Having witnessed more than a couple knock-down, drag-out scuffles between various factions of the ostensible “liberty movement” over the last few days and weeks and months, it’s not really surprising to me when people disagree. One of the best–and most entertaining–ones occurred on Facebook (Where else?) just a few weeks ago. One side suggested that “Amerika is a police state!” They provided examples and context. The other side responded with, “C’mon! No one was jailed for calling the POTUS an idiot this week, right?” That’s also a pretty solid point. And, as is true of most of these debates, debates that balance on a sliver of disagreement between two tiny factions of what is itself a very small faction in the U.S. political landscape, both sides are somewhat correct.
There is little doubt that the current U.S. populace is accepting of and subject to infringements of liberty that would have likely had the so-called Founding Fathers reaching for ammunition.
There is also little doubt that no one in the U.S. will have to escape to another country for calling their Congressmen an idiot. (That this is relatively commonplace in other countries was brought home to me when I caught a ride recently with an immigrant from The Congo.)
So a little perspective can go a long way.
All that said, when I see stories like this one, wherein “a coalition of upstate New York universities and defense contractors has submitted a bid to become a federally designated testing and research site for the integration of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS, into domestic airspace” I get that tingly feeling along the hairs on the back of my neck. Didn’t I recently read that the President’s first drone strike killed innocent civilians? (According to one news source, “The first strike in Yemen ordered by the Obama administration, in December 2009, was by all accounts a disaster.”) And yet, the drone program is accelerating, not abating.
Just the other day, we got our answer on the question of domestic use of drones. Says the article, “John Brennan, the nominee to be head of the CIA, didn’t rule out the use of unmanned drones in the U.S. when quizzed about the matter, a response that alarmed rights groups and civil libertarians.” Of course he didn’t rule it out. What shocks me is that people seem to genuinely believe that a government which deploys unmanned, remote-controlled devices that kill innocent men, women, and children in Yemen or Pakistan will somehow think, “Nope! That’s immoral…” when faced with the same option in the U.S. Innocent men, women, and children are killed in drone strikes so routinely that one wonders who the actual targets really are, or what purpose the program really has. Seriously, if you kill the people you claim to be protecting with each attempt to protect them, wouldn’t your methodology or your motives come into question at some point? How the psychotic megalomanics who control the U.S. war machine treat the brown people in the Middle East is exactly analogous to how they’ll (eventually) treat the folks here. It’s simply a matter of when, not if. And frankly, if we continue to let these bastards kill whoever they want overseas, we probably deserve it.
Rather than draw any further conclusions at this point–or further illustrate the height of my blood pressure–I’ll just end with the text of one of my recent tweets, somewhat modified…
“The skies of Yemen, coming soon to the U.S!”
5:24 pm on February 20, 2013 Email Wilton Alston