|The Obama Administration claims that "surgical" drone attacks rarely impact civilians (Source: Bengal Newz)|
Obama’s drone attacks have created a massive uptick in unproductive consumable spending: at $68,000 per missile and $4,030,000 per drone, his administration has executed more drone attacks in the first two months of his presidency than the last two years of Bush’s.
At US$3.7 Trillion, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are irresponsible investments. The potential return for the American people, even supposing favorable postbellum economic cooperation, is unlikely to surpass the monetary and human costs of the wars. This even includes the net value of oil resources in Iraq, the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline and mineral resources in Afghanistan (the latter alone valued at US$1Trillion by Soviet prospectors in the 1980s).
Spending $68,000 on an AGM-114 Hellfire missile does little for economic production, unless your production scheme involves decimating civil society in potential client nations. Spending $68,000 on factors of production instead would create real value that will feed back into a consumer economy when it is later purchased as a good or service.
Republicans are talking about electing a “businessman,” but Obama is the quintessential businessman, having surrounded himself by financial elites to an unprecedented extent. What we have seen is that the influence of private enterprise makes public policy uniquely inefficient and unprofitable for Americans; a policy which Romney, the “dissenting” businessman, fully supports.
For their part, Democrats and policy wonks are steadfast in their support of Obama's "surgical strikes" which nonetheless manage a high percentage of civilian casualties. A degree of opacity is necessary, however, to insure that there is decent public relations data to provide media outlets. This is why you get the kind of bizarre polemical theatrics by Christine Fair on a recent episode of Al Jazeera's Inside Story:
According to Fair, in the interests of "scientific methodology" we are to forego the statements of secluded peasants whose only crime is to live in the way of a lucrative industrial project. Instead, we need to trust the US military, whose policy on the distinction of militant and civilian casualties are age and gender alone. During the assault on Fallujah, after extensive bombing campaigns, checkpoints were set up allowing only women and children (if you're male, you have to be under 16) to leave the city. Cut off from the world, the remaining population was all but forced to fight.
To be fair, this isn't a unique policy. Russia used it in the Katyn forest in 1940 Poland. And Serbia used it on Bosnians in Srebrenica. The difference in that in these cases, women and children were trucked out or otherwise allowed to leave before the invading army bombed the population errantly. Ever the efficient empire builders, the US military learned from these Russian and Serb mistakes.
To truly surgically remove the threat of a democracy opening, you need to kill the women and children, too. Reducing the size of the tribal population in strategic regions means that there are less folk who will be in a position to demand reimbursement for the use or theft of their land and resources. And if it costs $68,000 per missile and $4Mn per drone - so be it. The US taxpayers are only paying for it, the profits go elsewhere - to those same folk who cast the shadow over society so that these questions won't be raised.