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Americans Don’t Care About Civilians
Posted by The Agonist on June 7th, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Michael Cohen points out that Americans love Obama’s drone strikes:

To understand why the existence of a presidential kill list won’t do much to dent Obama’s strong foreign-policy standing, it’s important to remember that Americans don’t just like drone warfare — they love it. A Washington Post poll this February found that 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy. (It’s hard to think of anything that 83 percent of Americans agree on these days.) In addition, a whopping 77 percent of liberal Democrats support the use of drones — and 65 percent are fine with missile strikes against U.S. citizens, as was the case with the Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, killed last September by a drone.

The popularity of unmanned vehicles is not difficult to understand. They’re cheap; they keep Americans out of harm’s way; and they kill “bad guys.” That unnamed and unseen civilians may be getting killed in the process or that the attacks stretch the outer limits of statutory law are of less concern. Indeed, rare is the American war where such legal and humanitarian niceties mattered much to the electorate.

Americans, including a plurality of liberals, couldn’t care less about the innocents who happen to be standing next to drone targets or those who are targeted when they shouldn’t have been. As long as the President can spin the story as “bad guys get killed, good guys – i.e. Americans – don’t” then a plurality of the populace don’t give a damn about morality or legality. Michael points out on Twitter that the same was true in Iraq, where U.S. opposition to the war was all about American troop deaths, American money wasted and bashing Bush; the vast number of Iraqi civilians who died were a bipartisanly “meh” subject.

The same seems to be true of Obama’s cyberattacks on Iran, only more so. They may be illegal aggressive warfare of the kind that the Obama administration has said would be worthy of physical retaliation should another nation do it to the U.S.A. but Americans could care less.

Now I need a drink.

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