UAV's represent the greatest threat to US National Security ever!http://www.debatecoaches.org/files/download/1069
Rise of the Machines
Drone use in Afghanistan has exploded
Press TV noted in 10
US deploys 1000s drones in Afghanistanhttp://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=125382§ionid=351020403
The US is deploying thousands of drones in Afghanistan, raising suspicions as to whether the move is aimed at monitoring militants or targeting another country. Regional defense analysts believe that the unmanned aerial vehicles could be brought into play against regional countries in the wake of mounting tensions with Iran over its nuclear activities, the Pakistan Observer newspaper reported on Tuesday. Deputy Director for Resources and Acquisition for the Pentagon's Joint Staff, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Glenn Walters, recently said that the American military has sent a host of its 6,500 drones to the Middle East region.
The drones based in Afghanistan are used to target and kill militants throughout the region
Nick Turse is a fellow at New York University’s Center for the United States and the Cold War and the winner of a 2009 Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction http://nwoobserver.wordpress.com/2010/01/31/drone-surge-today-tomorrow-and-2047/
What were once unacknowledged, relatively infrequent targeted killings of suspected militants or terrorists in the George W Bush years have become commonplace under the Barack Obama administration. And since a devastating December 30 suicide attack by a Jordanian double agent on a Central Intelligence Agency forward operating base in Afghanistan, unmanned aerial drones have been hunting humans in the AfPak war zone at a record pace. In Pakistan, an “unprecedented number” of strikes – which have killed armed guerrillas and civilians alike – have led to more fear, anger and outrage in the tribal areas, as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with help from the United States Air Force, wages the most public “secret” war of modern times. In neighboring Afghanistan, unmanned aircraft, for years in short supply and tasked primarily with surveillance missions, have increasingly been used to assassinate suspected militants as part of an aerial surge that has significantly outpaced the highly publicized “surge” of ground forces now underway. And yet, unprecedented as it may be in size and scope, the present ramping up of the drone war is only the opening salvo in a planned 40-year Pentagon surge to create fleets of ultra-advanced, heavily-armed, increasingly autonomous, all-seeing, hypersonic unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Today’s surge Drones are the hot weapons of the moment and the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review – a soon-to-be-released four-year outline of Department of Defense strategies, capabilities and priorities to fight current wars and counter future threats – is already known to reflect this focus. As the Washington Post recently reported, “The pilotless drones used for surveillance and attack missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan are a priority, with the goals of speeding up the purchase of new Reaper drones and expanding Predator and Reaper drone flights through 2013.” The MQ-9 Reaper The MQ-1 Predator – first used in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s – and its newer, larger and more deadly cousin, the MQ-9 Reaper, are now firing missiles and dropping bombs at an unprecedented pace. In 2008, there were reportedly between 27 and 36 US drone attacks as part of the CIA’s covert war in Pakistan. In 2009, there were 45 to 53 such strikes. In the first 18 days of January 2010, there had already been 11 of them. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the US Air Force has instituted a much-publicized decrease in piloted air strikes to cut down on civilian casualties as part of Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal’s counter-insurgency strategy. At the same time, however, air UAS attacks have increased to record levels. The air force has created an interconnected global command-and-control system to carry out its robot war in Afghanistan (and as Noah Shachtman of Wired’s Danger Room blog has reported, to assist the CIA in its drone strikes in Pakistan as well). Evidence of this can be found at high-tech US bases around the world where drone pilots and other personnel control the planes themselves and the data streaming back from them. These sites include a converted medical warehouse at al-Udeid Air Base, a billion-dollar facility in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar where the air force secretly oversees its ongoing drone wars; Kandahar and Jalalabad air fields in Afghanistan, where the drones are physically based; the global operations center at Nevada’s Creech air base, where the air force’s “pilots” fly drones by remote control from thousands of kilometers away; and – perhaps most importantly – at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, a 12-square-mile (32 square kilometers) facility in Dayton, Ohio, named after the two local brothers who invented powered flight in 1903.
