Morning Joe's Drone Debate: Whose Four-Year-Old Girls Should Be Killed?

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Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Morning Joe's Drone Debate: Whose Four-Year-Old Girls Should Be Killed?

Peter Hart

MSNBC's Morning Joe had a  remarkable discussion of U.S. drone attacks today (10/23/12). Here's a clip of the most intense moments of the exchange between the conservative-leaning Joe Scarborough and Time columnist Joe Klein, who is occasionally mistaken for a liberal:

Scarborough offered up a more passionate critique of drone attacks than you're likely to hear from his left-leaning MSNBC colleagues: "If you're between 17 and 30, and you're within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up."

When Klein interjects to argue that drones are "decimating bad guys," Scarborough responds that the attacks are "taking out a lot of innocent people as well."

Klein marvels at the notion that drones provide the advantage of not needing pilots anymore. The killing can be done via a "joystick from California," which causes Scarborough to respond:

You have four-year-old girls being blown to bits because we have a policy that says, "You know what, instead of trying to go in, take the risk, get the terrorists out of hiding… we're just going to blow up everyone around them."

Scarborough went on to declare:

Listen, I hate to sound like a Code Pink guy here, I'm telling you this is causing, this collateral damage that seems so clean with a joystick from California, this is going to cause the U.S. problems in the future.

Klein's retort is remarkable:

The bottom line, in the end, is: Whose four-year-old gets killed? What we're doing is limiting the possibility that four-year-olds here are going to get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.

The idea that the U.S. should be killing children in other countries to prevent children from being killed here is chilling. The opposite argument, that avoiding killing innocent people in other countries will make it less likely that innocents in America will be attacked, is far more plausible: As we should understand by now, people motivated to commit acts of terrorism against the United States often say they are doing so in response to violent acts carried out by the United States.

Klein's logic is not likely to stop future acts of terrorism; on the contrary, it all but guarantees such acts will occur.

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