October 19, 2012

Nosty Pays Another Call: Sissies Love Their Drones

I mention the following point not as an exercise of obnoxious, unbridled arrogance, or as some kind of boast. I myself view it much more prosaically: it just happens to be true. And the point is this: for many years now, I've predicted, often in some detail, how future events would play out. I've done so by identifying the nature of the principles involved in the actions and statements of our political leaders, and by consulting history to see how similar situations have developed in the past. The entire process is often inordinately complicated, and it frequently makes my head hurt a lot. I'm obviously naming just the essentials of the analysis involved, and in very abstract terms. It's the dizzying number of details (together with what are often inconsistencies and contradictions) that make it so damnably difficult.

I could offer many examples to support the claim. Here are just a few: "An Election Conceived in Nausea," concerning the utter uselessness of the Democrats, written on October 30, 2006; "The Fatal Illusion of Opposition" and "Silenced: Barack Obama and the End of Struggle toward Truth and Freedom," published in May and August 2008, respectively. Consider, too, this very brief excerpt from a longer argument:
The overall course the Obama administration will follow will be that indicated by [Naomi] Klein with regard to torture, and the same stratagem will be applied to the use of torture, to confrontation with Iran, and to every other issue of significance. Klein refers to the removal of "small piece[s]" of the torture apparatus, and the return to "plausible deniability." We can make the same point in a different way: the Obama administration will return to the days when the U.S. government practiced all these horrors, but with better PR.
That's from "You Aren't Going to Beat the System, Baby" -- and it was published on January 10, 2009. Yes, friends, before the supersplendiferous, transcenfuckingdental Obama even took office.

There are many more examples; take a stroll through the archives if you have the time and interest. Given the nature of the all-devouring system that consumes us as it lays waste to increasing swathes of the world, my predictions have generally been awful ones. This is another reason my record in this regard is not offered boastfully: the accuracy of my ability makes me desolately unhappy. It also does not make me very popular or widely read; most people would prefer not to think about the hell that lies ahead. Nonetheless, even if I could fundamentally alter my approach (I can't), I wouldn't. I myself think it's best to know the truth, as accurately and fully as we can ascertain it, the better to prepare ourselves. The reference in the title of this post comes from "Concerning Those Who Manufacture and Eat Shit," from 2010, where I noted at the end that: "I think I may change my name on this here blog. From now on, perhaps I'll sign my posts: Nostradamus Silber. But you can call me Nosty."

That is by way of preface. In my essay the other day, I included the following argument. It was off the major topic, so I offered it parenthetically. After noting that many of the nightmarish developments over the last decade were barely credible in one sense (although they remained predictable, if one knows what to look for), I wrote:
(As just one example, consider the trajectory of public attitudes concerning drones being used domestically in the United States. First, almost no one thought drones would ever be used domestically, certainly not in significant numbers. Then, most Americans got used to the idea of domestic drones, but we were concerned about "intrusive" surveillance and invasions of "privacy." Now, most Americans have already become accustomed to the idea of wide-scale surveillance, and they don't resist overhauling our conception of "privacy" altogether. This battle is already over; the battle was never actually engaged. The incontrovertible fact is that incomprehensible, endless, ever-proliferating regulations, statutes, rules and orders already allow the government to do whatever the hell it wants -- including murdering whomever it chooses, whenever it wants. In perhaps as few as five years, the skies over the United States will be filled with huge numbers of drones on a regular basis. Within ten years, most people won't even remember what life was like without them -- and if they do remember, most people won't care.)
Yesterday, just one day after I published that article, I saw this: "Bay Area Law Enforcement Agencies Test Drones." The story begins this way:
They began as tools in military combat. Now aerial drones are being considered by Bay Area law enforcement agencies as a cost-cutting way to replace helicopters, and use technology to fight crime and save lives.
A few aspects of the story should be noted, for they reveal the manner in which certain patterns are repeated over and over again.