Drones create a unique military presence in the air that cannot be provided by any other aircraft
Nadav Deutscher Defense Professional News 5-12-10http://www.defpro.com/news/details/15172/
Looking ahead to the future, Maj. Gen. Nechushtan spoke of the function of the Air Force's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), saying that they do not replace other air operations, but rather represent a complementary force: "UAVs belong to a whole aerial niche which did not exist before, because they enable new capabilities on the battlefield. Planes in general do not remain on the battlefield; they go and come back, and to that end they need very precise planning, as opposed to ground forces that go to the field and only then finalize operational plans. UAVs work in a different way – they go to the battlefield and spend a lot of time there. They can help and accomplish a lot in both air and ground missions". "UAVs allow us presence in the air, and this is a revolution that the Air Force is entering by using them. This is expressed when considering the total flight hours of the IAF during Operation Cast Lead, where UAVs made up for about half of the total flight hours. Their contribution to the battlefield is considerable and they constitute a complementary and crucial tool to the IAF", he added.
They give the U.S. military an extensive aerial presence in parts of Afghanistan where we have no other presence
Anna, reporter for U.S. News & World Report Drones Fill the Troops Gap in Afghanistan
U.S. News & World Report 145 no6 30 S 15-22 2008
The demand for unmanned planes is higher than ever
It's been a rough year in Afghanistan. U.S. troops' deaths have hit record levels, and growing violence is forcing the Pentagon to dispatch 12,000 additional troops to take on a dangerous mix of insurgents and militants. The manpower shortages have also created an insatiable demand for unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, and the pilots who fly them remotely, sometimes from halfway across the globe.
Commanders on the ground have come to rely on a fleet of drones and their high-tech "targeting pods," which stream video intelligence and deliver it to troops fighting militant groups throughout the country. UAVs help to search the seemingly endless mountain terrain for insurgents and provide what is known as "armed overwatch" for soldiers in battle. "We could certainly use more," says Gen. David McKiernan, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. "The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan runs 2,500 kilometers [1,500 miles]. That's a huge area to maintain surveillance on."
The UAVs have also helped expand America's combat reach into the most remote parts of Afghanistan. The main workhorses are the Predator and its new cousin, the Reaper. While the Predator carries two laser-guided Hellfire missiles and can travel 135 mph, the Reaper can fly twice as high, at 50,000 feet, and three times as fast. It can also carry eight times more weaponry and has a range of over 1,800 miles, versus 450 for the Predator.
Drones contextually increase our military presence because they give us a permanent above ground presence
Space Express 06http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Boeing_Demonstrates_UAV_Automated_Aerial_Refueling_Capability_999.html
St. Louis MO (SPX) Nov 28, 2006
The Boeing Automated Aerial Refueling (AAR) program successfully completed flight tests in August that demonstrated for the first time an unmanned air vehicle's ability to autonomously maintain a steady refueling station behind a tanker aircraft. "With autonomous air refueling capabilities, unmanned aircraft will have greater combat radius and loiter time," said David Riley, Boeing Phantom Works AAR program manager.
"This can enable a quicker response for time-critical targets and will reduce the need for forward-staging refueling areas. Another benefit is increased in-theater military presence with fewer military assets."
Afghanistan is the key test ground for drone technologies
PETER PAE Times Staff Writer Los Angeles Times October 3, 2001
Newest U.S. Weapons Built to Swiftly Find and Destroy
Military: The technology acknowledges warfare's new reality of terrorists, and not superpowers, as the primary threat.http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2001/011003-attack01.htm
Military sources said the unmanned aerial vehicle is in operation over Afghanistan, and analysts said that the Predator may have been the vehicle that the Taliban claimed to have shot down last week. In what could be a prelude to deployment of combat-flying drones, a Predator recently launched several Hellfire antitank missiles at a test range, hitting all three targets. Although Pentagon officials have steadfastly refused to comment on any programs and weapons out of fear of compromising operations, the U.S. has already asked defense contractors to speed up development of a host of technologies that just a few months ago were years away from deployment. The Army and the Air Force have established programs to provide seed money to speed up development of certain technologies that the Pentagon believes will provide "quick solutions to current needs"--a low-profile effort known as Warfighter Rapid Acquisition Process. A Pentagon spokeswoman said the process is in place but declined to provide further details. One of the high-profile programs that the Pentagon wants to accelerate is Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Global Hawk, a long-endurance, high-altitude unmanned spy plane that is eventually scheduled to replace the U-2 spy jet. The plane, larger and more costly than the Predator, is equipped with a variety of sensors, including a hyper-spectral imaging device that can distinguish between camouflage and vegetation, as well as a synthetic aperture radar that can see through clouds and darkness. Because it has no pilot, the plane can hover over an area for 24 hours or more, a distinct advantage over satellites that fly over an area at specific, predictable intervals. A test plane recently set an aviation endurance record for flight without refueling. The Air Force has four Global Hawks that it has been testing, and is scheduled to take delivery of two more shortly. Military analysts said that the test vehicles could easily be refitted for deployment. "Unless [Bin Laden] wants to be totally out of contact and hide in a cave indefinitely, we'll find him," Thompson said. "If he does decide to go underground for a long time to keep from getting discovered, then that would serve our purpose." Gravity Bombs Turned Into Precision Weapons To military planners, Afghanistan is expected to provide a rich test bed for the type of warfare that the U.S. is likely to face in the 21st century. Boeing Co., for instance, has been supplying the Air Force with global positioning system kits that could be mounted on gravity bombs and turning them into precision weapons capable of being directed to within 30 feet of a target. The weapons would allow the military to launch more precise, surgical strikes within minutes of knowing the whereabouts of a target, compared to the days or weeks it took to launch massive campaigns like the Persian Gulf War.
