“No, Charlotte, I’m the jury now. I sentence you to death.”
The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte staggered back a step.
“How c-could you?” she gasped.
“It was easy.”
– Mickey Spillane, I, The Jury
The news that Barack Obama — a Constitutional scholar and recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize — has taken personal charge of lethal US drone hits in Yemen and Pakistan is one of those stories that takes time to sink in.
The New York Times stresses how serious the issue has become. “With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.” It’s no longer a cool video-game experiment; it’s the beginning of robot warfare, and, if history is a lesson, it will have unanticipated consequences and our enemies will learn to counter the weapon with imaginative weapons of their own, including drones. We should expect to be surprised and blindsided. Martin Luther King spoke of it as a futile rising cycle of violence.
Exactly how many non-combatants and innocent people are being killed is the big question. There’s no way to know. One, there’s a pathological level of secrecy in our militarized government and, two, we can’t believe a word the government says anyway.