March 4, 2013 | Back to: News

Pine Nuts: The unspoken case against drones

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - There are rules regarding warfare, though when the conflict starts they are often forgotten or overlooked or just plain ignored. For obvious reasons there are no referees on the field of battle to blow whistles and call fouls. Occasionally fouls are reported to the International Criminal Court at The Hague after the fact, and occasionally fouls are punished, but unmanned drones are new to the field of battle, and rules regarding their engagement have yet to be drawn.

The rules we are now considering here in the Unites States to regulate the use of our drones are being weighed and balanced by some of the best legal minds we have in stock. But is there a psychologist in the house?

If I may play Machiavelli for a moment, a prospective drone target might be prone to protest, "Hey, warfare has to be a little bit fair. You can't have a pilot of a plane sitting in a chair somewhere near Syracuse, directing a drone missile at me in Pakistan without declaring war, with no risk to the pilot, but with a high risk of collateral damage on my end ... that's not fair."

What I suspect that the targets of drones fear is an Orwellian war where robots do the killing at the behest of the killers with little risk involved, and if killing involves little risk there might be more of it.

So what happens when we take out a terrorist with a drone? The terrorist is dead, but his 14 cousins quit their day jobs if they have one, take up arms, and swear to avenge the iniquitous murder of their cousin. So we kill one terrorist and get 14 more in the bargain.

In the end, the old saw, "All's fair in love and war" has to go. War has to be fair. Why do we suppose Iran and North Korea are trying so desperately to level the playing field. Of course this type of gamesmanship will only lead to a big booboo one day that everybody involved will regret, and those not involved will endure in the same manner that they chose to protest, in silence.

Which brings us back to the all important issue of standing down on nuclear weapons. All conversations, whether about social science or how to properly change a diaper in an elevator bring us back to the all important issue of standing down on nuclear weapons.

Drones? They are bee stings. We are paying disproportionate attentions to bee stings when our attentions ought to be focused on the hive.

In closing, let's take a look at ants. Asian ants are taking over territory formerly ruled by Argentine ants in North America. How? The Argentine ants tend to rest during cold weather while the Asian ants continue to take-up new territory. It's not fair. Ants need laws, though they wouldn't obey them if they had them. We need laws. Is there a psychologist in the house? The physiologists are going to save the world, if it is to be saved, not the lawyers, not the politicians, not the heads of state, the psychologists.

I hope we live to see the day...

- Learn more about McAvoy Layne at www.ghostoftwain.org.

McAvoy Layne
Special to the Bonanza


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Mar 4, 2013 04:18PM Published Mar 4, 2013 04:17PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.