What seems unlikely to happen with B-52s seems eerily possible with a Predator drone. A strange shape that’s still somewhat mysterious. A killer robot in the sky.
That mystique around the drone has been partly created by the anti-war movement, the same way that the anti-gun movement has built a special mystique around the assault rifle. Like the assault rifle, the drone is not an evil killing machine. It’s not that fundamentally different than the first missiles guided by an operator to their target… and those have been around for a while.
The mystification of weapons dehumanizes people. It makes the debate about the weapons, rather than about the people. And once the weapons are invested with a sinister power, then they come to seem evil… and the people who defend them also begin to seem evil.
What kind of a sick person would buy an assault rifle? What kind of demented mind would defend using a drone? Once you make the weapon seem evil, you can then make anyone who uses it seem evil by association.
The anti-war movement did that with nuclear weapons. Then it extended that aura of menace to nuclear power plants. Now it’s doing it with drones.
Armed drones are used abroad because they allow for targeted strikes inside hostile territory while eliminating military casualties. Surveillance drones are going to be used extensively at home, and that is a serious issue, but armed drones are not likely to be because the United States is not hostile territory.
An armed drone makes a lot of sense if you want to kill an Al Qaeda terrorist in Pakistan across territory controlled by the Pakistani Taliban whose weapons would seriously endanger a SEAL Team. It makes no sense if you want to take down someone having a Doubleshot Mocha Frappucino at Starbucks. Until the United States becomes hostile territory for Federal law enforcement, there would be no reason to use an armed drone. And if the United States does become hostile territory, then it is highly unlikely that whoever is running things in Washington by then would care about the finer points of the Posse Comitatus Act in the middle of a civil war.
The only realistic point in time in which drones are being used to assassinate Americans inside the United States is a state of civil war where military force is already being used on a large scale against Americans and the debate will have become moot and will be settled with guns.
Unlike the militarization of civilian law enforcement, military drones are not a threat to Americans. We’re not losing our freedom because of the 3d Special Operations Squadron in New Mexico. We are losing it because the Department of Education not only has its own police force with the powers of arrest, but because it is part of a vast Federal bureaucracy with nearly unlimited regulatory powers.
Joining in the anti-war crowd’s demonization of the military distracts from the real issue, which is not that military drones are coming to get us, but that human drones are voting in blocs and coalitions for a vast unfunded nanny state.
We aren’t dealing with fascism, we’re dealing with bureaucratic collectivism. Rather than a militarized society, what we have is a socialized society. The people who run it don’t care much for the military. They prefer nudges and regulations. They wipe out entire industries with the stroke of a pen leaving few other options.
The enemy isn’t a United States Air Force Staff Sergeant downing a Mountain Dew and then looking for a Toyota pickup truck filled with armed men and a goat in Waziristan. It’s the people behind the government counter that you have to deal with on a daily basis and your neighbor who has all their numbers and loves informing on people who aren’t behaving themselves the way that the television says they should.
The enemy is in the non-profit think-tanks that come up with the latest ‘nudge’ to socialize people and the latest billionaire who gets bored and wants to treat an entire city like his employees. It’s the news anchors whose big ambition is to read things in a serious voice from the teleprompter and all the people who automatically repeat back what they hear on the news.