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View From Here: Drones and the Boston Bombing


The FBI has sent an interrogation unit to question Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 19-year-old that video shows apparently placing the second of two bombs that killed three people and injured at least 180 at the Boston Marathon.  One of their goals is to find the “reason” for the bombing,  they want to hear, “We did it because…”  and then the “reason”  will be given for the death and maiming.

But the reason sounds the same whether heard in Yemen or Boston.  People writhing on the ground don’t care about the reason.   If you live in Yemen and are sitting at a cafe and a man who the United States believes to be a “terrorist” is speaking to another not far away, you are subject to being one of over 3,000 civilian Yemenese-— women, children and men— killed as collateral damage because of U.S. “reasons”.  Imagine the Boston Bomber, times a thousand, going off across our country.  Killing people from Maine to California.  Firing from the skies and unable to be stopped.   How would you feel about the country that said their reasons were more important than your lost loved one’s life?  More important than your sorrow?  It is painful to even hold the thought, but the United States has become that country, reviled in cinema and in print declaring, “The drone attacks will continue until all obey”.

The “reason” always amounts to having the ability to act, having no one who can stop you and holding no moral imperative not to.  Whether President George Bush or now, far more heavily, Barack Obama with his killer drones or General George Custer with his saber, it is all terrorism and we have to stop it where we can.

We have to tell the world, that’s not us.  That’s the Obama Administration and we’re working to bring them under control now.   We have to tell the president to stop the drone war.   Tell him we understand it’s more convenient and expedient, the drone teams at Hancock Field in Syracuse get to commute back to the wife and kids after a mission but it does not make us any safer and it can only inspire a lust for vengeance.   It is at best, counterproductive, but the whole of it is inhumane.

What’s even worse, those killings are not only done in our name,  but to be crass about it, money is taken from our pockets to pay for them.  Time magazine reported that each MQ-9 Reaper costs, $12,548,710.60 [The Air Force fact sheet says this: “Unit Cost: $53.5 million (includes four aircraft with sensors) (fiscal 2006 dollars)”].    While our children are quickly falling behind the world populations, destined to make a living by providing whatever human services that the aggressively educated classes can’t do without, military contractors are making big money off of this carnage, and it is money that can be better invested in our children and our future.

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