The Alameda County Sheriff "says the drones get a birds-eye view that most tactical officers on the ground would never get, sometimes endangering their lives." The Sheriff goes on:
“Very valuable to any tactical officer, as you’re setting up your perimeters and knowing what the suspect may have in his hands, how the suspect is dressed, what are the avenues of escape?” Ahern added that his office would only use drones during emergencies, from a high-speed or high-risk chase to search-and-rescue operations in disasters, as well as proactive policing measures like catching marijuana grows in fields on public lands and in grow houses.
These patterns are all too horribly familiar at this point. Just as the U.S. military and its adjuncts rejoice that they can murder human beings and wreak destruction all over the globe without ever endangering oh-so-precious American lives (in contrast to all those other lives, which aren't worth shit), the Sheriff exults in the realization that law enforcement can spy everywhere in detail, and then develop and execute its plans of capture and murder (only with great reluctance, of course, and only if those rotten bastards make the good guys murder them, of course) -- all while protecting their own miserable asses. It's highly amusing. The good-guy tough guys used to be inordinately proud of their willingness "to put their asses on the line." Now they puff up their manly chests with the knowledge that their own asses will be sprinkled with baby powder and swaddled in the softest down, far from even the smallest particle of danger.

Bless the drones! For they have brought us the burgeoning legions of the New Sheriffs (and New Presidents, and New Generals, and...), all fashioned in accordance with Gore Vidal's memorable line about Theodore Roosevelt: "Give a sissy a gun and he will kill everything in sight." Drones dispense entirely with the requirement of "sight" in the old, immediate sense. Today, the farther away the victim is, the better.

I note only in passing the reference to "proactive policing measures," such as those concerning the horrific crime of growing marijuana, which would never be viewed as anything other than shatteringly good news in a minimally sane world. But ask yourself: if, rather when drones are found to be so wonderful in terms of saving certain lives, as well as marvelously effective in providing oodles of information about criminal activity (together with information about what a healthy three-year-old would consider entirely non-criminal), why not increase their use? Why not use drones to ferret out information about, well, anything and everything at all? That is the pattern the U.S. government follows abroad; it will be precisely the same here at home.

Then the story provides us with the obligatory "Oh, but wait a sec..." passage, with the obligatory appearance by the ACLU:
But not everyone is pleased at the growing number of agencies looking to use these [Unmanned Aerial Systems]. The American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU says drones should only be deployed when a warrant for a specific crime is involved. The ACLU is also worried that they may harm both privacy and people. In a statement, the ACLU wrote, “Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.”

Sheriff Ahern says an armed drone is out of the question. He says local public safety agencies must take advantage of innovation that’s out there, calling it a “no brainer.”
"[A]n armed drone is out of the question." Sheriff Ahern doesn't mean that. You know he doesn't mean it. He knows you know it. None of that matters. The "innovation that's out there" will include armed drones soon enough. And then it, too, will be a "no brainer." That's always how this pattern plays out. Everyone knows that, at least if they're honest. The ACLU knows it, too, just as the ACLU knows it will lose this battle. At a certain point, you have to wonder how long, and how innocently, people can continue to engage in these charades.

Then this morning, Vastleft sent me this link: "CIA seeks to expand drone fleet, officials say":
The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy service’s decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said.

The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, officials said
Sissies love their drones.

And here is where another critical pattern comes into play, one I've written about extensively. In brief: In addition to pursuing its goal of global hegemony, the United States government uses foreign countries as a lethal laboratory in which to practice the techniques it intends to use domestically, at home within U.S. borders. As I explained in "Terrorist State, Abroad and At Home" (from 2008, I note):
Just as it is not possible for an individual to restrict what constitutes a fundamental psychological methodology to only one area of his life, so a ruling class will not employ one approach in foreign policy while dealing with matters of domestic politics in a radically different manner. In any case, the U.S. ruling class never had such a desire: in one way or another, other nations would be made to submit to the demands of the U.S. government -- and the same is true for U.S. citizens. The citizens of America will do exactly as the ruling class demands -- or else. As far as the ruling class is concerned, you have as little reason to complain as the murdered Iraqis do: the ruling class only wishes to improve your life. The ruling class acts only on your behalf, and "for your own good."
In other words:
In perhaps as few as five years, the skies over the United States will be filled with huge numbers of drones on a regular basis [including armed drones]. Within ten years, most people won't even remember what life was like without them -- and if they do remember, most people won't care.
I have no more predictions for today.

Lucky me. Lucky you.