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(The New York Times)   Maureen Dowd compares drone strikes to Angry Birds. And it works   (nytimes.com) divider line 65
    More: Amusing, Angry Birds, intelligence gathering, Rand Paul  
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5622 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Apr 2013 at 8:59 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-17 08:33:04 AM
ok, somebody get on top of the Angry Drones parody game stat.
 
2013-04-17 08:49:12 AM
After two bloody, money-sucking, never-ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the idea of a weapon for war that precluded having anyone actually go to war was too captivating. Our sophisticated, sleek, smart, detached president was ensorcelled by our sophisticated, sleek, smart, detached war machine.

This is the part that people haven't fully reconciled about drones.  As a society we had to be reminded that you can't fight a war that is so detached from the country that the country's populace barely notices it - let alone two.  Modern war in a democratic country is hard to sustain, and that's a good thing.  It also means we are casualty-averse; we have been since we first realized how large the butcher's bill was for Vietnam.  And then Desert Storm may have created an realistic expectation of the kind of war you can fight without suffering significant casualties.  But the flipside of that is, our security apparatus wants a way to neutralize potential threats, and for better or worse it doesn't want to be subject to the limitations of a population averse to casualties.  Hence, we have taken the concept of the unmanned aerial vehicle, originally designed for reconnaissance and battlefield awareness, and stuck weapons on it.

Now our problem is, we need to come to some conclusions about the ethics and operation of such a weapon.  First, is a drone strike morally and internationally legally the equivalent of a covert special forces attack?  Second, what chain of command of responsibility and accountability are we going to have in place; is the CIA going to oversee its use, or the military?  Third, how are we going to handle the approval of use?  We know that it will never be operated in the same fashion as conventional forces, but how well can you tie the use of drone strikes into the fabric of what constitutes military force?

In my personal opinion, the answers are:  It's not clear, but we damn well better get a set of ethics in place; it should absolutely be the military who is accountable for the use of drones, as it is at least equivalent to the use of a submarine cruise missile, or any other form of use of state-operated military weaponry; and we should have some form of accountability of use, hence the need for it to operate within the UCMJ and within some parameters of international law.

Of course, the nature of warfare has changed so drastically in the last 40 years, and the proliferation of non-state actors means the modern world HAS to revise international military law.  But that revision needs to dictate the use of unmanned vehicles, not the other way around.  I certainly don't want to see supranational law bent to short-term American whims; that will inevitably backfire on us one day.
 
2013-04-17 09:00:55 AM
I think the Yellow drone is my favorite, but I also like the Orange drone that Rio added.
 
2013-04-17 09:01:29 AM
What is that buzzing sound over Boston?
 
2013-04-17 09:02:02 AM
Impossible. Nothing Maureen Dowd has ever said or wrote "worked".
 
2013-04-17 09:04:55 AM
Take your pill, Maureen.  There's nothing wrong with drone strikes.
 
2013-04-17 09:05:30 AM
UNC_Samurai: You had me at ensorcelled....  really though. Fine elaborated thought there.
 
2013-04-17 09:05:31 AM
I only see 'angry birds' in the title of the article, but it's otherwise a good article.
 
2013-04-17 09:07:13 AM
"flying killer robots"

The only difference between a drone strike and a plane strike is the location of the pilot.
 
2013-04-17 09:07:31 AM
Well, except for the part where she is analogizes Muslims with pigs.I don't have a problem with it, but I'm sure someone will.
 
2013-04-17 09:10:31 AM

GoldSpider: Take your pill, Maureen.  There's nothing wrong with drone strikes.


The CIA blows up people in nations that we aren't at war with, and because it's the CIA, we're not allowed to ask questions about it.  Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.
 
2013-04-17 09:11:48 AM
Why did the C.I.A., as Gen. James Cartwright asked when he was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, need to build "a second Air Force"?

