If Our Troops Aren't in Danger Then It Isn't War

More

Yglesias pivots off of this piece on military drones to note:


Part of what the White House is saying about the War Powers issue seems to rely on the idea that it makes a big difference if you're not dispatching actual human beings into an area of armed conflict. After all, everyone recognizes the difference between participating in a war and providing military equipment to someone. And a drone is just that, a piece of equipment rather than a soldier. By the same token, it's noteworthy that a lot of drone operating seems to be done by the CIA rather than the uniformed military services. The CIA can't raise an army -- that's the job of the Army -- but it seems that perhaps it can build up an army of remotely operated pieces of military equipment.

I understand this from the perspective of making an argument to Congress and the American people. But there's implicit message here to the rest of the world. Perhaps Americans don't consider it war, unless actual American soldiers are endangered. But why should, say, these guys draw the same conclusion?

I assure you if I were in Libya and my baby sister was killed by a NATO bombing, I would conclude, whatever my hatred of Gaddafi, that America was at war with me, that it had, indeed, commenced hostilities. I don't think I'd be wrong in that. 
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Ghost Trains of America

Can a band of locomotive experts save vintage railcars from ruin?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

From This Author

Just In