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Ear to the Ground

Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the Downside of Drones

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Posted on Jan 23, 2014

isafmedia (CC BY 2.0)

“Wars are ultimately determined in the minds of populations,” the retired commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan told the BBC this month.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal continued:

What we need to understand is there’s a danger that something feels easy to do and without the risk to yourself, almost antiseptic to the person shooting, doesn’t feel that way at the point of impact. And so if it lowers the threshold for taking operations because it feels easy, there’s danger in that.

And then the other part is there’s a perception of arrogance. There is a perception of helpless people in an area being shot at like thunderbolts from the sky by an entity that is acting as though they have omniscience and omnipotence, and you can create a tremendous amount of resentment inside populations, even not the people who are themselves being targeted, but around, because of the way it appears and feels.

Hear the full exchange here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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