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Terror In The Sky

Military Drone – How Do We Deal With It?

By James Donahue

It should not be surprising that a generation of young boys who learned how to build model aircraft that could fly while being radio controlled from the ground should grow up to imagine using larger bomb and camera-carrying remote-controlled aircraft for military conflict.

First to come along was the guided missile capable of carrying atomic weapons. After the engineering was crafted to a point where these missiles could be guided by camera-mounted coputers to strike exact targets. The first of these "toys" was demonstrated for all Americans to see during the nation's first assault on Iraq in 1991.

After that, perfecting the drone was only a matter of time. All it took was a former model aircraft builder to imagine such a craft and presto, there it was. And now that it exists, it has become a weapon for every civilian everywhere to fear.

Unmanned aircraft have been part of the US arsenal since the 1990s. Reconnaissance drones flew over the Balkans. After 9-11, President Bush signed a directive to arm the drones and use them to "take out terrorism suspects."

We have had mixed feelings about the Obama Administration's decision to turn the bomb-laden drones on known terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and the CIA's "secret" operation against al Qaeda hiding places in Pakastan, Yemen and Somalia.

The so called war against the so-called terrorist network of Islamic fighters known as al Qaeda has never been fought correctly since the day Bush sent American forces into Afghanistan in retaliation to the 9-11 attack. We never declared war against Afghanistan, but the fighting there turned into an intense "us" and "them" struggle as yet another powerful militant organization, the Taliban, took up arms against us. By then Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda gang had fled safely into the mountains of neighboring Pakistan. We are still in Afghanistan after 12 long years, and it appears we have no clear exit strategy.

The logical way to fight a terrorist cell that moves freely from country to country, and sets up new cells in Yemen, Somalia, Africa and as far east as Indonesia is to do exactly what Mr. Obama and his military advisors have chosen to do. We follow them all over the world and strike unexpectedly from the sky, just as they are doing to us.

It is a winless strategy, however. Our attacks are not always on target, innocent civilians are being killed, and the growing resentment is fueling even more hatred toward the United States.

Now to our horror, we learn that the US government is using drone in the American skies. They first went into service guarding the Mexican border. But within a short time their use was expanded to patrol strategic areas, and there has been talk of the police using drones to search for marijuana farms and patrol the highways looking for speed violations. Thousands of unmanned aircraft may soon be flying over our heads and possibly getting in the flight paths of commercial and private aircraft. There seems to be no end to the insanity.

An unidentified drone-type aircraft was recently shot out of the sky over Israel. The Pentagon claims it was not ours. Israel suspected that it came from Iran. But since then Hezbollah claimed credit for sending the drone. Shouldn't we have expected other nations to develop drone technology after we had it? Where is all of this leading? Are we heading for a world war fought from computer desks thousands of miles apart?

It appears that we either did not perfect the delivery of the bombs from these drones as well as we were told, or we have some careless operators who are shooting at the wrong targets.

Data compiled by the New America Foundation states that CIA drone attacks in Pakistan killed between 2,000 and 3,000 people since the program began there in 2004. Pakistan reports over 2,000 of them to have been militants. The rest were innocent civilians caught in the horror of war from the sky.