Right, because the CIA never had its own air force before.
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-04-17 09:14:13 AM

GoldSpider: Take your pill, Maureen.  There's nothing wrong with drone strikes.


you tell her, Trolle McTrollster
 
2013-04-17 09:17:11 AM

Alphax: The CIA blows up people in nations that we aren't at war with, and because it's the CIA, we're not allowed to ask questions about it. Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.


The time to ask those questions was when the Bush administration started the policy.  The next administration simply had no choice but to continue it, so there's no point in stirring up debate over it now.  Besides, it's obvious to anyone but a partisan shill that Obama is using these for good, unlike the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld.
 
2013-04-17 09:17:18 AM

Alphax: GoldSpider: Take your pill, Maureen.  There's nothing wrong with drone strikes.

The CIA blows up people in nations that we aren't at war with, and because it's the CIA, we're not allowed to ask questions about it.  Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.


To be fair, they have always been better at gathering intelligence from other intelligence agencies than doing it themselves. Analysis work and acting on that data has always been their bread and butter. They definitely needed to get out of drone work. It doesn't fit their role as well as they thought it would.
 
2013-04-17 09:28:39 AM

UNC_Samurai: After two bloody, money-sucking, never-ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the idea of a weapon for war that precluded having anyone actually go to war was too captivating. Our sophisticated, sleek, smart, detached president was ensorcelled by our sophisticated, sleek, smart, detached war machine.

This is the part that people haven't fully reconciled about drones.  As a society we had to be reminded that you can't fight a war that is so detached from the country that the country's populace barely notices it - let alone two.  Modern war in a democratic country is hard to sustain, and that's a good thing.  It also means we are casualty-averse; we have been since we first realized how large the butcher's bill was for Vietnam.  And then Desert Storm may have created an realistic expectation of the kind of war you can fight without suffering significant casualties.  But the flipside of that is, our security apparatus wants a way to neutralize potential threats, and for better or worse it doesn't want to be subject to the limitations of a population averse to casualties.  Hence, we have taken the concept of the unmanned aerial vehicle, originally designed for reconnaissance and battlefield awareness, and stuck weapons on it.

Now our problem is, we need to come to some conclusions about the ethics and operation of such a weapon.  First, is a drone strike morally and internationally legally the equivalent of a covert special forces attack?  Second, what chain of command of responsibility and accountability are we going to have in place; is the CIA going to oversee its use, or the military?  Third, how are we going to handle the approval of use?  We know that it will never be operated in the same fashion as conventional forces, but how well can you tie the use of drone strikes into the fabric of what constitutes military force?

In my personal opinion, the answers are:  It's not clear, but we damn well better get a set of ethics in place; it should absolutely be the milit ...


it's really quite simple:  Put it on the same level as a Special OPs strike and/or a missile strike from a manned vehicle.  Same place in the chain of command, same limitations, same requirements.

Because, as much as we seem to think that Drone Strikes are something revolutionary, it's really no different than a strike from ship-based attacks(which we've been doing since we had cannons on boats), only far more likely to actually hit what we want without inflicting unwanted death on people nearby.
 
2013-04-17 09:40:06 AM

berylman: UNC_Samurai: You had me at ensorcelled....  really though. Fine elaborated thought there.


That's an excerpt from Dowd's column.  I must have forgotten to italicize.

Infernalist: Because, as much as we seem to think that Drone Strikes are something revolutionary, it's really no different than a strike from ship-based attacks(which we've been doing since we had cannons on boats), only far more likely to actually hit what we want without inflicting unwanted death on people nearby.


It's revolutionary in the sense of a low-profile attack.  SSMs and SLCMs still light up radar like a Christmas tree, so everyone in the region with sophisticated enough radar can watch it travel the hundreds of miles to its target.  UAVs have a much lower observable profile in addition to long endurance, so they can loiter in an area until called upon to strike.

