Girl at Lindo Lake © Robert Sommers 2018

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The drone of drone

© N. Dixon Fish

I got this letter today from my friend D up in Oregon, a vietnam vet:

Hey Robert:
How about the Air Farce awarding a Medal of Honor to a drone pilot sitting in an easy chair, Stateside in a bunker, for not taking a break in120 hours? And why wasn't he relieved? Hell-low!  His bravery is equal to charging a machine gun or falling on a grenade, right?
What about the newly proposed medal for drone pilots that will outrank the Air Medal (awarded for flying in a combat zone) and Bronze Star with "V", an award sometimes given to grunts and jarheads who performed under fire.
In the political arena it all makes sense.  The Pentagon and White House love the nefarious drone program for many reasons I won't go into, and the news is full of stories lately about the efforts by the Air Force to recruit drone pilots as well as tales of stress on the part of those joy stick twiddlers being equated to that of pilots whose lives are at risk.
I'm not making this crap up.  Check it out.  This makes a mockery of service and awards, and it insults every veteran of actual combat.
-Denis Wheary

Can't argue with him. Operating a joystick in some secluded base in Omaha certainly lacks a bit of the danger and derring do from back in the time when you might look for the "whites of their eyes" and actually face your opponent. Not exactly sporting, and wait until it's Americans right here at home that you are taking out. What you gonna do then, soldier? Guess that these drone jockeys are serious candidates for carpal tunnel and bursitis, can't underestimate the risk. Here's the link to the White House petition.

Ex Press Secretary Gibbs said this week that all talk of drones was off the table from early on in the Obama administration.

"When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, you're not even to acknowledge the drone program," Gibbs said on MSNBC's "Up With Chris Hayes" on Sunday. "You're not even to discuss that it exists."

All you loyal liberals that think that Obama should catch a break should look long at hard at his record on warrantless wiretapping and civil liberties. Yes, we live in a dangerous world but does that mean that it is okay to now wipe our ass with the constitution? It was written precisely for times like this. Never intended to be a document that is only applicable when convenient. That means that American citizens don't get killed unless they get a fair trial, unless of course they have a finger on a nuclear trigger about to do us all in and that goes for here at home too. And that doesn't happen too often.

Of course, the targeting and assassination of americans on our continent is now only hypothetical and speculative. But note that the Obama administration refuses to rule it out.

“I have not talked to him about this (the drone program), so I want to be careful," Gibbs said, "but I think what the president has seen is, our denial of the existence of the program when it’s obviously happening undermines people’s confidence overall in the decisions that their government makes.”

NBC got a copy of the white paper and released it recently. You can find a link to it here. Here is an interesting paragraph (emphasis added.)

"This paper does not attempt to determine the minimum requirements necessary to render such an operation lawful; nor does it assess what might be required to render a lethal operation against a U.S. citizen lawful in other circumstances, including an operation against enemy forces on a traditional battlefield or an operation against a U.S. citizen who is not a senior operational leader of such forces."
Rich sent this:

Morning Robert - Just to let you know that this time the "libertarians" are not going to "give". No more "compromise" for the sake of appeasing socialist "feelings". Amusing that you've bought into the msm hysteria about the minuscule budget cuts aka the "sequester". Not that any of it really matters as we've already gone over the financial "cliff"/hit the iceberg.

I don't agree with him but that's neither here nor there. Conservative estimates were that it would take at least 1.8 to 2 billion dollars of new revenue to make the stimulus pencil out and offset the Bush era double whammy of tax cuts and two big new wars. We aren't even close.

John Boehner can cry and whimper about "no more revenue" but it's a tired old broken record. We've been through this before, John. Your boys are going to have to pony up. Radical cuts in public spending are a pipe dream. Laudable but very impractical at the moment and dare I say it not necessary. I have dreams  as well. Dreams of playing in the NBA. Ain't gonna happen.

Stoked that Elizabeth Warren made Bernanke uncomfortable today. Lot of our Treasury Department and SEC lawyers should be made to feel uncomfortable for the game of footsie they regularly engage in with their coconspirators and/or future employers.

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