The permanent war creates more enemies

B at Moon of Alabama:

Mass assassinations by drones, as the U.S. practices in Pakistan and in Yemen, have in both countries increased antipathy towards the U.S. and the number of people willing to actively fight against it. Currently U.S. drones also create new enemies in east Libya:

Locals considered the drones they now hear buzzing overhead “a form of occupation,” he said, and Libyans would wage “jihad” to force them out.
Obama and Brennen must know of this effect of their assassination campaign.

There is another danger in this war by drones. They are complicated machines and the software they use, which will make drones increasingly autonomous, is faulty and will always be so. As someone who has worked developing and implementing information technology this doesn’t surprise me at all:

In March 2011, a Predator parked at the camp started its engine without any human direction, even though the ignition had been turned off and the fuel lines closed. Technicians concluded that a software bug had infected the “brains” of the drone, but never pinpointed the problem.

Currently software is getting developed that automatically scans through drone reconnaissance videos to find the “signature” of “terrorist behavior”. That guy is loading the trunk of his car? Now that might be a car bomb. The visual recognition software will pick that out and when further bits of circumstantial “evidence” gets added it may well recommend the assassination of that person in a “signature strike”.
Aside from the incredible stupid believe in the existence of any “terrorist signature”, how many bugs will such a software have? Would their users even be able to identify a software mistake? Would they find its cause? Of course not.

No one with any bit of moral left in them should argue for the “permanent war” the Obama administration is implementing here. What it really creates is a permanent growing number of enemies and certain blowbacks to come. Drone assassinations and harassing drone critics create more terrorism. They are a problem, not a solution. As the people in the White House are not all stupid the must know this and their motivation to wage a permanent war must be a different one than the one they claim.


At 7:30 this morning, the supermarket was packed. I felt bad for an elderly man who had a huge stack of frozen dinners – “They were on sale,” he told the cashier.

“What if your power goes out?” I said.

“Ah, I’ll be fine.”

Then I went to the Home Depot, which was a lot less crowded, but still pretty crowded for early Sunday morning. There, I had the happy task of buying a 5-gallon bucket with lid, as I was instructed by a friend who’d been through extended power outages. For what? Don’t ask.

Last night, I bought a few bags of ice at the local convenience store. “If this runs out tomorrow, are you getting more Monday?” I asked.

“Oh yeah, we’ll get more. I don’t know why everybody’s buying so much ice.”

“Because of the big storm. We’re going to have power outages,” I told her.

“But only for a day, right?”

“They’re saying to prepare for at least a week,” I said.

Her eyes got big. “But I have a baby on an apnea monitor,” she said.

I didn’t know what to say; she was doing shift work at a convenience store, I knew she couldn’t afford a backup generator.

“The hospitals always have power,” I told her. “If you have a problem, call them.” I didn’t know what else to say. In a visceral way, I really got it: The working-poor folks who went through Katrina were too busy holding their lives together to deal with a hurricane. Who has time to watch the news?

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