The Voice of the Shepherd University Student Body Since 1896

National Drone Policy and the Military Industrial Complex

Bruce Burgess, Staff Writer

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As the president, Congress and the Justice Department scramble to solidify policy over the use of drone aircrafts on U.S. soil, one thing is abundantly clear: drones are here, and they will monitor us. It is doubtful that the use of this relatively new technology will ever be regulated in the interest of our population.

The real answer to questions over drone policy is likely the same answer that regulates drone policy in combat and every other defense/law enforcement material acquisition program.

This answer as to why you will undergo 24/7 surveillance in the future and why you won’t be able to do anything about it is simple and was forecasted long ago. President Eisenhower highlighted this “arrangement” in his 1961 farewell address when he warned of the “Military-Industrial Complex” and the likely scenario that it would eventually run amok if not contained by a vigilant populace.

Unfortunately, that time is now. We now live fueled by fear from the Sept. 11 attacks, resulting in a population that is happier living in apathy, unwisely trusting those in positions of power, and falsely believing those in power will do them no harm. The German population believed the same in the late 1930s.

I certainly don’t know anyone who is happy with authoritarian agencies like the DHS and TSA, which will largely control drone use and policy in the same reckless manner they have regulated air travel and domestic counter-terrorism strategy.

Justifications for the use of these unmanned aircraft are wildly overestimated and clearly to the benefit of the various agencies of the U.S. Government and the Military-Industrial Complex. These entities are only surviving in the best manner possible as government agencies face competition for tax dollars from sequestration and the builders of the drones face reduced profits as the Middle East drawdown continues.

Through continued procurement of defense products for use on U.S. soil, these entities are only concerned for their own survival and have found the next profitable battlefield in the War on Terror – the continental U.S.

The sale of these very expensive machines to law enforcement and intelligence agencies is driven by a profit motive that is shortsighted and devoid of any concern for civil liberties and airspace safety. A telltale sign of their desire to maintain profit margins can be seen in their lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and was highlighted in a recent Hearst Newspapers investigative story that determined the Congressional “Drone Caucus” had received $8 million in drone related campaign contributions. The power of the Military-Industrial Complex and its lobbying efforts are so solidified that attempts to hide the conflict of interest scenarios are no longer concealed.

Many will argue that domestic surveillance is a necessary step in securing population safety. In the end, it has to be asked of every U.S. citizen – just how much liberty you are willing to sacrifice for mere illusions of safety? At what point does the Military-Industrial Complex completely remove itself from the shadows and directly control the policies that dominate our lives?

If these questions are not asked, ultimately the Military-Industrial Complex will continue to dominate all of our lives while being delivered our freedoms on a golden platter purchased through collective apathy and blind trust in a government that continually proves that it has little concern for freedom and liberty – let alone public safety. Profits and the power to accumulate more profits are the sole driving factors for these corporations that purchase our representatives for a pittance.

Eisenhower warned us with his most famous statement about the Military-Industrial Complex when he said “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Military-Industrial Complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”

Enjoy the police state and welcome to the dystopian future! Brought to you by our collective apathy, misplaced power, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics – oh and don’t forget the Congressional Drone Caucus.

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The Voice of the Shepherd University Student Body Since 1896
National Drone Policy and the Military Industrial Complex