Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘Drone Wars’

Full piece here.

‘The potential targets of drone attacks have no intention of subjecting themselves to the authority of the United States, so the only option left is to pursue them in territories where the United States exerts no effective control. In these settings, the futility of trial forces the government to take the controversial military option.

In dealing with that calculus, the United States could take citizenship into account in making its decision. But which way should that cut? Does a citizen deserve extra rights against the government that he has betrayed? Or should he be subject to additional sanctions? There is no clear answer, which is why U.S. policy on drone use for targeted attacks will remain an open wound in the body politic. It is both frightening and necessary to have to place such extensive trust in our public officials. But, when it comes to matters of national security, there is no other choice.’

Drone strikes can be a form of militarism lite, I suspect.  For this President, they can meet the political goal of targeting the enemy without troops on the ground as in Afpak and Yemen, thus achieving this aim in a more ‘quiet’ way, appealing to the base which is conveniently quiet as well.

More broadly, do you trust our elected officials and non-elected officials to have such powers?

Drones could eventually bring up civil liberties issues, because they are so inexpensive, reduce risk of harm for the user, and can be used effectively by all sorts of people here at home, from criminals to law enforcement.  They can be used to control a lot of the public sphere with minimal effort and cost.

I recall briefly thinking of Glenn Greenwald as almost in the anarchic tradition, but when he’s not, that he leans more toward progressive and liberal ideals, so he likely has animus against the State having such power in the first place (civil libertarian…he sued the Obama administration on behalf of the ACLU) but also because of the liberal lean he may have animus against those who would define liberty further away from a more progressive/liberal point of view (blaming America first for not having the right ideals, perhaps somewhere between Noam Chomsky and Julian Assange who both flirt with anarchy as well).

He makes some interesting arguments, however.

Francis Fukuyama has been writing about surveillance drones as well.

Related On This Site:  Covering the law and economics from a libertarian perspective: Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution Journal: ‘Three Cheers for Income Inequality’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Death By Wealth Tax’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The Obamacare Quaqmire’

The anarchic tradition on this site:  A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”… …Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of KnowledgeLink To Lew Rockwell Via A ReaderRepost-Two Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’…minimal state…Repost-Youtube Via Libertarianism.Org-David Friedman: ‘The Machinery Of Freedom

The classical liberal tradition…looking for classical liberals in the postmodern wilderness: Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty: A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”… From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’…Looking to supplant religion as moral source for the laws: From The Reason Archives: ‘Discussing Disgust’ Julian Sanchez Interviews Martha Nussbaum.New liberty away from Hobbes?: From Public Reason: A Discussion Of Gerald Gaus’s Book ‘The Order of Public Reason: A Theory of Freedom And Morality In A Diverse And Bounded World’…Richard Rorty tried to tie postmodernism and trendy leftist solidarity to liberalism, but wasn’t exactly classically liberal:  Repost: Another Take On J.S. Mill From “Liberal England”

Originalism vs. The living constitution: George Will Via The Jewish World Review: ‘True Self-Government’..Still fighting the battles of the 60′s…? A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”…Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’

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