by Joe Scarry
I have written over and over again that people who want peace and an end armed conflict need to push back against the “dronification” of war.
The people who want to perpetuate (and worsen) the state of perpetual war that we have become embroiled in lovedrones — maximum killing, maximum terrorizing subject populations, maximum overlordship — all with a minimum of asking for the consent of the US general public.
“Hey: there are no ‘boots on the ground’! Isn’t that what you wanted?”
(Out of sight, out of mind . . . . )
It turns out there was just one little problem with their scheme.
Operating drones and other robotic killing machines still requires some human operators. And despite all their hopes to the contrary, the military establishment has discovered that human operators have consciences.
Two years ago, I attended the CODEPINK Drones Conference in Washington, DC, and saw the ex-drone operator Brandon Bryant speaking out about how killing people with drones is wrong. At the time I thought, “How many more are there like him . . . ?”
Now, three more former drone operators have come forward to blow the whistle on the US drone killing program.
At the end of March, 2016, there will be another major US mobilization against drone warfare. Now I’m wondering, “If there are four, is it possible there are even more? Could there be ten . . . ?”
I encourage everyone to read the stories of the courageous drones whistleblowers, and share this information widely.
It’s not just about them; it’s not just about drones. It’s about whether the people can wrest back control of the killing power of the state from those who think they’ve found the way to conduct 24/7/326 permawar with no opposition.
In my opinion, the reason to focus on drones is this: when we focus on drones, the general public is able to “get,” to an unusual extent, the degree to which popular consent has been banished from the process of carrying out state violence. (Sure, it was banished long ago, but the absence of a human in the cockpit of a drone suddenly makes a light bulb go off in people’s heads.) It takes some prodding, but people can sense that drone use somehow crosses a line. And that opens up the discussion about how our consent has been eliminated from the vast range of US militarism.
(See “Why focus on drone attacks?”)
The U.S. military is desperately trying to beef up the ranks of its drone pilots – to meet a “near insatiable demand for drones.” There’s only one way that’s going to happen, and that’s if we let our young people think that it’s okay to sign up. The world of military service is more abstracted and foreign than ever. If ever there was a time that young people needed guidance from others about what military service might mean for them, that time is now.
(See Mothers Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Drone Pilots)
Anyone who cares about stopping drone killing should take a friend and go see Good Kill, and then do it again, and again.
(See GOOD KILL: Struggling to Bring the Truth of Drone Killing Out of the Shadows )
Today we live in a different world. Without the draft, the people have “checked out.” It is like Rome … the legions do the work of empire and the people are kept happy with bread and circus. (Or Starbucks and “Dancing With the Stars,” if you prefer.)
(See Not Your Father’s Antiwar Movement )