The United States federal government should renounce and eliminate the presence of militarized drones in Afghanistan.
Advantage I. The Terminator
The distancing built into drone operations creates space for surveillance and destruction that devalue life
STEPHEN GRAHAM, Centre for the Study of Cities and Regions, Department of Geography, University of Durham, Cities and the 'War on Terror'nWiley interscience International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Volume 30, Issue 2, Pages 255-276
In the 'target' cities and spaces of the Middle East, on the other hand, Huber and Mills stress that superficially similar, automated systems of sensing and surveillance must also be seamlessly integrated into the high-tech US military machine. Rather than pinpointing and reducing threats, however, the purpose of these systems is to continuously and automatically project death and destruction to pinpointed locations in the cities and spaces that have discursively been constructed as targets for US military power in the 'war on terror'. 'We really do want an Orwellian future', they write, 'not in Manhattan, but in Kabul' (ibid.: 29). Their prognosis is stark and dualistic. It renders the ideology of 'New Normalcy' and the Pentagon's 'long war' into a binaried splitting of geography overlain by, and facilitated through, globe-spanning US military sensor and targeting systems. 'Terrorist wars will continue, in one form or another, for as long as we live', they write: We are destined to fight a never-ending succession of micro-scale battles, which will require us to spread military resources across vast expanses of empty land and penetrate deep into the shadows of lives lived at the margins of human existence. Their conscripts dwell in those expanses and shadows. Our soldiers don't, and can't for any extended period of time. What we have instead is micro-scale technology that is both smarter and more expendable than their fanatics, that is more easily concealed and more mobile, that requires no food and sleep, and that can endure even harsher conditions (ibid.: 29). Saturating adversary cities and territories with millions of 'loitering' surveillance and targeting devices, intimately linked into global and 'network-centric' surveillance and targeting systems, thus becomes the invisible and unreported shadow of the high-profile, technologically similar 'homeland' security systems erected within and between the cities of the US mainland. To Huber and Mills, the United State's 'longer-term objective must be to infiltrate their homelands electronically, to the point where we can listen to and track anything that moves', where the 'their' refers to the 'terrorists' inhabiting the targeted cities (ibid.: 30). Then, when purported 'targets' are detected, US forces: can then project destructive power precisely, judiciously, and from a safe distance week after week, year after year, for as long as may be necessary. . . . Properly deployed at home, as they can be, these technologies of freedom will guarantee the physical security on which all our civil liberties ultimately depend. Properly deployed abroad, they will destroy privacy everywhere we need to destroy it . . . At home and abroad, it will end up as their sons against our silicon. Our silicon will win (ibid.: 31–34). Technophiliac unveilings of 'homeland' and 'target' cities Strikingly, in Huber and Mills's scenario, political judgements about the (lack of) value of human life in the demonized cities and spaces that have been so powerfully (re)constructed in 'war on terror' discourses, is actually maintained and policed through automated surveillance and killing systems. For here the apparent disposability of life in such 'target' cities is maintained continuously by the ongoing presence of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (or UCAVs) armed with 'Hellfire' missiles. These weapons can be launched at short notice, sometimes from operators sited at transoceanic distances, once the surveillance webs that saturate the 'target cities' detect some notional 'target'. Far from being some fanciful military futurology from Huber and Mills' technophiliac fantasies, then, these principles are actually directly shaping the design of new US military systems which are already under development or even deployment as part of the new Pentagon strategy of 'long war' in which the number of unmanned and armed drones is to be more than doubled by 2010 (US Department of Defense, 2006). Thus, on the one hand, as already mentioned, the cities and urban corridors within US national borders are being wired up with a large range of automated sensors which are designed to detect and locate a whole spectrum of potentially 'terrorist' threats. On the other, the Pentagon's research and development outfit, DARPA (the Defense Applications Research and Projects Agency), is now developing the sorts of large-scale, 'loitering' surveillance grids to try and 'unveil' the supposedly impenetrable and labyrinthine landscapes of closely built Middle Eastern cities. In a new programme tellingly titled Combat Zones That See (or CTS), DARPA (2003) is developing systems of micro-cameras and sensors that can be scattered discretely across built urban landscapes and that automatically scan millions of vehicles and human faces for 'known targets' and record any event deemed to be 'unusual'. 'The ability to track vehicles across extended distances is the key to providing actionable intelligence for military operations in urban terrain', the brief for the programme argues. 