2015

Drones & Such

There have been numerous articles recently in the mainstream, as well as in the alternative press, about Drones. Some of them are quite interesting and informative; a few are slanted in a manner that justifies their military usage. While I am not a military or arms specialist, I do realize that once you go down that road of creating a weapon, such as the Drone, capable of being used for so many nefarious and criminal purposes, and then attempting to convince the masses of its necessity and efficacy, then you have become as wicked as any “other” government or entity that uses lethal weapons of this sort on its own citizens, or those it considers the “enemy.”

Are there any non-lethal weapons? The mere definition of “weapon” says that no, there aren’t. A kitchen knife can be a lethal weapon . . . so . . .

. . . there I was in my kitchen one day, chopping parsley for tabooleh with my long, sharp knife. I heard the downstairs screen door open and assumed it was my husband. I called out. He didn’t answer. Still holding my chopping knife, I stepped out of my kitchen to the landing overlooking the entrance. Coming up the stairs was a young man carrying a ladder. He took one look at my knife and started stumbling backwards with a horrified, terrified look on his face while saying: No, no, otro casa, otro casa! He had obviously, and mistakenly, opened my door rather than the one adjacent to mine, which is where he was going. I still chuckle every time I think of this and of how this poor Latino guy must have thought: this crazy gringa is going to kill me! So, yes, and excuse this amusing diversion from a brain that flits here and there, but, a kitchen knife is a lethal weapon!

Was my kitchen knife as lethal as a Glock, an Uzi, an M16, a Bazooka, a Missile . . . a Drone? Of course not! Our US military Drones have been killing so many innocent men, women and little children all over the Middle East! They have been creating more hatred and more radicalism than at any other time ever! Is this the intended purpose so that we’ll have a continuous war? I mean, one has to wonder how the politicians and military strategists are thinking, and if they are doing so at all??!!

Nevertheless, I can’t help but think that when that horrid nuclear bomb was invented and we began amassing an arsenal of them – which President Obama has recently authorized a budget for in order to update those very deadly weapons – and then proceeded to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki and incinerate innocent men, women and little children, we set in motion a process whereby other nations began acquiring and building nuclear arsenals. Oh, it’s only for deterrence, they tell us! For the balance of power! And every time some political leader proposes reducing those arsenals we find ways to derail that offer! Reducing? The nuclear bombs in the US possession alone can incinerate the planet many, many times over! Israel’s bombs can destroy the entire Middle East region hundreds of times over! So what are we talking about? Noam Chomsky, as well as many other intellectual analysts and thinkers, have put the nuclear time clock at closer to midnight than it has ever been. Does that give any politician pause, you think?

It is the same with Drone technology. One day soon, that capability will be in the hands of our “enemies!” And then what, for do we think that we’re safe because we have the “strongest military on the planet?” We aren’t! We know only too well how criminals – whether on the street, the battlefield, or on the Internet – are always one step ahead of the police, armies and crime busters, and that no matter how many laws and agencies we have to fight them they will always find a way to commit their crimes. Why and How do we think that evil-doers will not be able to do what we do? To do as much evil as our Nuclear Bombs and Drones & Such can do? Are we that smug, inane, incompetent, or arrogant?