The other problem with UAV-launched weaponry is, with all this technology, there SHOULD be an emphasis on minimizing civilian casualties and collateral damage.  But given how modern war blurs the lines between non-state militants and civilians, it's always going to be a tough area to negotiate.
 
2013-04-17 09:42:10 AM
Meh

Lot's of drones in war:

images1.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2013-04-17 09:42:34 AM

Arkanaut: Why did the C.I.A., as Gen. James Cartwright asked when he was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, need to build "a second Air Force"?

Right, because the CIA never had its own air force before.
[upload.wikimedia.org image 750x457]


Not only that, but the "first" air force is a petulant, whiney child that doesn't want any of the missions we actually DO and wants only to zoom around really fast going "pewpewpew" at an enemy we haven't seriously fought in the air since at LEAST 1991.
 
2013-04-17 09:44:46 AM

Alphax: GoldSpider: Take your pill, Maureen.  There's nothing wrong with drone strikes.

The CIA blows up people in nations that we aren't at war with, and because it's the CIA, we're not allowed to ask questions about it.  Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.


1) That has nothing to do with the choice of platform. Would it make you feel better if we were blowing up people in nations that we weren't at war with if we did it with F-18s? No? Then the drone isn't the problem.

2) We went around blowing things up in France in 1944. We weren't at war with France. So maybe that's a red herring, because Pakistan and Yemen do not have a problem with us blowing things up in the parts of their country they have little or no control over.
 
2013-04-17 09:46:20 AM

UNC_Samurai: berylman: UNC_Samurai: You had me at ensorcelled....  really though. Fine elaborated thought there.

That's an excerpt from Dowd's column.  I must have forgotten to italicize.

Infernalist: Because, as much as we seem to think that Drone Strikes are something revolutionary, it's really no different than a strike from ship-based attacks(which we've been doing since we had cannons on boats), only far more likely to actually hit what we want without inflicting unwanted death on people nearby.

It's revolutionary in the sense of a low-profile attack.  SSMs and SLCMs still light up radar like a Christmas tree, so everyone in the region with sophisticated enough radar can watch it travel the hundreds of miles to its target.  UAVs have a much lower observable profile in addition to long endurance, so they can loiter in an area until called upon to strike.

The other problem with UAV-launched weaponry is, with all this technology, there SHOULD be an emphasis on minimizing civilian casualties and collateral damage.  But given how modern war blurs the lines between non-state militants and civilians, it's always going to be a tough area to negotiate.


Well, there 'is'.  It's a standard approach to improving military hardware.  Reducing collateral damage while still accomplishing the goal of getting your target has long been a guideline to improving military tech.

This is the standard already.  The military is well aware of the downsides of causing unintended casualties.

As for the 'low profile' thing, I'll agree with that, but it doesn't really have much relevance since most of the targets that these drones are used on, don't have much in the way of radar.  They wouldn't see a ship-launched Tomahawk, either.
 
2013-04-17 09:52:17 AM

Infernalist: it's really quite simple:  Put it on the same level as a Special OPs strike and/or a missile strike from a manned vehicle.  Same place in the chain of command, same limitations, same requirements.

Because, as much as we seem to think that Drone Strikes are something revolutionary, it's really no different than a strike from ship-based attacks(which we've been doing since we had cannons on boats), only far more likely to actually hit what we want without inflicting unwanted death on people nearby.


The problem isn't the chain of command. The CIA, in the past, has ordered regular combat aircraft into action as well.

The problem is mostly about cost and just a little bit about risk. (Seriously, a gun owner and a terrorist have roughly the same capability to shoot down an F-18.) We're doing it because the cost of sending a $3m drone to fire a $100k missile is pretty low compared to sending a $1b carrier to launch a $50m aircraft to fire that $100k missile.

