Friday, January 20, 2012

Cannon Fodder Is Cheap But Drones Are Mega Expensive

REAL MEN MAKE ART, NOT WAR. Draw-in to Bring Our War $$ Home, Augusta, 2-18-10.
"Friendly" drone fire, the ultimate oxymoron, was the fate of two young U.S. citizens killed on April 6 in Helmand, Afghanistan. They died as the result of operator error on the part of their own side. Too many guys on too many computers with too many chat rooms to keep track of, or something like that, led to their deaths.

According to Nick Turse in "The Crash and Burn Future of Robot Warfare" (Truthout): 
In 2001, Air Force Predator drones flew 7,500 hours. By the close of last year, that number topped 70,000.
And as we all know, the new improved U.S. Military with the continuing gargantuan budget plans to downsize personnel in favor of more -- you guessed it -- robotic warriors. Would it surprise you to know that some of them have already "gone rogue" i.e. escaped from human control?

Apparently a lot of drone accidents happen. More than 70 times in the last decade, drones have crashed or exploded, resulting in $2 million OR MORE in damages EACH TIME.

But no price is too high for the fanatical adherents of the empire, those still true-believing enough to cheerfully send their kids into the meat grinder. From this account on PBS of the friendly fire incident:
 “I know whoever was at that joystick is devastated,” said Jerry Smith, the father of [the late] Marine Sgt. Jeremy Smith.  ”If I could meet them, I’d hug them and tell them I don’t have any ill feelings toward them.
I know their daddies are just as proud of them as I am of my son.”
Wow. Life is growing increasingly cheap in the 21st Century. As the industrialized rule of patriarchy confronts the reality that its continued domination of the planet is regarded by most as being anti-life, it reacts by becoming even more anti-life.

Will the 99% seize control of itself, and its necessary stewardship of the Commons, before it's too late?
A bowhead whale, among the oldest mammals on earth and the only whale that lives exclusively in arctic waters, which is under increasing threat from arctic oil exploration and increased risks of oil spills. (Image: Copyright Martha Holmes |
Or will the drone masters and their fodder take us all down with them?


chrisrushlau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chrisrushlau said...

Correcting some uninteresting typos:
I'm sure you're familiar with the reported cost of keeping a US soldier in Afghanistan: a million dollars a year. So the loss of drones so far, if that cost had been spent on soldiers in Afghanistan, would have supported a one-year deployment of one hundred forty soldiers.
I'm confident that the number one reason Israel is so frantic the last ten years, increasingly reliant on brutal military operations that only deeped its strategic peril and on contracting its already notional democratic rule of law, is that a million or so US people have traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan and come home to report that Arabs, Muslims, etc., actually exist and are not cartoon characters, thus destroying the major plank in the pro-Israel propaganda machine. War is not a video game. I can remember when I had that understanding of it, in 1969, watching Walter Cronkite tote up the week's kills/wounded/missing for US/ARVN/I wonder how he designated the enemy (N. Vietnam, Communist, or maybe just "demonic warriors") on the Friday evening news. I was always yearning for combat footage. By some misadventure, I grew up and took responsibility for my tax dollars at work. I just made a typo of interest: dollwars.