Dunno just how clued-in you are to these devices; essentially they are simply unmanned american aircraft carrying a cheap explosive designed to cause as much damage as possible, at the lowest dollar cost, in a most cowardly way.
These [insert snappy U.S. weapons manufacturer acronym here) remote-controlled “model-airplanes” are piloted by american military personnel (sitting in easy chairs) from zillions of miles away using video screens and joysticks channelled through both GPS and the yankees own satellite communications networks. How much more detached can you get!
It’s no secret that covert U.S. drone strikes on suspected Pakistani jihadists have killed both jihadists and innocent bystanders. But no one seems to know just how many of each have died. It’s a crucial question, as the U.S. attempts to balance the need to kill terrorist leaders, with the broader desire to maintain a strong alliance with Pakistan.
Since early 2009, Barack Obama administration officials have been claiming that the predator attacks in Pakistan have killed nine of 20 top al Qaeda officials, but they have refused to disclose how many civilians have been killed in the strikes.
In April, The News, a newspaper in Lahore, Pakistan, published figures provided by Pakistani officials indicating that 687 civilians have been killed along with 14 Al Qaeda leaders in some 60 drone strikes since January -– just over 50 civilians killed for every Al Qaeda leader.
A paper published this week by the influential pro-military Center for a New American Security (CNAS) criticizing the Obama administration’s use of drone attacks in Pakistan says U.S. officials “vehemently dispute” the Pakistani figures but offers no further data on the program.
What’s the truth? Considering Obama’s surprising tendency towards secrecy, regarding the drone attacks, it’s possible we’ll never know.
(In attacks in Pakistan by US drones — or unmanned aerial vehicles — of which only 2 occurred before Obama took office, approximately 833 people have been killed; for comparison, 385 people were killed in all of 2008 by drone attacks.)
Within a year, more than half of new US fighter aircraft will be unmanned aerial vehicles. Welcome to war in the 21st century.