The Drone Strike Etiquette Manual:Top 10 Guidelines

The Obama Administration has hinted at the possibility of drafting some preliminary guidelines for drone strikes and assassinations abroad.

Evidently—during a bad patch of the election when it looked as though Mitt Romney might actually win—it dawned on someone in the administration that unfettered presidential kill powers might not be as cool if we ever had another president. Its okay for President Obama to have such life-and-death power, because he’s really really careful about it, but it was thought prudent that some rules be drafted.

Now that we’re in term two, of course, they’ll be putting the publication off till closer to 2014.  After, all, imagining Hillary with a kill-list is sure to give Obama the shudders.

In this world unmoored of manners, we’re all seeking a little direction as to how to behave. In other words, we’re unmoored and unmanned, Mr. President.  

Here are the top 10 etiquette tips to get you started.

1. When killing someone with explosives, do not use a vest. That’s terrorism. Raining death from above is the only civilized way to do it. If the explosions come from the sky, the victim is the terrorist, and therefore deserves it. Walking it in is déclassé.

2. The administration will establish special centers known as “Geneva Bases,” mostly in highly populated parts of the United States and Europe, where the internationally recognized rules of engagement still apply.

3. Do NOT confuse your assassination lists with your Christmas card list or the results could be awkward.

4. Remember, drones are mindless killing machines, but at least they don’t sleep with their biographers.

5. Never bring the president the kill list until after he’s had his coffee.

6. Do not drone on and on. Do you get the pun? It’s as if I’m talking about party chatter! Seriously, though, you can’t keep killing people endlessly; the local population might not like it.

7. If you’re a Republican, your attempts to wage war without congressional oversight are a dangerous overstepping of power with militaristic fascist overtones. If you’re Barack Obama, did you hear what Mitt Romney said about the 47%?

8. If it drowns, it was a witch. If it blows up, it was a terrorist.

9. If the machines do take over and set in motion some apocalyptic scenario, teach them tic-tac-toe so they realize the folly of total war. Then move on to Connect Four and Chinese checkers, which are vastly superior games. Finally, backgammon and counter-insurgency.

10. If a drone becomes self-aware, do not try to teach it the meaning of love first thing. Start slow. Maybe teach it a catchy slogan. “Hasta la vista, baby” has been taken, but think of something pseudo-hip that totally dehumanizes the act of killing people. How about “Blow me one last kiss?” Actually, that might bring up the tricky issue of love. Presidential assassination lists are tricky enough to manage without all that.

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