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Drone Strikes and the Sanitization of Violence


Drone Strikes and the Sanitization of Violence

Teun van Dongen

After a lull of some two months — a break punctuated by the toppling of Yemen’s government — the U.S. drone campaign in Yemen has resumed.

The pattern that has emerged is distressingly familiar.


War from beyond range. Drone airmen do not have to see the damage they do and the media can’t report what they can’t see. War out of sight out of sound out of mind out of range is fine with America.


Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower


From the article:

“According to Reprieve, a stunning 28 innocent people have been killed for every known terrorist or militant felled by a drone strike. The report echoes recent data of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), which managed to identify 704 of the 2,904 drone victims who were killed before October 2014 and found that just 10 percent were members of an armed group.”

Let’s call it what it is: Premeditated mass murder.

This quote is really powerfully on target; and note how the same black-white contexts are precisely what mass media feeds to audiences who rely on these outlets for the relay of news related to foreign lands and the far too many battles, therein:

“Drone operatives are trained to see the battlefield in black (enemies) and white (non-enemies), and any nuance regarding an individual’s position (is he a dedicated fighter or merely someone who works with the Taliban because he has no other options?) is lost. This reduction of a complex reality to a simple binary scheme is exemplified most tellingly in the so-called signature strikes, drone attacks against unknown individuals who display characteristics and behavioral patterns that mark them out as militants or terrorists in the eyes of the CIA.”


It is not fine with America since most citizens don’t KNOW what’s going on and increasingly, those rare independent journalists and reporters who report it are being targeted with a variety of tactics precisely TO keep the public in the dark.

War made out of sight is a decision by those at the command centers of the CIA, MIC, and U.S. government beholden to both… and preferred by the corporate overlords who use this nation’s martial forces to procure their own (profitable) ends.

The constant NEED on the part of those few now posting (as this particular meme was the most dominant message planted onto these threads prior to this latest shift in thread protocol) to turn what POWER does into the alleged “will of the governed” constitutes a textbook example of how Consent is Manufactured (Thank you, Noam Chomsky).


As much as I agree as to the behavior of our mercenary class and the medias coverage of its love of war does not change the world view of America. The world believes this class is supported by Americans and it is our direct or indirect silent support that gives it power. Our dissent is neither loud or effective enough to change how we are viewed.


Siouxrose… I’m sorry, but your impassioned pronouncement of the folks posting here as “textbook examples” of Chomsky’s manufacturers of consent is misplaced and quite a stretch indeed. First off, Chomsky was predominantly talking about major corporate news outlets, not ordinary folks that care enough to seek out and comment on items in alternative news sources like Common Dreams in chat forums. …Seems like you are scolding the one’s who bothered to show up for choir practice… Second, I frankly think you are a bit naive. Sure, most Americans are largely ignorant of the ugly side of foreign policy… the destructiveness of our drone strikes, for example. But the majority of the American people have demonstrated time and again their apathy and willingness to remain blissfully ignorant. For the sin of referencing this unfortunate state of affairs, you can lash out and accuse me of helping to “manufacture consent” if you like. But that doesn’t change the fact that we have a much more complex and difficult problem than simply proliferating more truthful news stories. It is urgent that we must also grapple with the growing apathy – even anomie – of the American people.


Again that article on lynchings in America comes to mind , here some weeks after it published.

if one would study the history of those lynchings the only logical conclusion that could be drawn and the only objective one is that while the people who committed those lynchings of blacks from trees were ignorant , they were at the same time fully complicit in those crimes. They showed up in droves to have picnics and cheer on the murder.

Certainly the authorities would look the other way and the media acted to fuel that hysteria against the blacks but none of that excuses the crimes of those “good white citizens”. It is very much the same thing here. There are vast segments of the American population and of populations in other countries who cheer these killings on and feel nothing for those innocents that are killed. These are the same ones who turned “American Sniper” into a box office hit.Ultimately this group could not care less whether the victims of these murders innocent or not .

These “signature strikes” and “assassinations” by drone and that “collateral damage” are high tech lynchings and there ARE a good number of Citizens in those western nations that are no different than those that showed up with kids in tow to have a picnic and witness a lynching. I suggest that people with an interest read “An Intimate History of Killing” by one Joanna Rourke. That book goes a long ways to disabusing the notion that those that commit these crimes or that cheer them on are simply nothing more then victims of the system. They are eager participants.

Buffy Ste Marie referenced this in her song “Universal Solider”


As I read the information on drone strikes, missile and air attacks, and all the rest of it, it becomes apparent that either the US Fourth Reich government, or whatever tail currently wags that dog has made some basic rules.

  • Anyone who is killed in a drone or other strike is immediately a terrorist or insurgent, unless it can be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the body was not a terrorist, in which case the Reich pays a modest weregild and tells the family to shut up. That goes especially for males between puberty and senility.
  • Anyone who objects to invasion, to the looting of his nation’s resources, or to the imposition of a Quisling government to run his country, is automatically a terrorist or insurgent, to be killed or imprisoned in a gulag.
  • Any collateral damage is due to the fact that they shouldn’t have been associating with these terrorists or insurgents, but they were, so it serves them right.
  • This new AUMF allows for the killing of any individual or group, the invasion of any country where the government or the people disagree, or may at some time in the future disagree, with US Fourth Reich-NATO Axis policy.
  • This policy seems to be in effect in the Reich already, with deaths and imprisonment of journalists, increasing brutality against protesters by the police, and on, and on, and on.
  • I hope that, someday, somewhere, the People of the World will say "Enough!" as was done in 1939, but so far, the Reich and its Axis seems to have the world cowed.