What’s worse: backstabbing a president or bombing lots of civilians? The answers pretty obvious to judge by the stink over General Stanley McChrystal. The man’s in trouble; the policies he embraced may not be. Ironically, one policy he raised concerns about—the use of drones—goes on, to barely a whimper.
Thanks to newly announced federal contracts, Wisconsin National Guard is planning to build a new $8 million base for unmanned drones. Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri is to be a drone base control. Rapid City’s nearby Ellsworth Force Base also recently "won" a drone contract.
In none of these places was there much of anything but joy at the news. "There was great news for Ellsworth Force Base and for the Rapid City community:" declared the local Black Hills Fox Channel. Missouri Congressman Ike Skelton said he’d worked for a year to win the Predator. The Rapid City Journal editorial page was ecstatic: "Ellsworth and its many supporters have done Rapid City and South Dakota proud."
No mention there—or anywhere—of what peace activist Kathy Kelly described on GRITtv. Namely, the charred flesh of children killed by accident, by remote—or, for that matter, Peter Singer’s studies showing that drone pilots suffer PTSD at the same or greater rates as other soldiers
Perhaps the lack of concern is because drones are already flying the Canadian border and Americans are already getting used to them. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson recently told The Hill, "We are working hard to make round-the-clock aerial surveillance the standard for all 2,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border," too.
Or it could be the impact of all those Northrop Grumman ads on TV. Or maybe it’s just the economy. At $4.5 million apiece, the drone program’s great for Grumman. Almost everywhere its being sold as good news in a troubled economy.
You could say who can blame those who are happy to see more drone action? You could also say—what’s become of our economy? Can we truly not come up with a stimulus plan that stimulated more life and less carnage? And how about a security strategy that actually built American—and global security?
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.