As we reported last year, liberal Senator Mark Udall has taken the unusual position of being against the successful American military tactic of drone strikes against enemies on foreign battlefields, but he wants to make Colorado center stage for an Federal Aviation Administration program to develop the use of drones on U.S. soil.
For the better part of a decade, drone use has been highly effective in killing enemy combatants on the battlefield and projecting force into areas where it would be impractical to have a large military presence on the ground.
But sensitive to the political fallout of collateral damage from the use of drones in Afghanistan, Udall advocated for more American soldiers in the ground and a reduction of the use of drones during combat operations. A tradeoff that that obviously puts the lives of Americans at greater risk. From The Denver Post:
“Obama has ordered more troops in Afghanistan, and Udall said that will lessen the need for air strikes by unpiloted drones and traditional aircraft, which the Afghan government complains have killed innocent victims. ‘I think the need for those drones and the follow-on air strikes will lessen because we will be face-to-face with the enemy and the Afghan people,’ he said.”
Right. Because why use drones when you can use real live American people – fathers, brothers, sons, daughters, sisters, mothers – in the field? But, we digress.
Oddly, despite Udall’s best efforts, the FAA did not select Colorado as one of its six testing areas to develop the use of drones for government, commercial, and data collecting activities.
Civil libertarians are concerned that the increased government use of drones over U.S. soil presents increased privacy concerns, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has introduced legislation that would make it illegal for government agencies to search for regulatory violations using drone technology without a warrant. Who’s the real privacy watch dog now?