The Imaginary Drone Problem

“Getting Ridiculous,” Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo:

“A new Gallup poll shows that 66% of respondents do not believe drone strikes should be used against suspected terrorists within the United States. And an even larger number, 79% of respondents, don’t believe strikes should be permitted in the United States against suspected terrorists who are US citizens.

“In other words, we now know that an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose a preposterous idea that no one had ever considered doing. Set aside any constitutional or moral questions about counter-terrorism or the rights of US citizens, the whole point of using drones is to mount attacks in areas where you have no pervasive and secure control over the ground — something that the US has everywhere inside the United States.

“Really, wholly apart from any constitutional or legal issue, why would the US government use a drone to attack a suspected terrorist in the US — as opposed to arresting them or in a more extreme situation attacking them in their compound/house like the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department did with Chris Dorner last month. And if things really got totally out of hand, why not a conventional bomber or fighter jet since there’s no anti-aircraft capacity in the US that the US military or US government doesn’t control?

A real question is whether police and SWAT teams should use militarized tactics in raids within the US. That’s a real question. Whether we think drone attacks inside the US are alright or not is a silly one.

“The whole thing confirms my belief that in most cases the ‘drone issue’ is a distraction from actual civil liberties or war powers questions.”  Emphasis added.

We have so many real problems and face so many real threats, it just drives me crazy to see energy wasted on imaginary ones.

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