And then I look at the television, read the articles and books, listen to the discussions about the wars in Vietnam, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Yemen and what do I see? Armies and militants, “we” and “they,” fighting village to village, street by street, house by house! All our lethal weapons, all our intelligence agencies, all our military strategies, all the haphazard bombings and what does it all come down to at the end of the day? That we cannot defeat ISIS? Really, now? Really?!! Rather, we are fighting battles as men have since time immemorial: mano a mano!! Oh, my!! We have – and are still – seeing this in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Israeli government (and now the Saudi!) prefers not to engage in mano a mano fighting. Instead, they have used airplanes to mow down buildings and human beings indiscriminately, ruthlessly. They have also used chemical weapons, sieges and mass intimidation. The Israeli government has also utilized mass incarcerations and, in recent years especially, has been arresting children – as young as three and six years old. Some say that Gaza is Israel’s (and by proxy the US’s) war laboratory and test site. I wonder what the children are for, though. Is there an Israeli Dr. Mengele conducting experiments on them, drawing their blood, extracting their organs? Hubris can make a government do all sorts of criminal and unthinkable things. Think Hitler, Mao, Stalin. And think Angola, South Africa, Algeria, Somalia, Nigeria etc. etc. where atrocities of unimaginable dimensions have taken place. And then think police brutality occurring in these United States of America, from Ferguson, to New York, from Chicago to Baltimore. The injustice that has been displayed by the foremost proponent of “freedom and democracy” in the world; by our government that places itself above all others in its Values, is surreally unbelievable?!?! Those Values that are being gradually and systematically eroded by the War On Terror and what it has wrought of surveillance, loss of privacy (because we have All lost that, just in case you have any illusions still) injustice, criminality and transgressions. Now that our police forces have become armies, turning their brutality on innocent black men, they will – much, much sooner than we all think – be turning their guns on Any protesting or dissident civilians; in other words, on you and me, on our neighbors and youngsters. Unless this ends – don’t hold your breath – then it is certainly where we are heading.

That extremist organizations like ISIS and Boko Haram should be defeated is vital, and the sooner the better for, as more time passes, they will become more entrenched and more brutal. Perhaps it is even too late for that. It is though, going to require mano a mano fighting. Drones & Such will not, and are not, doing it! And so the question becomes: who are the manos who are going to do this? And do the politicians and military strategists want this to happen? It is a simple: yes, or no! If the aim is to end the reign of these renegades in Africa and the Middle East it Can and Should Be done right now! Otherwise, its continuation is simply because we want it to and because it is serving our purposes. That is the truth! Maybe you wonder, as I do, why have the ISIS beheadings abated; the caging, the demolishment of monuments, the parading and burning of prisoners. Did all that wane “just because?” Something does Not make sense, so, enough fudging and outright lies! And, who Is orchestrating all these theatrics anyway? ISIS? The Conspiracy?

You don’t understand, they say. You have to look at the long-term, they say. The US is building a better world. It will take decades and lifetimes, and there will be collateral damage, but in the end we shall prevail. Yes, every Empire throughout history thought so too! So no, I’m not holding my breath. I won’t be around anyway. I just wonder if all this devastation is really worth it, or if, perhaps, there is a better way to build a cohesive world? To create a more just, humanistic, democratic, free world? The answer I can so far detect is that: No, there isn’t, according to political and military leaders!

So where does it all go then? Where are we heading?

My answer is: wherever we want it to go. It is our choice, our voice, our action or inaction, our vote.

Will we make it count, or will we continue wallowing in our irrelevant little lives and our mundane issues leaving it up to others to fight on our behalf? See, reversing such processes cannot be left up to the military and political leaders on the scene today. It has to come from the grassroots, from us, from you and me! Do we want it to? Think!!! Think!!!

Do we?

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4 thoughts on “Drones & Such”

  1. Excellent article, Hala. You bring such clarity to the serious issues of the day and you connect the dots rather than allow those in power (in government, police, CIA, Homeland Security, military) and their corporate media to fudge the connections. Unfortunately, if you tell the truth, expose lies (Assange, Hirsch), expose evil doing (videos of police brutality), if you blow the whistle (Snowden…) you are criminalized, called a traitor and if you are poor and of color you’re likely to be shot or jailed for years. Perhaps that through awareness (through articles such as yours) and activism (Baltimore largely peaceful demonstrations) things will change, but it will take time and organized/concerted effort.
    Thank you for the truth, clearly told.
    Riad

  2. Beautifully argued case against drones and all the evil tools of human (and humanity) destruction. Everything you say resonates with me. But what happened to the ordinary citizens who took to the streets .. in Egypt? In Syria? Did they get justice? Are their lives any better?

  3. You had me gripped until I read “It is our vote.”
    Honest elections are as dead as the Middle East peace process, ya Hala. Ain’t the people holding the strings of this puppet democracy no more. It’s the soulless humans behind the remote controls of those drones. Playing video games with the lives of the masses. Scoring points for death, then going back to their greedy lives with a smile, and to church the next Sunday.

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