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.”


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.”


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


  1. jonkwilliams says

    Here’s a thought. Instead of drone strikes, let’s poison the meals of future “suspected” terrorists, militants and agitators we think pose real or potential danger to “American interests.” Let’s not worry, of course, about who suspects these people or how they’re chosen for our death lists. Or who else might be partaking of the same meal, be they women, children, the elderly, foreign or American. And let’s not try to think of them, innocent or not, writhing on the ground in their death throes. All can be justified because none of America’s fighting forces are put at risk and our country’s control of these foreign lands is of paramount importance.

    Do you really think Americans would accept this? It’s only because drones have evolved so slowly from the concept of pilots putting themselves at risk in defense of “American ideals” that we accept killing from half a world away with no danger whatsoever to the one who pulls the trigger. But assassination is assassination and taking the lives of innocents is abhorrent whatever the weapon.

  2. Joseph Maizlish says

    As with the torture debates, the drone debate is being conducted without mention of the context which drives the government’s behavior: The eighty years of intervention and interference in the M.E. region which have led to sufficient growth in anti-U.S. sentiment that has in turn provided the ground for a few to plan, support, and take violent action against the U.S. government and people.

    I excuse neither the U.S. policies (which involve killing more non-combatants than the officially designated “terrorists” have) nor the attacks of Al-Qaeda and its knock-offs.

    Resisting the results without examining the chain of causes and correcting what contributions found to be unjust which hU.S. policy has made to that chain leads inevitably to extreme actions such as the drones, the torture, the invasions and occupations, the eradication of liberties whether of those living “U.S. lives” or those trying to live without that sanctified status.

  3. George says

    A defense of drones was surprising to see in this venue. I too do not understand the blanket objections to driones generally associated with the left. Perhaps the program was too loosely monitored, but fundamentally it beats the alternatives by a long shot. In principle, The program may result in a significant accident or hasten the day other countries target people on US territory, but maybe not. War is hell, and a few drone strikes are a lot closer to the allegorical center.

  4. says

    It would be nice if we could push drone technology to the point that it could instantly identify any given individual remotely via DNA, perhaps from their scent, then take him out. That way we could go after not only individual terrorists but leaders of rogue nations, all without getting our clothes mussed. Until then, drones are still error-prone, but war is hell, and anything beats sending our soldiers into harm’s way. Too bad, our enemies like China are busy stealing our secrets and cloning our technology, and might even pass us up one day and use them on us. War is hell, meaning that only the Devil wins. That’s why peace is always preferable if at all possible, and we can hope our diplomats keep us out of war as long as possible. Once war begins however, it’s great to win :)

  5. Jonkwilliams says

    Wow, Berry. Any president? Any weapon? Any “enemy”? Based on what you’re saying in this essay, I have to consider you a genuine enemy of the concept of democracy.

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