Propaganda Alert: Don't Call Drone Strikes 'Surgical'

They are anything but precise and clean, says Conor Friedersdorf
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2012 12:27 PM CDT
Pakistani tribal villagers affected by U.S. drone attacks hold a rally near parliament house in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday, Feb, 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – "Surgical" is the White House's adjective of choice in describing its drone strikes in Pakistan and around the world. But Conor Friedersdorf, writing in the Atlantic, thinks he has two better words: "Orwellian propaganda." "Surgical" makes you think of precision, like an operation, with drone pilots carefully picking out the bad guys and protecting the innocent. But with as many as 881 civilians being killed in Pakistan since 2004, Friedersdorf says the surgery metaphor only hides the "images of dead, limb-torn innocents with flesh scorched from the missile that destroyed the home where they slept or burned up the car in which they rode."

Furthermore, "surgical" doesn't work because it gets the metaphor all wrong. "While the person being cut into is occasionally victimized by a mistake, there is never a case where the scalpel is guided so imprecisely that it kills the dozen people standing around the operating table," writes Friedersdorf. "So no, drone strikes aren't like surgery at all." Read his full piece here. (Read more Conor Friedersdorf stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |