The Washington Post has just reported within the last hour that a US airstrike has killed a family of 12 as they were sleeping in their beds just a few hours ago. They were asleep when the strikes occured. Most of the victims were women and children. The Iraqi government and local residents are saying that there were no terrorists present.

This is the very reason why we should not commit our troops to a foreign conflict like this except as a last resort. An Iraqi life is just as valuable as an American life, and the death of one innocent civilian is too many for a war that has no just cause. The blood of this family is on George Bush’s hands.
The air strikes were called in after an unmanned drone saw what was supposedly terrorists planting bombs in the road. But the fact that our technology was so dreadfully wrong in this instance shows that our military is overly reliant on technology and not reliant enough on human reasoning.

We could have died if we had relied too much on technology back in the 1980’s, during the height of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. I wrote a recommended diary about one such instance in which  Stanislav Petrov correctly reasoned that the US would not launch only five nukes against the Soviet Union and told his superiors that the launch was a hoax.

This goes to show that the technology, which Donald Rumsfeld placed so much faith in, is not omnipotent and does not even come close to human reasoning and decision-making. Rumsfeld is not a man versed in military strategy. Instead, he came with an agenda — to win a war solely with hi-tech gadgetry and gimmicks instead of the massive manpower that the first Bush administration used in winning the First Gulf War.

Not only was the family innocent and not only were there no terrorists even near the site of the bombing, this has opened a whole can of worms for the Bush administration:

Maj. Abdul Jabbar Kaissi, a security officer with Salahuddin governorate, said the air strike killed the 12-member family of Ghadban Nahi Kaissi, a farmer and relative of the governor of Salahuddin province, Ahmad Mahmud Kaissi. U.S. forces surrounded the area Tuesday morning as bulldozers removed rubble and emergency crews pulled out bodies. The Post special correspondent watched as crews removed the bloody body of an older woman, her head covered in a black scarf, and two younger women in nightclothes with their heads uncovered for sleep.

In other words, the family in question was related to the governor of the province. The Bush administration will now have to explain why all their technology and all their gadgetry failed to tell the difference between a terrorist and an innocent civilian.

The article notes that the number of US air strikes has gone up five times since last January. This means that they know that the current ground war is futile, so they are resorting to the tried and true crutch that many politicians have relied on in lieu of an actual solution — air strikes.

The root cause of the problem is that Bush has no confidence in the men and women in uniform who actually have to do the work. So, he hired Donald Rumsfeld, seduced by the idea that we could improve on so-called smart bombs and smart drones and win a war that way.

We have a fundamental choice that we have to make as a country — should technology become our servant or our master? It is clear where the Republicans stand on this issue — they believe that technology should be our master, judging from Rumsfeld’s reliance on unmanned drones to track what may or may not be a terrorist. It is just as clear that they were wrong in this instance and wrong thousands of other times — that is why around 150,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed in this war.

On the other hand, I would hope that we as a party would decide that technology should become our servant. Computers and technology are useful tools. But technology can never become a substitute for human reason. If it ever does, it could get us all killed, like we almost did back in 1983.

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