Senator claims that drones are a more “humane” way to kill people

Angus King

The controversial “drones memo” that was leaked to the media earlier this week has obviously been a source of heavy discussion. It would humorous if it weren’t so sad to see how the formerly anti-war Left has suddenly become pro-war and much, much less concerned about the constitutional ramifications of President Obama’s crusade to expand executive power.

To be fair, there are plently of Republican politicians who are downright giddy about the memo. For example, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the most prominent purveyors of perpetual war in the GOP, was among the first to defend the Obama Administration’s on drones.

But the absurdity coming from President Obama’s apologist is really amazing. Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who caucuses with the Democrats in the upper chamber, may have made the most profound, disturbing comment in this discussion to date. During an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. King said that drones are a “more humane weapon” in combating terrorism:

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Maine independent Sen. Angus King made the case that the use of drone warfare actually is not as evil as some of the detractors have suggested.

According to King, drones are less likely to inflict casualties upon civilians than other military operations undertaken in the last 1,000 years of warfare.

“To be honest, I believe that drones are a lot more civilized than what we used to do, you know, when [William Tecumseh] Sherman shelled Atlanta or when the Allies firebombed Dresden in World War II, it was all collateral damage. It was virtually all civilians. And that’s the way — that was the way of war until very recently,” he said. “The drones, although there is some collateral damage, basically is a very smart artillery shell. And we’ve been shooting artillery shells over miles and miles for many years and hoping they hit the right target. I think there’s just something creepy about drones that they can be controlled and people are uneasy about it. But if you put it in a context of 1,000 years of war, I think it’s actually a more humane weapon because it can be targeted to specific enemies and specific people.”

That statement really shows a terrible ignorance. If you really want to put it in context, Sen. King, as many as 881 innocent people — including 176 children — have been killed in drones in Pakistan alone, according to a study conducted last year by the law schools at Stanford and New York University. The report also noted that politicians, like Sen. King, who support the use of drones by claiming that is surgically precise are pushing a “false” narrative.

Moreover, the use of drones have created “giv[en] rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities” due to the fact that “[d]rones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning.”

Yeah, it’s totally humane to kill innocent people and force them to live under the constant threat of harm. In reality, we should be ashamed that these attacks are being committed in our name.

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