Because the cost threshold is down, so is the bar for whether you go do it. "Is it worth killing that guy?" has become a question where the answer appears to be "yes" REGARDLESS of the chain of command making that decision. The cost used to be one of the factors in limiting our actions. It isn't anymore. And other analysis tools that we might use to limit ourselves are not being used. Is the guy's replacement going to be significantly worse at the job? Is the risk that we might kill five kids, a fruit stand, and a moped worth the importance of this target? Holding the likelihood of civilian deaths constant, what is the threshold for "not worth the risk"?

That's where our problem lies.
 
2013-04-17 09:52:58 AM

vygramul: Arkanaut: Why did the C.I.A., as Gen. James Cartwright asked when he was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, need to build "a second Air Force"?

Right, because the CIA never had its own air force before.
[upload.wikimedia.org image 750x457]

Not only that, but the "first" air force is a petulant, whiney child that doesn't want any of the missions we actually DO and wants only to zoom around really fast going "pewpewpew" at an enemy we haven't seriously fought in the air since at LEAST 1991.


The Air Force fields MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers, which it uses to provide intelligence and ground attack support to ground forces. It has also deployed OA-10's, F-15E's and B-1B's for combat support roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. They aren't flying around to attack other planes. They attack ground targets exclusively.
 
2013-04-17 09:55:45 AM

vygramul: Alphax: GoldSpider: Take your pill, Maureen.  There's nothing wrong with drone strikes.

The CIA blows up people in nations that we aren't at war with, and because it's the CIA, we're not allowed to ask questions about it.  Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.

1) That has nothing to do with the choice of platform. Would it make you feel better if we were blowing up people in nations that we weren't at war with if we did it with F-18s? No? Then the drone isn't the problem.

2) We went around blowing things up in France in 1944. We weren't at war with France. So maybe that's a red herring, because Pakistan and Yemen do not have a problem with us blowing things up in the parts of their country they have little or no control over.


1) The CIA isn't flying missions in F-18s.  The drone's problem is the lack of accountability.

2) The people who live in those areas certainly do have a problem.
 
2013-04-17 09:57:08 AM

Infernalist: As for the 'low profile' thing, I'll agree with that, but it doesn't really have much relevance since most of the targets that these drones are used on, don't have much in the way of radar.  They wouldn't see a ship-launched Tomahawk, either.


One of the more irritating exaggerations are the testimonials that Pakistanis look up and see drones flying around all the time and are scared. Even at 10,000 feet, an orbiting drone would be almost impossible to see with the naked eye.
 
2013-04-17 09:57:55 AM

vygramul: Infernalist: it's really quite simple:  Put it on the same level as a Special OPs strike and/or a missile strike from a manned vehicle.  Same place in the chain of command, same limitations, same requirements.

Because, as much as we seem to think that Drone Strikes are something revolutionary, it's really no different than a strike from ship-based attacks(which we've been doing since we had cannons on boats), only far more likely to actually hit what we want without inflicting unwanted death on people nearby.

The problem isn't the chain of command. The CIA, in the past, has ordered regular combat aircraft into action as well.

The problem is mostly about cost and just a little bit about risk. (Seriously, a gun owner and a terrorist have roughly the same capability to shoot down an F-18.) We're doing it because the cost of sending a $3m drone to fire a $100k missile is pretty low compared to sending a $1b carrier to launch a $50m aircraft to fire that $100k missile.

Because the cost threshold is down, so is the bar for whether you go do it. "Is it worth killing that guy?" has become a question where the answer appears to be "yes" REGARDLESS of the chain of command making that decision. The cost used to be one of the factors in limiting our actions. It isn't anymore. And other analysis tools that we might use to limit ourselves are not being used. Is the guy's replacement going to be significantly worse at the job? Is the risk that we might kill five kids, a fruit stand, and a moped worth the importance of this target? Holding the likelihood of civilian deaths constant, what is the threshold for "not worth the risk"?

That's where our problem lies.


So, it's become more cost efficient for us to kill people that we've always wanted to kill...but, before it simply wasn't worth the missile to kill the guy.  Or the cost of the jet fuel.

