Throughout history, the one proven check on the unbridled militarism has not been Congress, the Constitution, foreign casualties or unsustainable Pentagon budgets; it has been the perception of life-and-death risk to the wider citizenry. When conscription ended in 1973, that perceived risk for most Americans was reduced and, not coincidentally, we’ve seen our government feel freer to engage in longer and more risky military adventures than ever, and without fear of widespread opposition.
Now with drone warfare, the same government perceives that violence comes with even less immediate life-and-death risk for our country, and consequently our technologized violence is expanding. Indeed, according to the New York Times, the U.S. government feels so uninhibited that it has moved beyond targeted killing to “drone attacks based on patterns of activity” — attacks aimed at locations without actually “know(ing) the identity of the targets.” Among the general population, it’s much the same dynamic: With drones seeming to make war less risky, there hasn’t just been little opposition to the drone war; polls actually show strong support for continuing the robot onslaught, even as we learn about its deplorable civilian casualties.
But in those casualties exist the pernicious lie of drone technology, the lie that suggests drone warfare is ultimately a consequence-free endeavor for the drone-wielding nation.
~ from How Drones Deceive Us by David Sirota ~
As I have written before, drone warfare is an out of sight/out of mind endeavor. Because Americans don't see or experience it, drones provide a false sense of sanitized war. But as David Sirota points out, cause and effect don't go bye bye with the use of drones. Instead, drones create blowback that tends to manifest itself in ways we have trouble dealing with.
For all the horror of the Boston Marathon bombings, we should expect to suffer a lot more attacks of this nature. When one side holds a vast superiority of power, the other side must resort to guerrilla warfare. This is a lesson that Americans should understand well because this was how the colonists often attacked British troops during the American Revolution!
As Sirota continues,
With mounting evidence that America’s massacre of foreign civilians is creating more terrorists than it is neutralizing, and with terrorists citing our drone operations as motivations for their plots against us, there are consequences; they are just different than what we’re accustomed to. They aren’t, say, traditional counter-volleys on a declared battlefield. Instead, they are more like the Boston bombing, aka asymmetrical terrorist attacks against nearly impossible-to-protect soft targets.
Violence -- whether committed by individuals OR nations -- breeds more violence. The annals of human history serves as a testament to this assertion. The more we kill with drones, the more animus we will find mounted against us. That animus eventually will play out in ways that we can hardly fathom.