"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

Monday, October 26, 2009

Point. Click. Kill.


"Point. Click. Kill." That is part of the title of a article in the online Popular Science that gives a brief look at the U.S. Air Force's "frantic" drive to keep up with its newest star, the unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone. Drones are the hottest thing to hit the skies since the Wright Brothers took their first brief flight in Kitty Hawk, and based on the frenzy of work being conducted by just about every aerospace defense company to create its own drone, they are here to stay. Everybody wants a piece of this pie, and it's huge!

Aside from the nuts and bolts of drones called Reapers and Predators, it really all comes down to seduction. We have become seduced by everything about war - the mythology, the violence, the patriotism, and don't forget the toys. Of course, when I say "we", I do not mean the innocent Afghan civilians blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles fired from drones. I refer to we the war making people of the United States, and particularly its military-industrial complex, who just can't seem to get enough of the technology of death.

This video produced for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory gives a clear picture of just how enamored the U.S. military is of everything technological. Between the lines of this carefully scripted propaganda piece is the truth - that we are prisoners of the madness of a self fulfilling prophecy created by our military-industrial complex. It is a monster not unlike the giant human-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors..."FEED MEEEEEEEE!" And we continue to feed it our tax dollars, while starving the rest of the economy. Click here to see the numbers.

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Tom Ehrhard, an expert on drones (according to the Popular Science article) epitomized war's (and its technology's) seduction when he said, "They [drones] give you a capability that you never had, and when you couple it with a lethal system, guess what? It's magic." We have made such extraordinary strides in the technology with which we conduct war, and yet we pay no attention (beyond lip service) to the prevention of war, and most definitely not to our motives for going to war.

I wonder how we would feel if we were the ones on the receiving end, if drones were buzzing around the skies of the U.S. watching for suspicious activities, ready to let loose their missiles at the push of a button by people in trailers thousands of miles away. How would we feel not knowing whether or not our families might be blown to bits while we were at work. How different it is to be on the receiving end, eh?

Ah, the magic. Point. Click. Kill. From 7000 miles away.

No Peace in that,


Thanks to Bruce Gagnon; I found the YouTube video about the Air Force Research Laboratory posted on his blog, Organizing Notes.

P.S. - There is a full (feature) article on unmanned aerial vehicles in the September issue of Popular Science; more cheer leading for drones.

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