The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier | Monday, May 15, 2012

On the FAA’s announcement yesterday that the agency is expediting the approval of law enforcement’s use of aerial surveillance drones:

I’m going to go hard left on you. I’m going to go ACLU.

I don’t want regulations, I don’t want restrictions, I want a ban on this.

Drones are instruments of war. The Founders had a great aversion to any instruments of war, any use of the military inside the United States. They didn’t like standing armies. There’s all kinds of statutes against using the army in the country. A drone is a high-tech version of an old army and a musket. It ought to be used in Somalia to hunt the bad guys, but not in America.

I don’t want to see it hovering over anybody’s home.

Yes, you can say we’ve got satellites, we’ve got Google street, and London has a camera on every street corner, but that’s not [an] excuse to cave in on everything else and accept a society where you’re always being watched by the government. This is not what we want. I would say you ban it under all circumstances.

And I would predict, I’m not encouraging, but I’m predicting, the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that’s been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country…

On law enforcement’s claim that drones are more cost effective than helicopters in an era of tight budgets:

I would say: [that is] the price of liberty. You can hear a helicopter, you can’t hear a drone. You know, if you hear a helicopter, you can hide under a bush. But you can’t with this, which is why it’s effective in Pakistan and elsewhere. It’s deft and it’s silent.

Now I don’t think we want a society where there are these objects hovering over, streaming real-time information about you, your family, your car, your location. We know it’s going to be abused. Yes, you say, “Sure… we can save $80,000.” It’s not worth it. . . .

And the Founders were deeply opposed to the militarization of civil society. They had all kinds of aversions to it. And this is importing it [militarization] because it’s cheap, it’s easy. . . .

It’s going to, I think, be the bane of our existence. Stop it here, stop it now.

Strong letter to follow.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


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