Yes, I'm busting out quotes from Breaking Bad (the latest TV series I'm watching via Netflix, I mean Qwikster, I mean Netflix) to discuss two very interesting New York Times editorials published this past weekend outlying issues that I hear very few talking about. While I assume most Americans are more concerned about the many domestic issues at the moment, it is a little troubling that so little attention has been given. I see both issues to be a "slippery slope" for American foreign policy.
The first article is about the recent popularity of the drones, or unmanned aircraft that can provide surveillance and fire weapons. With the US being only one of the few countries to use this relatively new technology effectively, I think most Americans haven't truly thought through the repercussions. While it is great that American troops can be taken out of dangerous situations, it frightens me that it is only a matter of time before other countries (and terrorists) catch up. Being able to attack an enemy without putting any lives in danger seems like a bad idea; if you don't have any skin in the game you are much more likely to gamble with the lives of others. A related great quote comes from Season 2 of Breaking Bad, where corrupt lawyer Saul tells cancer diagnosed teacher turned meth-dealer Walt (who just paid $80k to get one of his dealers out of jail instead of having him killed), "Conscience gets expensive, doesn't it?". So true, but that's a good thing, right? Read here: Coming Soon - The Drone Arms Race
The second article deals with the events of 9/30/2011 and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki and 3 others in Yemen using a drone. Awlaki was an American born citizen accused of being a terrorist and who was essentially executed. The scary part is that he was ordered killed with no trial and with no legal precedence to do so. Even scarier is that the Obama administration refuses to disclose the policy they applied when ordering this attack. I'd say it is pretty safe to assume he was guilty and a terrorist, but again this is a very slippery slope when Americans can be killed without a fair trial. Where do you draw the line about who does or does not need a trial? What happens when other countries start attacking people outside of their borders with no trials and using an unmanned drone? How many others have been killed like this via secret programs that the public is not aware of? Who's accountable? Read here: The Secrets of Government Killing