Number of the Day

[Content Note: Drones; war.]

65%: The percentage of USians in Gallup's latest poll found to believe the US government should use drones to launch airstrikes in other countries against suspected terrorists who are not US citizens.

That is a depressingly high number. But I want to observe something about which I've written previously: Most of the people responding to this poll realize they are effectively making the choice between: 1. Boots-on-the-ground warfare; 2. Drone strikes, which have been widely mischaracterized as "precision strikes" with limited civilian casualties; 3. Doing nothing.

I wrote in September of last year:
I also believe quite fervently that the approval for drones is reflective of that aforementioned lack of a meaningful choice. When our choice is between a Democratic candidate who will wage war with "targeted" drone attacks, or a Republican candidate who will wage war with troops and tanks and treasure and mercenaries and false promises and no exit strategy, I "approve" of drones, too—but only by default.

I authentically, enthusiastically, desperately choose diplomacy over drones. But that is not the choice I'm given.

I live in a war-mongering empire, and the only choice I'm given is in which way I want to wage war. That I don't want to wage war at all doesn't really matter, not to this president, nor any other.
I don't know what the numbers in this poll would look like if the respondents knew there was a meaningful option that included effective diplomatic strategies (of which "doing nothing" might be a part, given that the use of drones is now a key recruiting tool). I would like to know, but I fear that I will never have that chance, because the degree of militarized engagement is the only real option we're given anymore.

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