'Combat Zones that See will advance the state of the art for multiple-camera video tracking to the point where expected tracking length reaches city-sized distances' (DARPA, 2003). Befitting the definition of Middle Eastern 'target' cities within US military doctrine as zones where human life warrants little protection or ornamentation, 'actionable' here is most likely to be translated in practice — Israeli style — as automated or near-automated aerial attempts at killing the 'targeted' person(s). Because urban density in target cities is seen to render 'stand-off sensing from airborne and space-borne platforms ineffective' (ibid.), CTS' main role will be to hold even targets within densely urbanized spaces continuously 'at risk' from near-instant targeting and destruction from weapons guided by the Global Positioning System. In US military jargon this is termed 'compressing the kill chain'— a process which 'closes the time delay between sensor and shooter' to an extent that brings 'persistent area dominance' (or PAD) even over and within dense megacities like Baghdad (Hebert, 2003: 36).
Drones deployed to sustain a presence over the “other” construct Afghanistan as a permanent target that entrenches racist colonization and violence
STEPHEN GRAHAM, Centre for the Study of Cities and Regions, Department of Geography, University of Durham, Cities and the 'War on Terror'nWiley interscience International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Volume 30, Issue 2, Pages 255-276
Importantly, then, this complex of discourses and representations — themselves the product of increasingly militarized popular and political cultures — work, on the one hand, to problematize urban cosmopolitanism in 'homeland cities' and, on the other, to essentialize and reify the social ecologies of 'target' cities in profoundly racist ways. From such symbolic violence real violence only too easily follows. Second, this article has demonstrated that the production of this highly charged dialectic — the forging of exclusionary, nationalist, imagined communities and the Othering of both those deemed 'terroristic' within US cities and whole swathes of our urbanizing planet — has been a fundamental prerequisite for the legitimization of the entire 'war on terror'. The truly striking thing here is how such fundamentalist and racist constructions of urban place have their almost exact shadow in the charged representations of cities routinely disseminated by fundamentalist Islamist networks like al-Qaeda (Zulaika, 2003). Here, however, the 'targets' are the 'infidel', 'Christian' or 'Zionist' cities of the West or Israel. The theological mandate is invoked from a different source. And the sentimentalized cities and spaces of the Islamic 'homeland' are to be violently 'purified' of 'Western' presence in order to forcibly create a transnational Islamic space or umma which systematically excludes all diversity and Otherness through continuous, murderous force. The real tragedy of the 'war on terror', then, is that it has closely paralleled al-Qaeda in invoking homogeneous and profoundly exclusionary notions of 'community' as a way of legitimizing massive violence against innocent civilians. Strikingly, the strategies and discourses of both the Bush administration and al-Qaeda have both been based on charged, and mutually reinforcing, dialectics and imaginative geographies of place construction. Both have relied heavily on promulgating hyper-masculine notions of (asymmetric) war, invocations of some absolute theological mandate, and absolutist notions of violence to finally exterminate the enemy without limits in space or time. Both have also relied heavily on the use of transnational media systems to repeatedly project good versus evil rhetorics and spectacles of victimhood, demonization, dehumanization and revenge (Gilroy, 2003; Zulaika, 2003; Boal et al., 2005). Third, the reliance of the 'war on terror's' imaginative geographies on projections of absolute difference, distance and disconnection are overlaid by, and potentially usurped through, the manifold flows and connections that link urban life in Arab cities intimately to urban life in the cosmopolitan urban centers of the USA. The binaried urban and global imaginative geographies underpinning the 'war on terror' are inevitably undermined by such contradictions as rapidly as they are projected. Thus, a revivified Orientalism is used to remake imaginative geographies of 'inside' and 'outside', just as a wide range of processes demonstrate how incendiary such binaries now are. On the one hand, the construction of 'homeland cities' as endlessly vulnerable spaces open without warning to an almost infinite range of technologized threats, actually works to underline the necessary integration of US and Western cities into the manifold flows and processes that sustain the rescaling political economies and state processes of neoliberal globalization. Similarly, the attempt to discursively demarcate the everyday urban life of US citizens from Arab ones denies the transnational and increasingly globalized geographies of media flow, migration, mobility, neocolonial governance, resource geopolitics, social repression and incarceration, and the predatory capital flows surrounding neoliberal 'reconstruction' that, paradoxically, are serving to connect US cities ever more closely with Arab cities. Thus — especially in the more cosmopolitan cities of the US — the representations and discourses stressing disconnection and difference analysed in this article