Drone Empire

I confess to having been both informed and upset by this story on the web site nationofchange.org about the growing number of drones being used by the United States. In addition to its approximately 1,000 military bases worldwide, the U.S. has drone operations in and from numerous countries. And, according to this apparently well-researched article, “In less than three years under President Obama, the U.S. has launched drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. It maintains that it has carte blanche to kill suspected enemies in any nation (or at least any nation in the global south).”

I know that many “progressive” Christians have been huge fans of Obama. Christians of all stripes need to remember that empires with two parties are still empires.

(This is my first time encountering “Nation of Change.” I cannot vouch for everything there, but the author of this article seems quite well qualified: Nick Turse is the associate editor of TomDispatch.com and the winner of a 2009 Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction as well as a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, In These Times, and regularly at TomDispatch. Turse is currently a fellow at New York University’s Center for the United States and the Cold War. A paperback edition of his book The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives [Metropolitan Books] was published earlier this year. His website is NickTurse.com.)

4 Responses to “Drone Empire”

  1. MW says:

    Stephen Carter (Harvard) published a book on the way President Obama has been conducting his war an Terrorism earlier this year. The book is entitled “The Violence of Peace: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama.” In it he evaluates Obama’s orchestrating of the War on Terror in light of historic Just War theory. A large section is devoted to drone strikes… and it is troubling. If you are interested in digging further into this issue its an excellent resource.

  2. MJG says:

    Thanks, MW, for reminding me of this book, which I recently heard about and will now have to read.

  3. Joel says:

    Hi Michael.

    USA cannot be an empire, there is not emperor!
    Whether you like it or not, a democracy does not qualify as a very good empire in my mind – even though there be some similarities.

    What is your take?


  4. MJG says:


    Thanks for your comment. I don’t think an empire requires an emperor per se. Even colloquially, we speak of the Walmart empire or something like that to speak of widespread power and influence. More to the point, the British empire, for example, never had an emperor, yet no one I know disputes the appropriateness of the term “British empire.”

    Many people have written about the nature of empire politically, philosophically, and theologically. I would suggest that the U.S. does fit many of those descriptions in many ways, though my understanding of empire as a theopolitical power does not necessarily link, or limit it, to one nation-state and its geo-political subordinates. For a good description of empire, read Revelation 18.

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