying to risk as few personnel and resources as possible.”
From October 2012 until March of this year, the U.S. Air Force kept and published statistics on the use of drones in Afghanistan.
One commentator on Fox News said he couldn’t figure out why people didn’t “freak out” when they heard about the assassination of an American in Yemen.
The New America Foundation reported on the statistics of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen from 2004 to 2013. The total killed ranged between 2,424 to 3,967, of which 276-368 were civilians.
With the successful nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA, drone killings could increase.
Referring to John Brennan as a “serial killer”, syndicated columnist Stephen Lendman has predicted “Expect drone wars to continue. They’ll expand worldwide. So will targeted assassinations…. Counter terrorism takes no prisoners. State-sponsored terror [is] in good hands with John Brennan. Obama authorized him to kill.”
What makes the lives of women and children and male non-militants outside of America less worthy of our concern about drone killing?
Some day, when Americans realize that worldwide drone killings deserve no less scorn than murdering Americans, it will be too late to save innocent lives and to prosecute the imperial criminals.