Drones are remotely-piloted airplanes that the US government uses for surveillance and attack outside the US. It is estimated that each drone requires approximately 300 people to service and control in flight while a plane with a pilot requires approximately 100 people. We are employing many more drones so that at present there is a shortage of trained personnel to operate and support them. (Aside: great employment opportunities there.)
At first, drones were used only to look for and kill the top leaders of al-Qaeda. As more drones became available, they were used further and further down the chain of command until now drones are used to identify and kill SUSPECTED enemy soldiers. That’s right suspected enemies, no way to determine from 1,000s of feet in altitude and operated from 1,000s of miles away. The expansion of the list of targets reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld after 9-11. He wanted to use airpower against Iraq because there were so few targets in Afghanistan.
Wars are won and lost on the ground, so-called boots on the ground by infantry men and women. Wars are not won at a distance either in the air or at sea. Indiscriminate killing, as the US is now engaged in around the world in the War on Terror, will create more future terrorists than our drones are capable of killing. Before we attack suspected enemies, we should at least give them the opportunity to explain who they are and what they are doing. Too many innocents are dieing from our mistakes.
I support universal suffrage (voting rights for all adult citizens) except for certain felons. Some want to restrict voting rights, but that involves the question of where to draw the line. I believe that elections should be fought and won on the issues. The winning side convinces 50% + one of the voters of the correctness of their position.
It appears that the GOP prefers another route, restricting the right to vote to people they believe will vote to support their position on the issues. The right of property to have a larger voice and vote is an issue that has divided supporters of democracy since the inception of democracy.
Aside: This is a discussion of voting rights. I know that the US is a republic, not a pure democracy, but that is not what this discussion is all about. We tend to use the term democracy a bit loosely. After all, we don’t fight to preserve a republic nor did we invade Afghanistan and Iraq to impose a republic. When the Iraqis and the Afghans held elections, we celebrated their democracies.
Back to voting restrictions. Picture identification to prevent voter fraud is a solution to a problem that is statistically insignificant. It does tend to restrict the voting rights of the poor and the homeless. We have not reached the point yet where one must be a member of a certain religion, denomination or church to vote, but certain politicians would move us in that direction if they could. English as a first language and ancestry from certain Western European nations are favored by some on the Right. These restrictions on the right to vote have appeared before in the US. Please see my earlier post, Know Nothings.
In My Time, A Personal and Political Memoir by Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney. Contrary to what Dick Cheney said, the contents of this book did not cause by head to spin. It did confirm what many of us already knew or suspected, George W. Bush intended to invade Iraq no matter what. He even intended to defy Congress if necessary and was prepared to be impeached over the issue if necessary. Evidence of WMD did not matter nor did logic or law. That’s how much Bush/Cheney respected the Constitution.
Syria with the assistance of North Korea tried secretly to build a nuclear reactor at al-Kibar in the Syrian desert. Israel, with Cheney’s support, wanted the US to destroy the reactor before it became operational, but Bush was opposed. Subsequently, Israel went ahead and bombed the unfinished reactor on their own. That was the second nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel with Iraq’s being the first.
Now we are faced with the possibility of a nuclear Iran and again the US is being urged by Saudi Arabia, Israel and others to destroy the Iranian reactor(s). If we do not, I fear that Israel will again act on their own, and the US will be blamed for the actions of Israel as our proxy. For a brief discussion of the consequences of attacking Iran, please see my prior post, If John McCain had won. Recently, Afghanistan indicated that it would support Pakistan in a war between Pakistan and the US. Consider the possibility of Iraq allied with Iran in a war between the US and Iran.
I was disappointed that Dick Cheney did not mention bin Laden and al-Qaeda at Tora Bora in Afghanistan when we and the Pakistanis had them surrounded in late 2001. I was hoping for his take on how and why bin Laden escaped with most of his supporters to continue fighting the US.