Compassionate Drones?

Drones flew into our lives and consciousness straight out of some futuristic robotic Armageddon. News coverage of shadowy figures moving around on grainy backgrounds leave viewers wondering. If that is what the drone operators, in their secure bunkers hundreds or thousands of miles away, were looking at how could they ever be at all sure that they were not attacking civilians.

No doubt. Drones used in combat and war were rolled out full force with the Operation Iraqi Freedom and ramped up as the wars drew out a decade after “Mission Accomplished” was declared. The argument was simple, surveille and attack without committing American lives, then the American people will love us. Or at least not notice a war, occupation, is still going on.

By anyone’s standards, it really didn’t work. It is still too hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys, or what is really going on on the ground in all but a few situations. It has also been difficult to know the real civilian casualty statistics. Is it 4% like some conservative researchers beiece, or the 35% that others groups have put out. How does this compare to the same campaign on ground only? Does it matter?

In the meantime, like is true with many technologies that started with a mainly military application, drones have branched out. They now deliver packages and supplies, which is helpful especially in remote or war-torn areas where the delivery food and medical supplies save lives. They take pictures, which helps the study of agricultural areas and rainforests. They are playthings for children and drone hobbyists. There are even drone racing circuits.

Last month drones helped restore satellite and internet capability to a majority of Puerto Rico and to the people who had been isolated since the hurricanes of September and October 2017. Last week  Los Angeles firefighters used data from drones to enhance their view on hotspots in the devastating fires so that they can combat the fires more effectively.

For years now regular vigils have taken place outside the gates of Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, where the Air Force is believed to house some of its drones. The vigils are called drone vigils or anti-drone vigils.Last year I bought drones as gifts for a niece, nephew, and grandson.

As a member of Veterans for Peace, Chapter 25, does that bother me. Do I feel some discordance? Not a bit. The anti-drone protests are targeted at combat or war-related uses, drones don’t kill people-people kill people, and we can’t put the drone back in the box anyway.

Posted in Afghanistan, At War, Inner world, iraq, Justice, Military Life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Should We Love You When Your Bad: Nancy Pelosi and Sexual Harassment

In defense of her refusal to call her colleagues to accountability on sexual harassment, particularly Representative John Conyers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gives the implausible explanation that in her three decades in Washinton she has never experienced sexual harassment.

I suspect most women these days will find this attempt at minimizing an obviously systemic problem laughable, and sad.

Damaging to the Democratic party says the LA Times and Vanity Fair this week. No doubt. All her statements say is the problem is so pervasive and entrenched the people who have been there the longest and who have the most power don’t even recognize it.

Granted I run in different circles, but consider:

At fourteen I worked in a small bakery at night packaging cookies. The other women were going home but I wanted to finish my quota so I told a friend, who was older and much wiser to the working world, that I was going to stay a little longer. She cautioned me: ok, but watch out- the boss can get a little frisky. I wasn’t quite sure what that would mean but told her I was sure I’d be fine. I returned to concentrating on finishing up my cookies and next thing you know I have my old, shriveled, ghost white boss standing next to me with nothing on his bottoms, his dick sticking straight out at me and his shriveled hairy old balls hanging out. I blurted out the first thing that came to mind, “Oh that is just gross!” and he returned to his office without a word.

Sexual Harassment?

From when I first joined the military until about 2009, three years before my retirement there was a constant grinding presence:

Male soldiers fake whimpering and boohooing at us during sexual harassment training and when we responded with irritation, there constant reply, “What’s the matter, can’t take a joke!”

This example seems minor but it was all-pervasive and relentless. The message was clear, we are a band of brothers, we want to keep it that way, and we don’t have your back.

Being told in so many words over and over on my Afganistan deployment that I wasn’t equal to the male team members although we did the same job, same tasks, same danger, and horror, somehow I didn’t really understand combat and wasn’t part of the team.

Getting slammed up against a wall and groped by a superior officer while he growled at me, “You don’t belong here.”

These are just a few examples pulled out of a rich and varied life and I don’t consider myself at all unusual. I know women who have suffered worse and more continuous harassment and assault. From what the younger women have told me this has been their lot in life as well.

Many have said out of all of the recent harassment complaints Conyers, in particular, seems to be a good man. He is served in the Korean War, worked a lifetime in civil rights.

Can we excuse the sexual harassment because he seems to be an otherwise good man?

Among the men that harassed me, there were some otherwise good men, pillars of their communities, known to be moral and good.

And yet…

Why the need to objectify? That is a much longer story.

For now, the question remains: should we support you (the harassers) unconditionally, even when your bad?

Posted in America, American Dream, Elusive Dream, Justice, Our Democracy at Work, Sexual Harassment, Social justice, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Transformation Liquid to Solid

Nothing says winter is licking at your toes as much as the first ice formation on the lake. The was this constant almost music like a million ice crystal colliding and the loudest static electricity you have heard. It was a beautiful and irritating sound that I couldn’t  get enough of and couldn’t get away from fast enough, at the same time.

Feel the flow:


Or view it static:


I think people swim right up until the ice forms, but this day there was a cold wind and the beach was empty:


Posted in Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge, photos, Water | Leave a comment