I don't see the problem with a situation where our ability to get targets is improved by the use of cheaper means.

Because, as I read your post, the only thing that's changed with the use of Drone Strikes, is that financial consideration is no longer a concern.
 
2013-04-17 09:58:38 AM

UNC_Samurai: After two bloody, money-sucking, never-ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the idea of a weapon for war that precluded having anyone actually go to war was too captivating. Our sophisticated, sleek, smart, detached president was ensorcelled by our sophisticated, sleek, smart, detached war machine.

This is the part that people haven't fully reconciled about drones.  As a society we had to be reminded that you can't fight a war that is so detached from the country that the country's populace barely notices it - let alone two.  Modern war in a democratic country is hard to sustain, and that's a good thing.  It also means we are casualty-averse; we have been since we first realized how large the butcher's bill was for Vietnam.  And then Desert Storm may have created an realistic expectation of the kind of war you can fight without suffering significant casualties.  But the flipside of that is, our security apparatus wants a way to neutralize potential threats, and for better or worse it doesn't want to be subject to the limitations of a population averse to casualties.  Hence, we have taken the concept of the unmanned aerial vehicle, originally designed for reconnaissance and battlefield awareness, and stuck weapons on it.

Now our problem is, we need to come to some conclusions about the ethics and operation of such a weapon.  First, is a drone strike morally and internationally legally the equivalent of a covert special forces attack?  Second, what chain of command of responsibility and accountability are we going to have in place; is the CIA going to oversee its use, or the military?  Third, how are we going to handle the approval of use?  We know that it will never be operated in the same fashion as conventional forces, but how well can you tie the use of drone strikes into the fabric of what constitutes military force?

In my personal opinion, the answers are:  It's not clear, but we damn well better get a set of ethics in place; it should absolutely be the milit ...


+1 smart vote
 
2013-04-17 09:59:27 AM

verbaltoxin: vygramul: Arkanaut: Why did the C.I.A., as Gen. James Cartwright asked when he was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, need to build "a second Air Force"?

Right, because the CIA never had its own air force before.
[upload.wikimedia.org image 750x457]

Not only that, but the "first" air force is a petulant, whiney child that doesn't want any of the missions we actually DO and wants only to zoom around really fast going "pewpewpew" at an enemy we haven't seriously fought in the air since at LEAST 1991.

The Air Force fields MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers, which it uses to provide intelligence and ground attack support to ground forces. It has also deployed OA-10's, F-15E's and B-1B's for combat support roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. They aren't flying around to attack other planes. They attack ground targets exclusively.


I didn't say they didn't begrudgingly do the missions. I said they don't want them.
 
2013-04-17 10:01:00 AM

Alphax: 1) The CIA isn't flying missions in F-18s.  The drone's problem is the lack of accountability.

2) The people who live in those areas certainly do have a problem.


1) They're just as accountable as the missions the CIA flew before drones became an option. Still not the drone's problem.

2) I'm sure the people in France weren't happy with 500-lb iron bombs raining down on them either.
 
2013-04-17 10:06:58 AM

vygramul: Because the cost threshold is down, so is the bar for whether you go do it. "Is it worth killing that guy?" has become a question where the answer appears to be "yes" REGARDLESS of the chain of command making that decision. The cost used to be one of the factors in limiting our actions. It isn't anymore. And other analysis tools that we might use to limit ourselves are not being used. Is the guy's replacement going to be significantly worse at the job? Is the risk that we might kill five kids, a fruit stand, and a moped worth the importance of this target? Holding the likelihood of civilian deaths constant, what is the threshold for "not worth the risk"?


Another problem created by the effectiveness of drones: they have an extremely long time-over-target (compared to cruise missiles / attack aircraft), and they make a distinctive as they hover overhead; this has apparently led Taliban commanders to basically hide in their homes for days on end whenever they hear drones.  While this has a great effect in suppressing the effectiveness of commanders we know about, it also means that when we do find them and kill them, we're killing their wives, children, and relatives, who may otherwise be considered noncombatants.
 
