Drones are remotely-piloted airplanes that the US government uses for surveillance and attack outside the US. It is estimated that each drone requires approximately 300 people to service and control in flight while a plane with a pilot requires approximately 100 people. We are employing many more drones so that at present there is a shortage of trained personnel to operate and support them. (Aside: great employment opportunities there.)
At first, drones were used only to look for and kill the top leaders of al-Qaeda. As more drones became available, they were used further and further down the chain of command until now drones are used to identify and kill SUSPECTED enemy soldiers. That’s right suspected enemies, no way to determine from 1,000s of feet in altitude and operated from 1,000s of miles away. The expansion of the list of targets reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld after 9-11. He wanted to use airpower against Iraq because there were so few targets in Afghanistan.
Wars are won and lost on the ground, so-called boots on the ground by infantry men and women. Wars are not won at a distance either in the air or at sea. Indiscriminate killing, as the US is now engaged in around the world in the War on Terror, will create more future terrorists than our drones are capable of killing. Before we attack suspected enemies, we should at least give them the opportunity to explain who they are and what they are doing. Too many innocents are dieing from our mistakes.
- Crew of 170 people needed to keep Predator drone airborne for 24h (boingboing.net)
- US drone strikes again. Is Pakistan’s military angling for a favor? (csmonitor.com)
- US farm drama: Predator drone assists an arrest (mb50.wordpress.com)