drone letter

Originally posted on March 25, 2013.

Lately our country has replaced our traditional forms of military action – invasions, occupations and aerial bombing from planes flown by pilots – with unmanned aircraft, known as drones. Soldiers can pick a target from the safety of some base here in the USA, send out a drone to bomb the target, and go home for dinner; nobody in the U.S. risks injury or feels the victims’ pain.

People who favor this kind of warfare say that the “job” can get done without endangering U.S. personnel. Maybe it costs less, too.

People who oppose drone warfare say that it makes it too easy to wage war without suffering any of the consequences, including witnessing the carnage. They also say that we are making a mockery of international law when we bomb countries with which we’re not at war. I agree.

But there’s another issue that keeps cropping up: What if some internet hacker managed to penetrate the code? What if someone (just one person!) managed to intercept one of these drones and send it back where it came from? What if they managed to “do unto us as we have done unto them”? What will happen then? What new weapon will we develop to keep ourselves “safer” than they are?

It seems to me that we’re entering dangerous new territory. All of this happening without little knowledge on the part of the public, much less our approval. It seems that it makes our country look less and less like a democracy.