Friday, November 2, 2012

Why Drones are Here to Stay

"As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular."
~Oscar Wilde

The terrible thing about being a young'un is so many of your peers are getting worked up over moral shit. Take drone strikes, the one thing progressives and libertarians can agree on - mostly that they are very not nice.

Well, yeah. What the fuck were you expecting in a war?

Drones, also called Unmanned Airial Vehicles and Remote Pilot Vehicles, have been in use since Israel attacked Syria back in the eighties. It ain't new technology, it's just getting more use since we got a competent C&C. The USAF resisted these things for years because F-16 drivers have out-sized egos.

Not to denigrate the '16, which is one of the best all-around planes ever built. But drones are better. They're small, cheap, can stay in the air for days, and if they crash or are shot down (which is surprisingly harder than bringing down a traditional fighter or bomber, being a much smaller target and radar signature) we don't lose an officer.

So speaking strategically, drones are awesome. But without Tom Cruise and the ghost of Goose actually up there driving them, people are finally catching on that airstrikes are nasty things. They're supposed to be but for some reason Americans want to kick ass and be congratulated for it by their enemies. It's craven and embarassing but it is.

It is not, however, going to put a damper on the drone-ification of warfare. As I just explained, drones are more than a net win for the DOD and they ain't going out of business any time soon. The same people bellyaching over drones, for the most part, still like the sense of security they get from the DOD blasting foreignors.

I know the Ben Franklin quote and fuck Ben Franklin. He died before anyone could even imagine auotomatic weapons and nuclear bombs. And if you want proof that his pithy saying on liberty and security is absolute rubbish in this modern world, just look at yourself if you went to the movies this past August. Did you feel more secure if there was a cop patting you down at the box office? Or were you all principled - "No, I will not sacrifice this nebulous concept of liberty for the assurance that some dweeb won't shoot my face off!"

The whole point of society is a sense of security whether it's from paleolithic predators, the Huns, or some bitchy teenager. And for all it's faults and corruption the DOD is still in the business of security. Drones make the work easier and cheaper, at the cost of stripping the last shreds of romanticism from the job.

War was never romantic in the first place. And if you think it shouldn't be necessary... I agree. But it is, so grow the fuck up.


  1. Please....please tell me this is a pitiless nihilist "like it is" type of harangue.

    You don't honestly believe that innocent children attending to livestock pose any conceivable "threat" to the maniacal vagueness that is "national security", do you?

    1. If you have to ask then you must be new here. Welcome!