2013-04-17 10:07:09 AM

Infernalist: So, it's become more cost efficient for us to kill people that we've always wanted to kill...but, before it simply wasn't worth the missile to kill the guy.  Or the cost of the jet fuel.

I don't see the problem with a situation where our ability to get targets is improved by the use of cheaper means.

Because, as I read your post, the only thing that's changed with the use of Drone Strikes, is that financial consideration is no longer a concern.


Yes - all drones do is make it cheap. If something goes wrong on a drone, just go break open another 10-pack and deploy another one. There's a non-zero risk to conducting flight ops for an F-18, so technically, there's a non-zero risk to a pilot. But even if each drone had to have a pilot sitting in it, if it cost what it does now, we'd be doing it all the time anyway.
 
2013-04-17 10:08:45 AM

Arkanaut: vygramul: Because the cost threshold is down, so is the bar for whether you go do it. "Is it worth killing that guy?" has become a question where the answer appears to be "yes" REGARDLESS of the chain of command making that decision. The cost used to be one of the factors in limiting our actions. It isn't anymore. And other analysis tools that we might use to limit ourselves are not being used. Is the guy's replacement going to be significantly worse at the job? Is the risk that we might kill five kids, a fruit stand, and a moped worth the importance of this target? Holding the likelihood of civilian deaths constant, what is the threshold for "not worth the risk"?

Another problem created by the effectiveness of drones: they have an extremely long time-over-target (compared to cruise missiles / attack aircraft), and they make a distinctive as they hover overhead; this has apparently led Taliban commanders to basically hide in their homes for days on end whenever they hear drones.  While this has a great effect in suppressing the effectiveness of commanders we know about, it also means that when we do find them and kill them, we're killing their wives, children, and relatives, who may otherwise be considered noncombatants.


So, basically, all we have to do is fly a unarmed drone over the wilds of Pakistan and they'll all huddle inside for weeks on end?

I'm okay with this.
 
2013-04-17 10:12:50 AM

vygramul: verbaltoxin: vygramul: Arkanaut: Why did the C.I.A., as Gen. James Cartwright asked when he was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, need to build "a second Air Force"?

Right, because the CIA never had its own air force before.
[upload.wikimedia.org image 750x457]

Not only that, but the "first" air force is a petulant, whiney child that doesn't want any of the missions we actually DO and wants only to zoom around really fast going "pewpewpew" at an enemy we haven't seriously fought in the air since at LEAST 1991.

The Air Force fields MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers, which it uses to provide intelligence and ground attack support to ground forces. It has also deployed OA-10's, F-15E's and B-1B's for combat support roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. They aren't flying around to attack other planes. They attack ground targets exclusively.

I didn't say they didn't begrudgingly do the missions. I said they don't want them.


I can't argue with you there. But Gen. Moseley has long since been fired, and Gen. Schwartz was a heavy pilot in a fighter pilot's country club. I'm not sure what Gen. Welch, the current CSAF, will do as chief.
 
2013-04-17 10:15:20 AM

Arkanaut: vygramul: Because the cost threshold is down, so is the bar for whether you go do it. "Is it worth killing that guy?" has become a question where the answer appears to be "yes" REGARDLESS of the chain of command making that decision. The cost used to be one of the factors in limiting our actions. It isn't anymore. And other analysis tools that we might use to limit ourselves are not being used. Is the guy's replacement going to be significantly worse at the job? Is the risk that we might kill five kids, a fruit stand, and a moped worth the importance of this target? Holding the likelihood of civilian deaths constant, what is the threshold for "not worth the risk"?

Another problem created by the effectiveness of drones: they have an extremely long time-over-target (compared to cruise missiles / attack aircraft), and they make a distinctive as they hover overhead; this has apparently led Taliban commanders to basically hide in their homes for days on end whenever they hear drones.  While this has a great effect in suppressing the effectiveness of commanders we know about, it also means that when we do find them and kill them, we're killing their wives, children, and relatives, who may otherwise be considered noncombatants.


