Melissa Harris-Perry | January 26, 2013
>>> do you remember this moment from the final presidential debate?
>> i think that governor romney maybe has not spent enough time looking at how the military works. you mention the navy for example and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916 . governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of the military has changed.
>> it was more than just a great zinger, although it was that, but it was a glimpse into the obama doctrine, and president obama has aggressively pursued new technology as a way to redrawing the frontlines on the war of terror. he committed fewer boot s s to the ground and more drone togs the sky. the united states has committed 340 drone strikes in pakistan with eight of those coming in the last 30 days n. yemen and somalia, there have been 55 drone strikes and seven of those in the last 30 days . the president's use of drones raises questions and criticisms and inspired nyu jerome headley to gather new data. 25 specific drone strikes will be investigated, and an action praised by the proponents of the program.y spencer, you have written a ton on this, and what should we be thinking of the new technology for waging war ?
>> more about the platform and less about the strategy that it implements and to some degree accelerates, and what i mean by that is that the drone, itself, is not qualitatively a transformational thing in warfare. we are basically talking about aerial bombardment and using a smaller weapon to do it, and that size is just going to shrink, so you have less power applied to a particular target, but when you look at the thing and how it is applied, it is not so much different if the pilot is thousands of miles away rather nan in the cockpit, but what it adds up is to an acceleration of the idea that warfare can be cost-free. if it is cost-free to the united states and less visible to the media, then it can spread around the world with a great accelerant effect, and that is what you have seen under president obama .
>> spencer, i appreciate that, because what i find irritating is that drones are a progressive or liberal mean that you scream like when you are disagreeing with some other topic and you say drones, and i say, whoa, whoa, is the issue the drone, the technology or the secrecy or the matrix, because the question is when we have new technologies and how we manage them and deploy them is far more important than the technology, itself.
>> right, the drone does not fire, but the human beings fire it. and so we don't have disclosure of the strategy it is implementing and secondly how effective the strategy sand third how it impacts the human beings on the ground that are not terrorists.
>> and frankly, the human beings who fire it are frankly far removed and not involved in the action. you don't have any people on the ground gathering intelligence, and it is part and parcel of the whole notion that you can divorce human beings from the acts of war. and therefore, make war less painful or not painful at all to yourself.
>> is that the danger of the sanitizing the experience of war.
>> of course, it shg, it is. the issue of resources is important, because it takes more resources to hold on to the objective than to take it in the first place. i have taken objectives by myself and sometimes with a few other petrified soldiers. i have run off more than half of them. it is easy to take an objective and kill somebody, but what are you going to do once you do that? and the real irony and i will shut up about this, we have a short memory. and the notion that you can make war antiseptic is the same notion that was held by donald rumsfeld . you don't need people, and you certainly don't need as many people, because we have got technology, and we can divorce human beings from the notion of waging war when in fact, it is human cost that has to be involved and at some juncture some 19-year-old kid with a bayonet has to stand on top of the terrain and hold it. it is supremely interesting that the most recent proponent of the this way of waging war was donald rumsfeld .
>> i have a problem of this thinking of waging war . what we are doing is assassinating people who in many cases we don't even know who they are. we definitely don't know what they have done or if if they are guilty of anything. so, we are killing them, and there's no due process and it is not on a battlefield, be but beyond that, we are killing innocent civilians around them, the people that we refer to as collateral damage, and these include the elderly, and they include children and that sort of thing, and what are we doing here? this is not all right.
>> well, bob, you know --
>> we don't always know that.
>> we know that there are enemies --
>> no, we do not.
>> and the council on foreign relation relations released a report a month ago showing that of the 3,000 killed in drone attacks the vast majority were not tall ban or al qaeda leaders.
>> i'm not concerned.
>> but are you concerned about the backlash of fuelling in countries that will impact our security?
>> impact our security in terrible ways?
>> i find that until we can engage the world post 9/11, we are at risk of destroying our own security and the very values that the president has spoken of. he has given many speeches of the enduring values of this country are being degraded by the actions that we are taking whether it is in guantanamo or whether it is with drones, so it is not to say that it is also just moral. i hear you, melissa, that you hear reflexively saying drone, drones, drones, but there is a fundamental and tactical issue of how with refueling muslim and other anger against this country.
>> and in is a topic