In the Context of "1,000 Years" of Warfare, Drones Are "More Humane"
Saying that US drones are "a lot more civilized" and more "humane" way of doing war-related business is technically true. But that's not really the point.
Last week, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) gave a sort of backhanded defense of the Obama administration's controversial targeted killing program.
"To be honest, I believe that drones are a lot more civilized than what we used to do, you know, when Sherman shelled Atlanta or when the Allies firebombed Dresden in World War II, it was all collateral damage. It was virtually all civilians. And that was the way of war until very recently," King said on Friday's episode of MSNBC's Morning Joe. "The drones, although there is some collateral damage, basically is a very smart artillery shell...[I]f you put it in a context of 1,000 years of war, I think it's actually a more humane weapon because it can be targeted to specific enemies and specific people."
Of course, that doesn't have much to do with drone critics' actual arguments, and Sen. King was wise enough to point that out during his interview: "Now, I do think there’s a problem...about targeting Americans. There is this little item of the Fifth Amendment that says no person shall be denied life, liberty or property without due process of law."
But King's initial point is unimpeachably true: When you look at the history of warfare between 1013 A.D. and now, it's hard to come to the conclusion that drone warfare is any more barbaric or indiscriminate than what humanity has become used to over the past ten centuries. For instance:
when the normans invaded ireland in 1169
When Pope Innocent III launched the tw0-decade Albigensian Crusade
that time the Qing Dynasty put down the Taiping Rebellion between 1850 and 1864
when america went to the philippines...