FreedomInOurTime | Singer recalls asking a drone pilot “what it was like to fight insurgents in Iraq while based in Nevada. He said, `You are going to war for 12 hours, shooting weapons at targets, directing kills on enemy combatants, and then you get in the car and you drive home. And within 20 minutes, you’re sitting at the dinner table talking to your kids about their homework.” Meanwhile, somewhere in Iraq (or Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, or another country yet to be identified), families are picking through the rubble of their homes in the rapidly evaporating hope that their own children have somehow survived this most recent act of imperial generosity.
Do such keyboard bombardiers ever experience misgivings about what they do? Perhaps – but the perverse fun is simply irresistible.
“It’s like a videogame,” one cyber-samurai told Singer. “It can get a little bloodthirsty. But it’s f****g cool.”
Oh. Well, alrighty then.
But what happens when the novelty wears off, and conscience starts to press its claims? When “coolness” loses its allure, conformity – displayed by obedience to “authority” — will fill the void. “If his cause be wrong,” insisted one of Henry V’s soldiers in Shakespeare’s rendering, “our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us” – even if this means waging aggressive war, murdering disarmed prisoners, and using the threat of mass rape and the slaughter of children to compel cities to surrender.
For those on the delivering end, drone-facilitated atrocities seem utterly antiseptic. One scientist employed by the Pentagon to refine and expand the technology of remote-controlled mass murder “said that no ethical or legal issues arise from robots in war,” Singer recalls. “That is, unless the machine kills the wrong people repeatedly,” interjected the Strangelovian bureaucrat. “Then it’s just a product recall issue.”
Of course, the specific tool doesn’t kill anyone; it is an instrument employed by a morally accountable human being to accomplish that end. We’re not discussing Colossus, or Skynet, the Cylons, or any of the other variations on the Golem legend that are common in science fiction. The Regime’s apparatus of state slaughter is proudly described by retired Lt. Col. John Nagle as “an almost industrial-scale … killing machine.” Its most important components are individual Americans who have been taught that “submitting to authority” validates any action, no matter how abhorrent, and sanctifies the indulgence of any appetite, nor matter how depraved.
In the imperial hierarchy of values, obedience ranks much higher than moral integrity, particularly for those employed as agents of state-licensed violence. The Regime, both the federal level and through its state and local franchises at the state and municipal levels, has spent a great deal of money on subsidized “character” instruction, paying special attention to the military and law enforcement. Read Entire Article