Is there a difference between killing extremists with drones and swatting flies?
Today I watched a video about drone surveillance and examples of follow-up lethal strikes on extremist positions. Two relaxed fellows were watching their drone monitors and tracking some alleged hard line extremists as the extremists walked around in the desert–supposedly at their nefarious extremist training facility. From the distance the extremists looked very much like house flies scurrying about on the ground. A couple of mud/stone huts and some old cars and trucks completed the desolate scene.
“Shall we fire?” The drone specialist asked the drone manager in charge. His voice was casual, a monotone from the boredom created by watching a computer screen all day.
“Hang on, I’ll check,” the drone booth commander responded in an equally bored monotone. There was a brief pause where, I suppose, high command was consulted, thumbs up or thumbs down.
“Yeah, go ahead, fire.”
“Okay, fire one.” The drone specialist said. He pressed a button on his console and fired a drone missile into the extremist position. “Fire two,” he added sending in a second missile.
On the ground the first missile hit and exploded. The group of extremists was obliterated. The second shot hit a moment later throwing even more dust into the air.
“Direct hit,” the drone specialist commented dryly.
“Well done,” the drone commander replied, with a vocal inflection equally as dry.
Watching this video, or the current extremist videos coming out of the middle east and Africa, and everywhere else where anger and hated erupt, I thought, as I often do when watching these snuff videos is there any difference in the way these military specialists and insurgents kill people and they way they swat troublesome house flies? Or are troublesome people just like troublesome flies in our current world–one of the suppositions, or eternal questions asked by FLYLAND, the novel. Or if there is a difference between how we treat troublesome flies and troublesome humans what is it? There seems to be no humanity involved in these thought processes.
When I wrote FLYLAND much of this was at the basis of some of my thinking. What are the guidelines anymore. What are the kids growing up to think about murder and what justifies murder. For a fly and a human…the gap seems to be closing rapidly.