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The Idea of America Is Also Drones' Collateral Damage -

Stashed in: Drones

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In Washington, drones in dark suits continue to insist that remote-control murder and “enhanced interrogation” abroad are essential because they keep Americans safer at home. This is not evident on the receiving end.

However one looks at the morality issues, the effect of drone strikes and torture is dead clear to anyone who has witnessed the aftermath: Both create endless enemies, and any tactical gain pales against greater strategic loss.

ALL OVER THE MAP Mort Rosenblum’s Global Adventures Writing from Arizona, where these issues are a distant abstraction, I keep thinking of “A Clockwork Orange.” A murderous young thug is strapped to a chair, eyes propped open, and forced to watch a replay of the violence he wrought. Perhaps Americans could use a little of Stanley Kubrick’s “aversion therapy.”

Much has been made of the torture depicted in “Zero Dark Thirty.” Compared to real “enhanced interrogation,” what happens in the film smacks of campus fraternity hazing. It rarely produces useful intelligence. But it almost invariably leaves lifelong bitter hatred.

Torture, at least, is not usually fatal. Done out of sight, its true extent remains a dirty little secret. Drone strikes are exponentially different. Their very principle redefines America for a world that once expected something better.