A federal appeals court rebuffed the Obama administration's drone policy on Friday, ruling that the CIA stretched its considerable secrecy powers "too far." The stinging decision may be the biggest news in the war on terror that you've never heard about.
We have, in short, established a remarkably expansive set of drone-war rules for the global future. Naturally, we trust ourselves with such rules, but there is a fly in the ointment, even as the droniacs see it.
New forms of weaponry give us a technical advantage that may be unbeatable on the battlefield, but even with such superiority the mission -- achieving a durable peace and a political result -- may remain elusive.
War has always been the most human and inhuman of activities. Now, it seems, its inhuman aspect is quite literally on the rise. With the U.S. military working to roboticize the future battlefield, the American way of war is destined to be imbued with Terminator-style terror.
The drones do not make America safer. They inevitably provoke blowback. They are not a way of waging war cheaply. They require massive investments in client states and "nation-building" on the ground. They kill people, but no victories are won from the air.