Wednesday, July 22, 2009

U.S. Drone Wars 2009: Lethal Predator-Attacks Kill 365 (As of July 18)

No one ever believes me when I tell them that our military technology approaches or exceeds the technology exhibited in many of the best science fiction movies. One example is "The Terminator" movie from 1984 where the automated robot drones policed the destroyed cities to enslave the population. When you tell someone that our military has this type of automated technology today, these people suddenly act as if they are living in 1959 where you could only see a robot on a drive-in screen.

However, if you live in Pakistan, then you know that the future is here as it relates to our military's automated technology as discussed in a recent detailed observation of U.S. Predator strikes in Pakistan by The Long War Journal, including the fact that 365 people have been killed so far this year.

The dramatically increased use of covert US air power to target al Qaeda and Taliban assets in Pakistan's lawless tribal zones has sparked a controversy in the US and abroad. Critics of the airstrikes, which are carried out by unmanned Predator attack aircraft, contend that the actions violate Pakistan's sovereignty, kill innocent civilians, and make enemies of Pakistani tribesmen. Proponents of the airstrikes say that they are necessary to prevent the next major attack against the West and to disrupt al Qaeda and the Taliban's operations directed against Coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Whatever the case may be, the directive to ramp up the air campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan's tribal areas has been issued, first by President George Bush in the summer of 2008, and continued by President Barack Obama only days after his inauguration...

...The lethality of Predator strikes inside the tribal agencies has also increased during 2009. Using low-end estimates of casualties (including Taliban, al Qaeda, and civilian) from US strikes inside Pakistan, we have determined that airstrikes resulted in 317 deaths during 2008. Already, the airstrikes in 2009 have surpassed that total, with 365 killed in 2009 as of July 18.

Although the drones have brought the military many international successes and intelligence in its pursuits of Taliban and Al-Qaeda members, how long will it be before we see these Predator drones operating within the borders of the United States?

Source: The Long War Journal

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