Robert C. Koehler
The poison seeps slowly into the future. No one notices.
"The Obama administration," the
I can't quite get beyond the name: Reaper drones?
"The Predator's manufacturer, General Atomics, later developed the larger Reaper,"
As the war on terror moved from righteousness to quagmire, the inflammatory religious rhetoric was reined in, supplanted by far more politically correct propaganda: looking for weapons of mass destruction, promoting democracy and women's rights, etc. Church and state were neatly separated and the war went on.
But not only did we justify the war on terror with a multitude of lies, we never really excised the religious, or "crusading," fervor behind it. Evangelical Christianity has made huge incursions into the U.S. military in recent years, thus helping to unite apocalyptic, 12th-century, true-believer passions with the soulless neutrality of ultra-high-tech weaponry. The vengeful God lives! And he's found common cause with robot technology, or so I surmise as I read the
My concern is the advancement of drone technology, not what we call it. But if in our terminology we're summoning pre-rational mythological forces and equating the American military with supernatural beings -- the Grim Reaper and a vengeful, punishment-spewing God that has no moral qualms about mass murder (or torture, which is the purpose of hell) -- knowing this may be relevant to understanding what's actually going on.
In other words, is the nation, at least at a subconscious level, being driven by the worst of old-time religion?
While drones may represent the quintessence of soulless modernism, dehumanizing violence and making bureaucratic murder a technological reality -- computer operators several thousand miles from the action, in
When we murder by drone, we may be both perpetuating an inhuman, bureaucratic control over random enemies and, at the same time, satisfying an age-old lust to play god. We're using the most advanced technology we possess to engage in behavior of shocking moral stagnancy.
What this prefigures is the future of war. Drones, wrote
This is part of the grim, dark future the Reaper brings us -- perhaps more disturbing, Falk writes, even than nuclear weaponry, whose "catastrophic quality . . . operates as an inhibitor of uncertain reliability, while with drones their comparative inexpensiveness and non-apocalyptic character makes it much easier to drift mindlessly until an unanticipated day of reckoning occurs by which time all possibilities of control will have been long lost."
He adds: "As with nuclear weaponry, climate change, and respect for the carrying capacity of the earth, we who are alive at present may be the last who have even the possibility of upholding the life prospects of future generations."
Such urgency can bring with it an unbearable pessimism. I insist on believing that the worst of human instincts are precariously balanced by the best. A passionate rejection of violence and economic injustice is spreading globally and manifesting politically, even if it remains beyond the awareness of the U.S. corporate media to grasp and report. That shouldn't be a reason for giving up.
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