By Katie Kieffer
If U.S. drone policy weren’t so treacherous, it would be a comedy on par with the hit movie Dumb and Dumber. Instead, U.S. drone policy is just plain dumb.
Today, I’ll walk through the most inane aspects of our drone policy so you can take action before you’re awakened from sunbathing on your patio by the buzzing of a drone snapping your picture overhead. My own mother was recently outside watering her flowers when she noticed a tiny drone flying above. A few days later, the drone returned. Whether drones like these are operated by snoopy neighbors or prying politicians—the threat they pose to our 4th Amendment right to private property is alarming.
A new report unearthed by The Intercept on Oct. 15, 2015 shows that our foreign drone policy is even more corrupt and mismanaged than our domestic policy. According to The Intercept’s report, there have been more innocent civilian deaths due to this administration’s use of drones than due to all combined mass shooters in the United States over the course of Obama’s dual presidency.
“Smart power” entails “showing respect even for one’s enemies,” says presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. I don’t think so. Smart power is not treating innocent civilians in the United States and abroad like one’s enemies—while befriending known ex-terrorists like Underground co-founder Bill Ayers.
This fall, Yale Daily News published an interview with Ayers and quoted him as saying: “I like to think that his [Obama’s] association with me got him elected in 2008.” Quite the opposite. If more Americans had known how cozy Obama was with folks like Ayers—and how callous he would be toward innocent citizens—they would never have fallen for Mr. Nobel Peace Prize.
Let’s start with the dumb and proceed to the dumber—and end with a solution.
Put the federal government in charge of anything, and prepare for failure. From IRS Girl Gone Wild Lois Lerner—to a TSA with a 95% fail rate at detecting bombs and weapons, our federal government is A-rated in incompetency.
For all the current administration’s efforts to make it more difficult to register guns—it has little qualm with making it super easy for anyone to register a drone—even when The Intercept report shows that drones are responsible for more mass killings of innocent civilians than guns.
Last week, the Obama administration’s Federal Aviation Administration announced that it will be a piece of cake for third parties to register drones. “Unmanned aircraft users should know they probably won’t need help registering their drones when the system is in place,” proclaimed the FAA. Great. Criminals could get their hands on a drone with less work and less cost—just $24.99—than an 18-year-old college student expends on a fake ID to buy beer.
700,000 drones will be sold in America in 2015, estimates the Consumer Electronic Association. That’s nearly two thirds more as were sold in 2014. Unfortunately, the Obama administration just made it easier for snoopy neighbors, corrupt journalists, power-hungry politicians and petty criminals to obtain drones to silently survey or attack their prey—while failing to honor the average law-abiding citizen’s 4th Amendment right to private property and 2nd Amendment right to defend that property with a firearm.
Our domestic drone policy looks even more moronic when you consider that our president plans to make it easy for random hoodlums to register drones—despite numerous recent drone pranks played on the White House.
In January, a drone crashed on the White House lawn and in May the U.S. Secret Service arrested a man who flew his drone eerily close to the White House. As recently as October, the U.S. Secret Service handed out a citation to another man who illegally flew a drone near to the White House. Even if he’s not that concerned with our safety—doesn’t our president care about his own safety?
Nope. Unfortunately, President Obama and his wannabe successor Hillary Clinton perceive dumb domestic drone policy as “smart power.”
Our foreign drone policy is far dumber than our domestic policy—and this is no laughing matter. As alluded to at the beginning of this column, The Intercept’s report shows that more innocent civilians died due to the use of drones by the Obama administration than in the U.S. due to mass shooters like Adam Lanza, Dylann Roof, Major Nidal Hasan, James Holmes or Jared Loughner.
As I’ve shown here, mass gun violence is at a historic high under the Obama administration. Trained U.S. military personnel cannot carry concealed on their own bases—even as madmen like Major Nidal Hasan and Aaron Alexis increasingly target their gun-free bases. And college women cannot carry concealed on their own campuses—even as reports of sexual assault rise. But our president has unethically authorized the use of lethal drone force against both Americans and non-Americans abroad—a process that has killed countless innocent civilians—in the name of hunting down terrorists.
It would be easier to trust our president’s competence in overseeing our foreign drone policy if Bill Ayers hadn’t made the mistake of confirming that our president is on very friendly terms with at least one anti-American ex-terrorist: Bill Ayers.
Documents leaked to The Intercept show that anyone deemed to be a “threat to U.S. interest[s] or personnel” could be targeted with lethal drone force. The broadness of this definition is concerning. Additionally, our domestic policy is vague enough to be misinterpreted to allow snooping to occur on my mother in her garden—or you sunbathing on your deck in your swimsuit.
Solution: Your voice is more powerful than you may realize. An uplifting new report from the Congressional Management Foundation finds that it only takes 30 tweets to draw congressional office attention to an issue. Keep hope and tweet on. Spread your smart facts on social media—and before long politicians will be forced to reform our Dumb and Dumber drone policy.