That seems unlikely. The predator has a 115 hp 4 cylinder engine. It's smaller than a VW engine. On something that can fly almost 5 miles up.
 
2013-04-17 10:15:56 AM

Arkanaut: Why did the C.I.A., as Gen. James Cartwright asked when he was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, need to build "a second Air Force"?

Right, because the CIA never had its own air force before.


I thought SAC owned the U-2s and SR-71s?

/Reading "Flying the SR-71 Blackbird" right now
//$3 on the Kindle this month
 
2013-04-17 10:17:18 AM

vygramul: Alphax: GoldSpider: Take your pill, Maureen.  There's nothing wrong with drone strikes.

The CIA blows up people in nations that we aren't at war with, and because it's the CIA, we're not allowed to ask questions about it.  Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.

1) That has nothing to do with the choice of platform. Would it make you feel better if we were blowing up people in nations that we weren't at war with if we did it with F-18s? No? Then the drone isn't the problem.

2) We went around blowing things up in France in 1944. We weren't at war with France. So maybe that's a red herring, because Pakistan and Yemen do not have a problem with us blowing things up in the parts of their country they have little or no control over.


We *were* at war with Vichy France.
 
2013-04-17 10:22:14 AM

95BV5: vygramul: Alphax: GoldSpider: Take your pill, Maureen.  There's nothing wrong with drone strikes.

The CIA blows up people in nations that we aren't at war with, and because it's the CIA, we're not allowed to ask questions about it.  Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.

1) That has nothing to do with the choice of platform. Would it make you feel better if we were blowing up people in nations that we weren't at war with if we did it with F-18s? No? Then the drone isn't the problem.

2) We went around blowing things up in France in 1944. We weren't at war with France. So maybe that's a red herring, because Pakistan and Yemen do not have a problem with us blowing things up in the parts of their country they have little or no control over.

We *were* at war with Vichy France.


Vichy was in the South. Normandy was not considered their territory or governance.
 
2013-04-17 10:24:07 AM

Mad_Radhu: Arkanaut: Why did the C.I.A., as Gen. James Cartwright asked when he was the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, need to build "a second Air Force"?

Right, because the CIA never had its own air force before.

I thought SAC owned the U-2s and SR-71s?

/Reading "Flying the SR-71 Blackbird" right now
//$3 on the Kindle this month


I'm not sure about the planes themselves, but the pilots definitely worked for the Agency:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Gary_Powers
 
2013-04-17 10:30:08 AM
Drones are simply a better option for enemies like Al Queda other terror groups in my opinion. For one thing, it allows us to fight wars on our terms and not theirs. It is stupid not to use the technological advantage we have. I swear some people are outraged about this only because they think war should be some sort of sporting contest with both sides playing fair.

Also, I'll bet if you did an actual study, drone pilots are probably less prone to collateral damage than pilots or soldiers physically on the battlefield. Since they are not in mortal danger, they can take their time and properly identify a target before firing. Also, they are going to be less prone to fatigue since you can easily add rest breaks in to the schedule, which you can't do in an F-18. I'm betting if you crunch the numbers, regular attack aircraft have higher amounts of collateral damage and friendly fire accidents.

The best way to lose a war is to play by the enemy's rules, and that seems to be what the anti-drone crowd wants.
 
2013-04-17 10:40:15 AM
Winterbraid compares farking and Angry Boss. And doesn't work.
 
2013-04-17 10:51:02 AM

vygramul: We're doing it because the cost of sending a $3m drone to fire a $100k missile is pretty low compared to sending a $1b carrier to launch a $50m aircraft to fire that $100k missile.


It is even better than that.

