Tuesday, October 13, 2015

DRONE NATION: Putting the Killing Out of SIght, Out of Mind?

Are we falling behind in our effort to resist the growing convergence of robotics and war?

Having been at it for about 3-1/2 years, No Drones Network campaigners are becoming more and more aware that the greatest challenge of drones is that they operate "out of sight" . . . and once they're out of sight, they tend to be "out of mind."

Drones operate "out there" somewhere, and the US citizenry is encouraged to ignore them and go on with their lives. Whatever you do, don't think about drones. And certainly don't think deeply . . . .

People have trouble focusing on the problem of drones.  And that's just the way the government likes it. (See "Why focus on drone attacks?")

The antidote is active and creative agitation: activism that encourages people to think.

What are the creative ways that people around the country and around the world are helping people think deeply about what is being done with drones?

I've added a few links below. Please expand this list by using the comments section.

Why GROUNDED Is Soaring: Putting Drone Dilemmas In Your Face
Level Up, Step Up, Grow Up, Man Up . . . Wake Up
"The Predator" in Chicago - Good Friday, 2013 - "A Passion Play for the Drones Era"
GOOD KILL: Struggling to Bring the Truth of Drone Killing Out of the Shadows
ROBOTIC KILLING: What could possibly go wrong? (Ask a kid)
A Modest Proposal: Debate the Drones
The Apostle's Creed as a Focus for Thinking About Drones
"Everyday Suspects": Chicago Exhibition Delves Into Drone Invasion of Everyday Life
Time for a History Lesson? (Invoking Guernica)

Update: October 14, 2015

Plenty of schools are now teaching kids about drones. (Just google "high school curriculum drones".)

There seems to be a lot of "gee-whiz" fascination with the technology. (Hey, it's STEM, right?) But do these how-to courses on drones even begin to touch ethical questions?

One valuable exception seems to be this study guide: "A Field Guide to Teaching Agency and Ethics: The West Wing and American Foreign Policy," especially "Sample Lesson 2: Targeted killings, agency, and ethics."

Update: October 15, 2015

Like the answer to a prayer, today The Intercept published "The Drone Papers." EVERYONE please read...think about...write about...and SHARE. More about "The Drone Papers" in this space soon . . . .

Update: October 19, 2015

An art installation by Jim Shaw. "Labyrinth" and "Guernica": I wonder how many viewers will make the effort to tease out the parallels -- and contrasts -- between these two works.

(See Time for a History Lesson? (Invoking Guernica) on Scarry Thoughts)

Update: October 20, 2015

Drone killings is a topic that the mainstream media avoids. Project Censored has named US drone killings of civilians the 3rd most important under-reported story of 2015:

"Since President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, an estimated 2,464 people have been killed by drone strikes targeted outside of the United States’ declared war zones; this figure was posted in February 2015 by Jack Serle and the team at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism . . .  (More on Project Censored . . . )"

(I'm grateful for the coverage of Project Censored in the East Bay Express for bringing this to my attention.)

Update: December 1, 2015

Philosopher and cultural critic Laurie Calhoun points out in her essay, "Bribery and the Unraveling of Moral Fiber in the Drone Age," "There have always been people willing to murder people in exchange for thick wads of cash, but in centuries past, they were generally considered to be disreputable hitmen . . . ."

"Have we forgotten our humanity in the pursuit of vengeance and
security?" Former Drone Operators Speak Out Against Drone Killings
But something's changed.

Four former drone operators who have blown the whistle on the US drone assassination program: FOUR WE WILL REMEMBER: Former Drone Operators Speak Out Against Drone Killings.

What does this mean?

Update: December 12, 2015

Carol Anne Grayson reports on her blog: "Thursday 10th December 2015, human rights lawyers from Reprieve launched a Drone Compensation Report regarding victims of US drone strikes at Margala, Pakistan vowing to seek justice for those affected." (See "Pakistan: Drone Compensation Launch held at Margala to support victims of US strikes")

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times reports, "Air Force proposes $3-billion plan to vastly expand its drone program."

COMMENTS PLEASE! What are the creative ways that people around the country and around the world are helping people think deeply about what is being done with drones?

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