I call the drones being used in Afghanistan and Pakistan WCD's, weapons of civilian destruction. Here we have a new generation of weapons designed to conduct military actions without exposing our troops to danger. The problem with that seemingly positive objective is that in the process of protecting our troops these new weapons have been raining indiscriminate death upon innocent civilians.
Most of America is still not aware of the rapidly escalating program for using these WCD's in the war on Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But more and more writers are spreading the word about the use of these highly sophisticated drones, the Predator and the more heavily armed Reaper. The Air Force is said to have 200 drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with many more being manufactured.
There are two drone programs being run by the U.S.
government. One operates in Afghanistan
by the military to go after the insurgents in support of our troops.
Air force operators control the drones from locations such as Creech Air Force Base, in the vicinity of Las Vegas, Nevada. The other program is operated by the C.I.A. and is designed to hunt down terrorists in various regions of the world. The C.I.A. drones use air bases in Afghanistan under the guidance of controllers located in Langley, Virginia.
Since he assumed the office of the U.S. presidency, President Obama has authorized many drone strikes in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. These strikes have targeted and killed any number of important Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders to be sure. But in doing so they have also killed several hundred innocent civilians; men, women and children.
Jane Mayer reports in the New Yorker, "Seems like President Barack Obama -- Nobel Peace Laureate - has taken his predecessor's predator drone program and jacked it up with steroids. The New Yorker's Jane Mayer reports this week that the number of Obama-authorized strikes in Pakistan equals the sum launched by the Bush Administration -- in the last three years of his tenure. Wow. And the Republicans were worried that he wouldn't be "man" enough". Who says he hasn't done anything?
President Obama and the military leaders see this new generation of weaponry as a very effective tool in the so-called War on Terror. But it is very difficult to understand why they cannot comprehend the massive blowback will come from enraged villagers who will become insurgents to get revenge. There is much evidence that for every drone strike that results in killing innocent civilians the insurgent forces are able to recruit scores of new recruits to aid their cause. There are reports that the drone war is bringing in hundreds of recruits from other nations in the region who are reacting to the carnage.
This appears to be one of those situations in which the use of napalm, white phosphorus weapons and Agent Orange in the Vietnam War enraged the population and resulted in a tremendous blowback. At that time, our military was under the impression that such shock and awe administered on the nation of Vietnam would bring them to their knees. In fact, the result was exactly the opposite when, after 58,000 U.S. troops lost their lives, our military was forced to quickly exit that war when Saigon fell to the Viet Cong in 1975.
You know, if drones were used properly, there could be a place for them around the world. It has been reported that the U.K., Australia, Germany and Italy have begun to experiment with drones for border patrols, to curtail illegal fishing, for illegal immigration and for drug enforcement. So more and more nations are beginning to acquire these drones for apparent peaceful uses. But just consider what might happen if, at some point in time, numerous nations with sizable fleets of drones might begin using them in military operations such as border disputes, typically such as India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
Where is our nation headed morally? Not long ago, the question of torture was all over the news and there was a furious debate going on about its moral implications. Then the issue just disappeared when Mr. Obama just looked away, with time to only look forward and not dwell on the past. And so, we Americans also let the matter drop.
Now we have another great moral issue with these deadly, lethal drones. Their use and the devastating impact on innocent civilians apparently doesn't register with our president either as he remains completely silent on the entire matter. He is just looking away. And so, are we the people once again going to let the matter just drop?
When we Americans are witnesses to these extremely moral issues, will we simply look away? Is that what America has become?