No 9/11, No Need for Drones

obama dronesCount this lefty, union card-carrying Democrat among fans of a recent Chicago Tribune editorial in defense of drone strikes.

The paper acknowledges “kernels of validity” in critics’ claims that the clandestine CIA-run drone program costs us some political capital in other Muslim countries (thus outweighing the value of terrorists slain), that too often the attacks accidentally kill innocent people, that there’s not effective oversight, and that the president hasn’t provided Congress sufficient legal rationale to justify the strikes.

I agree.

But the Trib opines that such complaints “often have been exaggerated,” arguing “drone attacks also have exterminated many sworn enemies of this country without risking U.S. lives on the ground or in the air.”

I agree.

At least left-leaning critics of President Obama’s drone strikes are consistent. They also denounced President George W. Bush for using drones.

Mum was the word from righties on Bush and drones. Now that the “Kenyan-born-Islamo-socialist” in the White House is sending in the flying robots, they’ve joined the anti-drone chorus.

Anyway, the Trib editorial also quotes from Obama’s big speech the other day:

“To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties — not just in our cities at home and facilities abroad, but also in the very places — like Sanaa and Kabul and Mogadishu — where terrorists seek a foothold. Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from (U.S.) drone strikes.”

The Trib agrees, and so do I.

In the same speech, Obama suggested the program has problems, the editorial adds. Thus, the administration indicates the drone program will be facing tougher scrutiny. The president promised more openness in the program, too.

That sounds good to me.

Obama also talked about a “secret court” that would endorse future strikes. The Trib wants to see that debated. So do I; but history teaches that we didn’t win World War II through micromanagement by stateside desk jockeys in civvies.

“The United States risks losing the advantage of surprise if individual drone strikes become entangled in slow-motion bureaucracy back home,” the editorial says. “We fear U.S. warriors shrinking from what in effect are battlefield decisions because they have one eye on Congress, or judges, or some other overseer who is not their commander in chief. We don’t want drone operators hoping their targeted terrorist will stay put in Pakistan while judges in Washington debate whether it’s appropriate to fire the missile. Nor, we imagine, would the president.”

Agreed.

The editorial also reports that in his speech, the president pined for a time “when the nation will no longer be on the war footing forced on this country by terrorists on September 11, 2001. All Americans hope to see that day. But we’re not there yet.”

Agreed.

Berry CraigThe editorial concludes: “The president alluded…to many other attacks — before and after 9/11 — on Americans and their interests. Those assaults ebb and flow and change form. But all of them have something in common: the evil architects who plot and execute them.

“That’s why the U.S. needs to keep those drones flying.”

Agreed. Count me among supporters of drones or any other weapon authorized by any president that kills the enemy without endangering the lives and limbs of our fighting service men and women.

Berry Craig

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Published by the LA Progressive on May 27, 2013
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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is an emeritus professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance writer. He is a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 1360, the recording secretary for the Western Kentucky Area Council, AFL-CIO, and the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War, Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers and Hidden History of Western Kentucky. He is a native of Mayfield, Ky., where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their 20-year-old son.