I don’t know how else to put it. Kenneth Anderson as put up a post at Lawfare trying to explain the continual missile strikes on men who are purported to be terrorists. I say purported because while some of those killed by professional button-pushers and lever-pullers undoubtedly wish(ed) to murder Americans for no better reason than to change American policy, but as far as others… The reasoning is less clear.
To be clear, I understand that some people wish to kill Americans. I also understand that nothing short of death will stop them. I understand that this necessarily means that we as a people should desire their death as a means to our own defense. I believe that even carefully targeted missile strikes violate the principle of proportionality (see Unnecessary Destruction in regard to civilian deaths) as well as aerial bombardment… But I digress.
I think that the point that “capturing people is hard, so instead they should be killed” is a cowardly and dehumanizing argument. I find the ideal to be revolting on its’ face. I think that drones could be far more useful assisting troops in contact with the enemy, or providing close air support for out-lying bases or patrols. These killings are breeding villains. They are the symptom of a cowardly society, unwilling to look its enemy in the face and then either bring him home for justice or shoot him there on the road.
That’s mostly just poetic rhetoric. It would be a lot easier on my heart, though, if these men were killed while they were either engaged with US forces or isolated from civilians. Mr. Anderson’s sanitized writing about men as targets throughout his essay disturbs me on a personal level, but what really upsets me is his logic (that I perhaps insufficiently addressed) that mixing up captures with a whole bunch of killing is a good idea.
On a final note, I admit I am vulnerable to accusation. I blog using anonymity, which takes away a bit of my credibility. I understand that. I am a small fry, and enjoy my bit of freedom of the press.