Fascinating article, although it's stronger on presenting evidence of actions without much analysis of what drives these forms of barbarity.
As for this:
"Drone attacks are no less violent or disturbing than the murder of Damiens. But they’ve been placed in a different context that makes them palatable to a majority of Americans (though not to most of the world). They’re not public spectacles."
I don't think the attacks are necessarily palatable to a majority of Americans. Mr. Feffer left out the enormous weight of "the back story." And that story is the product of mass media narratives repeated often that are completely deceptive. Basically, the drone program is "sold" to the American public as "surgical strikes." This metaphor suggests precision whereas facts--in the form of the thousands of innocents killed--are glossed over if mentioned at all. People like Clapper lie about the numbers and pretend that not ONE innocent has been killed. In the few cases where it is admitted that something akin to a wedding party felt the deadly impact, it will be excused as an accident.
That same modus operandi was used to excuse torture (at offshore locations) by stating that it was only done by a few bad apples. Actually, it was mandated from "the top."
We see it when individual cops are blamed for the systemic racism that's projecting ridiculous levels of aggressive force at The Black Community.
The fact that "respected" authorities like the church (in earlier eras) enthusiastically sponsored sadistic tortures was a planned strategy aimed at controlling all citizens. Justice-minded persons would face that type of carnage if they sought to oppose the mighty muscle of the church-state.
And that is STILL the force that drives barbarity. When State Power uses police officers to gun down Black citizens, and armed guards who rape "illegal aliens," and right wing soldiers who torture prisoners to death... it is THAT brute force that sets "the standard" for the nation.
I term if Mars Rules and its martial taint is everywhere... stretching from the slaughter of animals raised in utter cruelty, to the laxity shown towards rape on college campuses, to the wild wild west amped up policing squads let loose in urban ghettoes, to the wars abroad.
The problem with cultures governed by dominators and an ethos that rests upon war, weaponry and the proud use of aggressive force is that it inhibits the wisdom and humanity of all good citizens.
Amy Goodman recently had a segment about the prison strike at Attica. The inmates, mostly Black bravely stood up to demand some basic human rights. But when the armed militias arrived, it was all over.
No one can stand up to fire power.
That's what got the kids off the street (OWS), and sent the surging wave of Arab Spring back into hiding. It's what subdues populations. Like Shirley Jackson's poignant short story, "The Lottery," it's through turning human sacrifice into a "necessary rite" that people submit to authority, in general.
When Authority itself is barbaric, the whole society is permeated with violence. That's how Mars Rules controls citizens and thwarts the expression of their better natures.
It is all deliberate.
Morality rots from the HEAD first.