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News Link • Obama Administration

Living (and Dying) Under Drones

 The ACLU has sued under the Freedom of Information Act for details of the widely reported drone strikes and in response, the CIA simply stated that it could neither confirm or deny that they were happening at all. The government has of course released lots of information about the strikes, but always in the form of leaks, anonymous and self serving. According to the leakers, the strikes are a miracle of precision, waged with a concern for the protection of innocent bystanders that would have done credit to Mahatma Gandhi.

To a considerable extent the media has taken this story as given, dwelling instead on the political consequences of the strikes on our relationship with Pakistan, or other subsidiary issues. The actual effects of an escalating eight year bombardment of Hellfire missiles on a society living in mud houses on an average per capita income of $250 has attracted less scrutiny.

Living Under Drones, an exhaustively researched and documented study by the New York University Law School Global Justice Clinic and Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic released today, does much to explain the government’s reluctance to come clean.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Leslie Fish
Entered on:

Oh for heaven's sake, do your homework!  A "drone" is nothing but a radio-controlled model airplane!  Such have been used, to limited extent, by the military ever since World War One.  The largest of them today is barely a fraction the size of a manned plane, and has a correspondingly tiny bomb-load: no more than one small guided missile apiece, nothing compared to a manned bomber, let alone a whole-flight airstrike or an artillery barrage.  This is why they're usually used for camera-spying rather than actual attacks.

Yes, there was a strategy of using them for smart-missile pin-point bombing, but it hasn't worked very well -- precisely because the missiles were supposed to be guided by beacons, which were planted by native informants, who proved to be totally untrustworthy.  Remember that a machine can do only what it's told to do, and when the information it's given is bad, it's performance will be the same.

That's the whole story with Those Evil-Evil Drones.  All the rest is the result of propaganda and tactical rumor-mongering.  The real reason why the Arabs and their sympathizers are howling for pity-pity

about "drones" is that they *work*.  They're very good at aerial spying, and can be used well for pinpoint bombing -- but the target has to be verified by something better than a local Arab with a grudge.

By the way, a particular weakness of drones is that they're much easier than manned planes to shoot down.  A single shooter with a good rifle can do it.  Think about that.


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