This investigation in the New York Times into the so-called "moral injury" caused to military personnel by following orders to kill people half-way around the world makes for sickening reading. No doubt some are traumatised by what they are involved in, but most of the victims of these drone attacks are either innocent, simply getting on with their lives, or in any event, not remotely a threat to Americans or US national security. US policy supports a disgusting, immoral and cowardly practice and the victims are invariably those in third world countries who are dealing with their own local issues in their own local ways. The problem is, the practice of drone killings is expanding - and Obama was the key driver.
As the article says, "“Kill chain” operations expanded under Barack Obama, who authorized roughly 500 drone strikes outside active conflict zones during his presidency, 10 times the number under George W. Bush. (This number does not include strikes carried out in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.) These operations have continued to grow under President Trump, who oversaw five times as many lethal strikes during his first seven months in office as Obama did during his last six months, analysts believe."
It continues..... "Among ordinary (American) citizens, drones seem to have had a narcotizing effect, deadening the impulse to reflect on the harm they cause. Then again, the public rarely sees or hears about this harm. The sanitized language that public officials have used to describe drone strikes (“pinpoint,” “surgical”) has played into the perception that drones have turned warfare into a costless and bloodless exercise. Instead of risking more casualties, drones have fostered the alluring prospect that terrorism can be eliminated with the push of a button, a function performed by “joystick warriors” engaged in an activity as carefree and impersonal as a video game."
The psychological damage done to US military personnel is one thing. But they have a choice. Their victims don't. Many things are badly wrong with the US public's adoration for, and congressional indifference and ignorance of, its largely ineffective military practices, but few things are more wrong than the long-range slaughter of people many of whom are entirely innocent but dubbed as "collateral damage." And as for counting kills from drone attacks? For some now time, all those killed in such drone strikes are automatically defined and classified as "militants." So, instead of killing militants (whatever they're supposed to be) they're redefining the word "militants" to mean anyone who is killed. Orwell is nodding his head.
Just why are they really doing this? Are they enjoying it? Or do they just not care? How do they define a threat to their national security? Way to go, US.
Obama ordered 10 times as many drone strikes as Bush. Now Trump has launched 5 times more than Obama...