are continuously contradicted by the proliferation of moments and processes involving connection, linkage and similarity. Many of these, of course, are shaped by the geographies of 'accumulation by dispossession' (Harvey, 2003), 'primitive accumulation' (Boal et al., 2005), and resource wars, that so dominate the neoconservative geopolitical strategy of the Bush Administration (Harvey, 2003; Boal et al., 2005). A key task, then, is to understand how the urban imaginative geographies and military technologies considered here help to constitute broader territorial configurations of a hyper-militarized US Empire (Kipfer and Goonewardena, 2005). A critical question emerges here for further research: how might the various acts of urban denial, erasure, securitization, targeting and 'reconstruction' that are so foundational to the 'war on terror' help to constitute and sustain the US empire's changing territorial colonial configurations, core-periphery geographies and economic dynamics? Our final conclusion derives from this article's third focus: the treatment of US and Arab cities within emerging US military technology for 'persistent surveillance'. Here, we see colonial military technologies and militarized urban planning practices emerging which stress the connection and integration of cities within both the US and in targeted nations within a single, urbanizing 'battlespace'. Such examples remind us that — whilst usually ignored — military geographies and technologies are actually themselves key drivers of neoliberal globalization (Shamar and Kumar, 2003). They also underline that, throughout the history of empires, military, social control and planning innovations, tried and tested in 'colonized' cities, have been used as exemplars on which to try and re-model practices of attempted social control in cities of the 'homeland' (Misselwitz and Weizman, 2003). It should be no surprise, however, that an ultimate 'colonial splitting of reality' lurks within this apparent, technologized (albeit highly militarized) integration. Here the colonialist imaginative geographies are being hard-wired into code, servers, surveillance complexes and increasingly automated weapons systems. For the ways in which judgements about the value of the human subjects are being embedded into the high-tech war-fighting, surveillance, and software systems now being developed to expose all urban citizens to scrutiny, in both US and Arab cities, could not be more different. In 'homeland' cities, to be sure, there is a radical ratcheting-up of surveillance and (attempted) social control, the endless 'terror talk', highly problematic clampdowns, the 'hardening' of urban 'targets', and potentially indefinite incarcerations, sometimes within extra-legal or extra-territorial camps, for those people deemed to display the signifiers of real or 'dormant' terrorists. In the 'targeted' urban spaces of worlds within Barnett's 'non-integrating gap', meanwhile, weapons systems are currently being designed which are emerging as systems of automated, continuous (attempted) assassination. Here, chillingly, software code is being invested with the sovereign power to kill. Such systems are being brought into being within legal and geographical states of exception that are now increasingly being normalized and universalized as global strategy. This trend is backed by neoconservative ideologies and geopolitical scripts. These justify continuous, pre-emptive US military aggression against sources of 'terrorism' as a central platform of Dick Cheney's 'New Normalcy', or the Pentagon's 'long war'. Such a strategy is also being fuelled by the great temptation, in the light of the horrors of street fighting during the Iraq insurgency, and the 2000+ US military dead, for the US state and military to deploy autonomous and robotized US weapons against purported enemies who are always likely to remain all-too human (Graham, 2006b). 'The enemy, are they going to give up blood and guts to kill machines?' wondered Gordon Johnson, head of a US army robot weapons team, in 2003. 'I'm guessing not' (cited in Lawlor, 2004: 3). The main worry here is that these systems will be deployed stealthily by the US state to 'loiter' more or less permanently above and within cities and regions deemed to be the 'war on terror's' main targets. They might then produce realms of automated, stealthy and continuous violence. Let loose from both the spatial and temporal limits, and the legal norms, of war, as traditionally understood (i.e. in its declared and demarcated state-vs-state guises), this violence is likely to largely escape the selective and capricious gaze of mainstream Western media (see Blackmore, 2005). This shift to robotized war, and militaristic paradigms which see cities as mere battlespace, and their inhabitants as mere targets, is far from uncontested. Even within the US military — especially the infantry in the US Army — many are deeply sceptical of any military 'silver bullets' emerging from the think tanks, research complexes and weapons manufacturers of the US military-industrial-entertainment complex. Nonetheless, the latest 2006 Pentagon Defense Review suggests that the widespread deployment of autonomous, armed drones across large swathes of our urbanizing world is already being planned and undertaken. The links explored here between urban imaginative geographies, high-tech weaponry, and the urbanizing geopolitics of insurgency against the transnational colonial and military power of the US empire, thus look set to deepen further.
