Saturday, August 11, 2012

On the Odious Defense of Drone Strikes (1st, an article by Murtaza Hussain)

photo credit: Reuters

Original Posting on Monday, Aug 6, 2012 11:00 AM EDT (link below shows

Is Drone War Moral? (A philosopher's arguments in defense of drone strikes are both odious and wrong)


“I see mothers with children, I see fathers with children, I see fathers with mothers, I see kids playing soccer … [but] I feel no emotional attachment to the enemy. I have a duty, and I execute the duty.” By their own accounts, drone pilots spend weeks stalking their targets — observing the intimate patterns of their daily life such as playing with their children, meeting neighbors, talking to their wives — before finding a moment when the family is away to launch the missile that will end their target’s life. Afterward they drive home like any other commuter, perhaps stopping at a fast food restaurant or convenience store before coming home to their families for the night. “I feel like I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done, I just don’t deploy to do it.”

Recently, the Guardian published a piece about Bradley Strawser, an assistant professor of philosophy at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., which made the argument that drone strikes are not just moral but that the U.S. should in fact consider itself morally obliged to use them in combat. “It’s all upside. There’s no downside. Both ethically and normatively, there’s a tremendous value … You’re not risking the pilot. The pilot is safe.”

That the overwhelming majority of Strawser’s argument is based on the reduced potential of physical harm to the aircraft pilot, while precious little concern is given the people on the ground — often completely innocent, who are being killed in huge numbers by these strikes — is certainly abhorrent. But it must also be noted that for all the attention his work is receiving, he is of course a paid employee of an institution devoted to serving the military and his opinion is far from unbiased. His livelihood comes from the very people whom he is tasked with philosophically critiquing, a circumstance far more conducive to obsequious rationalization than moral criticism. At the end of the piece he even expresses his own gratitude for receiving gainful employment in his field of study: “I wanted to be a working philosopher and here I am. Ridiculous good fortune.”

Continue Reading here

Older and New References:

Pakistani Students Win International Award for Film on Drones here

Condemning Drone Strikes Global Activists to Take Part in ... Waziristan March here

Rethinking Drone Wars here items (Clive Stapleton Smith) here and here

Legal Action on Deaths of Three US Citizens in Yemen (one a 16 year-old)

Story on Democracy Now! (with video) here


Read more articles by MURTAZA HUSSAIN here


CN said...

CN said...

Be sure also to see the long post on drones for August 15th above.