Hellfire missiles cost $68k each and only yield a 20 pound explosive - very surgical - like a single artillery round. Compare that to a JDAM which are attached to 500-2000 pound iron bombs. The JDAM adds $25k to the $3k cost of the 500 pound bomb. So the warhead used by a drone costs more than double and is far lower yield.

Now a Reaper drone costs $37 milion - which is in the game general range as an F/A-18 Hornet. So the delivery vehicle is fairly equivalent. I would also note that the Reaper has 7 hardpoints, can carry over 3,000 pounds of ordnance, range over 1000 miles, and has a 900hp engine. It is clearly a weapon of war.

The key benefit of drones is that they can be deployed from almost anywhere unlike jets, can spend up to 36 hours on station, and they don't put lives at risk.
 
2013-04-17 10:51:17 AM
Nothing Maureen Dowd does "works." She's a victim of a head injury.
 
2013-04-17 10:52:50 AM
Our rulers have now created cheaper, more precise, and more convenient means for killing foreigners, unfettered by rule-of-law, or the attention and concern of the safely slumbering American electorate, or PTSD afflicted conscripts, or even video tapes and first-hand accounts of what actually happened or whether it made any sense.

Just put an affable, racially diverse used-car salesman in charge, have him croon sweet nothings in our ear, and say the hellfires were launched against "Bad People"...and their children, and neighbors, and the people that subsequently came to help the wounded.

A legal framework hasn't been created for drone strikes, so long after the fact, because such a framework wouldn't have a logical or philosophical leg to stand on. Here's a conundrum: what tortured logic will be printed in our schools' history books, to try to explain this to our children? What perversions of logic and ethics will their young minds have to suffer as they memorize the party line? What will be the take home message? Might makes right? Because we can? It isn't terrorism if the US does it? It's okay if men in suits do it, and there's lots of paperwork involved?

What about the term "blowback" is it so hard for you people to understand? If it's possible for a Nation and a People to "go to hell", metaphorically speaking, then the US is surely going to go there, and ourdecedents will look back in horror on what we have wrought.
 
2013-04-17 11:00:03 AM

serial_crusher: ok, somebody get on top of the Angry Drones parody game stat.


That was done decades before Angry Birds:

www.eobet.com
 
2013-04-17 11:08:00 AM
Did we have so much clutching of pearls with cruise missiles?
 
2013-04-17 11:14:00 AM

Fart_Machine: Did we have so much clutching of pearls with cruise missiles?


There was, but then our supposedly anti-war Left-wing just went...silent. Historically the left has been our country's conscience. Oh well, when your own team does bad things, I guess it's okay.

What took you so long, Fart Machine? Were you waiting for the official talking points from headquarters?

/not left-wing or right-wing...I'm so far off the political map, it ain't even funny
 
2013-04-17 11:14:28 AM
America's secret drone program, continually lowering the bar for lethal action, turns the president, the C.I.A. director and counterterrorism advisers into a star chamber running a war beyond war zones that employs a scalpel rather than a hammer.

You know who else employs scalpels rather than hammers?
www.wired.com
 
2013-04-17 11:19:17 AM
Yeah, I stopped reading at "ensorcelled"
 
2013-04-17 11:19:34 AM

Alphax: Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.


Uh, their intelligence-gathering is how we got bin Laden.

/the problem with intelligence is that you have to pay attention to it for it to do any good
//like when they send you a memo titled "bin Laden determined to strike in the United States" you should probably take the time to read it.
 
2013-04-17 11:30:08 AM

GoldSpider: Alphax: The CIA blows up people in nations that we aren't at war with, and because it's the CIA, we're not allowed to ask questions about it. Meanwhile, they're doing a piss poor job of intelligence gathering.

The time to ask those questions was when the Bush administration started the policy.  The next administration simply had no choice but to continue it, so there's no point in stirring up debate over it now.  Besides, it's obvious to anyone but a partisan shill that Obama is using these for good, unlike the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld.


Hahahahahahaha
 
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