Warfighting through drones creates a process of dehumanization that makes war and extinction inevitable
Patrick Lafferty Combat Without Cognizance - or Murder by Joystick? April 7, 2009 http://www.opednews.com/populum/print_friendly.php?p=12803. D.a. 7-25-10
What needs to be said here is war and conflict regardless of means is tragic, heartbreaking and often criminal. There is a distinction to made between the technique of Operation Cast Lead and the use of Drones. If we must as a species continue to kill each other for any reason under the Military, LOAC and RoE, I think we should continue to operate with face to face annihilation of our supposed enemies. The use of UCAV’s may seem to some as a means to prevent the death of ones forces or manpower, but it leaves the personal intercourse, witnesses, testimonies, human reaction that may avoid a deadly encounter and most important accountability.
Who bears the responsibility for an autonomous attack when things go wrong? Can a computer determine proportional response? Can the computer mimick humanity? Can this technology weigh casualties against advantage anticipated? Can an autonomous system differentiate between unnecessary suffering or injury? Sanitizing and dehumanizing these factors will open the doors to what I believe will be unspeakable disregard for humanity and the necessary processes of distinction.
I apologize to the families who have lost love ones but I stand fast on this point. If you enlist to fight for your country, you enlist to kill for your country and you risk dying for your country as well. How you deal with these in your time of service are what will progress our hopeful enlightenment to an end to war and armed conflict and an avoidance of assured mutual destruction.
It is foolish for the public to be aghast at the tragedies such as Israel’s possible crimes or the matter of Lt. Calley in the Mei Lei massacre in Vietnam. It is the harsh realities and bitter pills that we must swallow until we address the real issues of leadership, our military agendas, the industrial military corporations and the men who wear the star clad shoulder bars and ribbons, for they are the ones who back and support the technology of killing without faces, without feeling and without accountability. This is another slippery slope that if we do not consider the inevitable desensitizing effect of this kind of combat and the long war mentality, then powers behind the creations of these conflicts will be happy to run drone and joystick wars in the backrooms of their stores for years to come while ringing their cash registers.
