Monday, October 3, 2011

All Watched Over By Drones Of Loving Grace

Paul Krugman
Christopher Dickey

Science fiction has long become a recognized and accepted form of popular literature, a genre long mined for television and the movies. Part of science fiction is devoted to predicting how our society will evolve in the future, from Jules Verne predicting the submarine, to Robert Heinlein predicting the use of LSD. Now its our turn to make predictions, with the rampant use of the drone in warfare.

 Drones have recently been used wherever the CIA has been operating with mercenaries, in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, firing missiles at those we deem to be enemies, kiss al Qaeda goodbye... Unfortunately, the missiles aren't always as accurate as we'd like, so there also has been more innocent civilians killed s collateral damage than targeted individuals. But the drone program has been counted as so successful that the Air Force is currently training more men to command drones by remote control than it is training pilots for fighter jets...

Domestically, drones have been used to patrol the border between the US and Mexico, to monitor the sea lanes into the US, and to look for refugees fleeing from Haiti and Cuba. The Department of Homeland Security currently uses four bases to launch and use their drones: Riverside, California; Sierra Vista, Arizona; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and Cape Canaveral, Florida. By expanding the use of drones, and coupling them with satellite imagery, soon we will have the entire globe under surveillance. Hook that information up to the cameras set up at every stoplight in every city, and the types of databases that can be accessed by our police and intelligence services, I would like to formally welcome you to A Brave New World, run by a New World Order. Oh, it's so much more than an episode of NCIS: LA. And it all happened while we were distracted by 9/11 and the economic crisis. Once these information controls are firmly in place, will the man behind the curtain reveal himself, or will we be forced to continue making silly conjectures about antichrists, raptures, and the return of our savior/and or the return of the mahdi? At least the Buddha never made those kind of claims, unless you believe in reincarnation and the Chinese government picking the next Dalai Lama... Recently, a couple of men were arrested for buying some of the larger remote-controlled toy planes (they actually are pretty sophisticated, that you can't really describe them as toys anymore), and trying to fit them with explosives for a terrorist act.

Ultimately, we will know that drones and their ilk have truly been integrated into our society, when we develop commercial uses for them, and put shows about them on television. Action shows such as Hawaii Drone-O, or Predator, Rise of the Drones, or comedies like Two and a Half Hellfire Missiles... With the ardent need for gamers to run the new military and security programs, we may soon see recruiters stalking the halls of the junior high schools, paving the way to lower the age for drinking, driving, and the use of recreational drugs, putting the coca back into coca cola...

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