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Droned if we do, etc.

It’s insane how vulnerable we’ve made ourselves, like drunks failing to look around as they walk into traffic. Hackers could shut down the way we live, and if they hacked into drones or nuclear codes, determine the way we die. If you think it through, which most of us avoid, the prospect of Techmaggedon is terrifying. On Thursday, at John Brennan’s confirmation hearing to be C.I.A. director, some senators took a stab at thinking it through on the smart, sleek, robotic machine that dominates our political debate. (Drones, not Obama.) Maureen Dowd – New York Times

What a can of worms! Drone killings are one of those, “it seemed like such a good idea at the time”, deals that comes back to haunt the people that dream them up…. like getting the Saudis to finance the war against the USSR in Afghanistan, for example.

Parking all moral considerations and constitutional guarantees for a minute, another major downside is that the technology involved isn’t rocket science…. radio controlled airplanes and helicopters are even on sale in toy stores in developed countries.

Stop and think how easy it would be to use a toy helicopter, with an incendiary grenade attached to it, in as “target rich” an environment as the Isle of Manhattan. Then just think how disruptive it would be for normal life there if they had to jam all the junk-band radio frequencies used to operate RC models (and so many other devices) in order to prevent such an attack.

For a country as potentially vulnerable as the USA to use this technology as a primary weapon system is like telling children not to put beans up their noses: it is putting ideas in the heads of people without much technology or money to spend.

It is really time for a wide ranging discussion about how we got here and how to go in another direction, as difficult as that might be.

What bothers me a lot too, is that Obama is doing all this. With Bush, what you saw was what you got… But Obama is so opaque, so ambiguous, so mysterious… After four whole years I still don’t feel I know who he is… Better than Romney would have been for sure, but having said that… What a can of worms!

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David Seaton

David Seaton