The dehumanization created by reliance on drones will lead to nuclear extinction
Mitchell A. Chester, an attorney and civic activist Failsafe Revisited…Psychology and Robotic Delivery of the Bomb 12/26/2009 d.a. 7-25-10http://sharedemergency.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/failsafe-revisited-psychology-and-robotic-delivery-of-the-bomb/
As nations assess future military capabilities, it is not surprising that strategic use of drones (including such devices with tactical nuclear weapons) is on mankind’s doorstep. But crossing the tactical/strategic nuclear boundary when considering robotic air warfare is a threshold that we dare not cross. Before it gets too late, this technology should be arrested, contained and outlawed on a planetary scale. Recent open discussion in the military press has centered on whether strategic bombers should be replaced by nuclear-armed drones. In the June, 2009 issue of Armed Forces Journal, Air Force Research Institute Professor Adam Lowther pondered “whether it’s time to pursue a long-range, unmanned and nuclear armed bomber.” ArmedForcesJournal.com published a November, 2009 article by Col. James Jinnette, warning the “defense establishment has become seduced by the idea of unmanned airpower,” some of which may be controlled by artificial intelligence. He points out that judgment and “creative capacity” may be pushed aside by such technology. With these voices, future militarization takes on a most serious debate, as the world is embarking into uncharted intellectual killing territory. According to PW Singer in his TED talk of February, 2009, robotic war “changes the experience of the warrior, and even the identity of the warrior.” (See video). The easier and faster it is to initiate a tactical nuclear attack, without endangering crew lives, the more we hide behind robotics to accomplish our human instinct to kill. According to Singer, “Another way of putting this is that mankind’s 5000 year old monopoly on the fighting of war is breaking down in our lifetime.” The more we rely on machines, computer programs and remote control technology, the closer we approach the point of no return by (ironically) further dehumanizing war. Tactical military robotics with conventional weapons can save lives, but nuclear equipped robotics can help end all life. Much of 20th Century nuclear policy was based on the psychology of “mutual assured destruction.” Human emotions controlled the threats. It is that mindset that has helped us reach 2010. Another reason we have survived is that humans have instincts, and, at the personal level, the desire to survive. It is those qualities that helped avoid an accidental nuclear exchange in 1995 when Russian Rocket Forces mistook a scientific missile launch for an ICBM attack. It is the exercise of reason and intuition that spared America during the 13 days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The more we encumber the exercise of human judgment (despite it’s frailties) by relying on highly complex but remote technology via nuclear delivery systems, the more inhumane, mechanical and likely nuclear war actually becomes. Machines lack consciousness, and if programmed improperly, they can be subverted to misunderstand logic.
We are at a Zeitgeist moment--Unless the U.S. restrains the use of drones there will be a global proliferation of drone technology leading to the globalization of death
Tom Engelhardt Tom Engelhardt is a graduate of Yale University and one of the country's most eminent book editorsEditor of TomDispatch.com http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-engelhardt/america-detached-from-war_b_624155.html
America Detached from War: Bush's Pilotless Dream, Smoking Drones, and Other Strange Tales From the Crypt
Smoking Drones, not a single smoking drone is in sight. Now it's the United States whose UAVs are ever more powerfully weaponized. It's the U.S. which is developing a 22-ton tail-less drone 20 times larger than a Predator that can fly at Mach 7 and (theoretically) land on the pitching deck of an aircraft carrier. It's the Pentagon which is planning to increase the funding of drone development by 700% over the next decade. Admittedly, there is a modest counter-narrative to all this enthusiasm for our robotic prowess, “precision,” and “valor.” It involves legal types like Philip Alston, the United Nations special representative on extrajudicial executions. He recently issued a 29-page report criticizing Washington’s “ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe.” Unless limits are put on such claims, and especially on the CIA’s drone war over Pakistan, he suggests, soon enough a plethora of states will follow in America’s footprints, attacking people in other lands “labeled as terrorists by one group or another.” Such mechanized, long-distance warfare, he also suggests, will breach what respect remains for the laws of war. “Because operators are based thousands of miles away from the battlefield,” he wrote, “and undertake operations entirely through computer screens and remote audio-feed, there is a risk of developing a 'PlayStation' mentality to killing.” Similarly, the ACLU has filed a freedom of information lawsuit against the U.S. government, demanding that it “disclose the legal basis for its use of unmanned drones to conduct targeted killings overseas, as well as the ground rules regarding when, where, and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and the number of civilian casualties they have caused.” But pay no mind to all this. The arguments may be legally compelling, but not in Washington, which has mounted a half-hearted claim of legitimate “self-defense,” but senses that it’s already well past the point where legalities matter. The die is cast, the money committed. The momentum for drone war and yet more drone war is overwhelming. It’s a done deal. Drone war is, and will be, us. A Pilotless Military If there are zeitgeist moments for products, movie stars, and even politicians, then such moments can exist for weaponry as well. The robotic drone is the Lady Gaga of this Pentagon moment. It’s a moment that could, of course, be presented as an apocalyptic nightmare in the style of the Terminator movies (with the U.S. as the soul-crushing Skynet), or as a remarkable tale of how “networking technology is expanding a homefront that is increasingly relevant to day-to-day warfare” (as Christopher Drew recently put it in the New York Times). It could be described as the arrival of a dystopian fantasy world of one-way slaughter verging on entertainment, or as the coming of a generation of homegrown video warriors who work “in camouflage uniforms, complete with combat boots, on open floors, with four computer monitors on each desk... and coffee and Red Bull help[ing] them get through the 12-hour shifts.” It could be presented as the ultimate in cowardice -- the killing of people in a world you know nothing about from thousands of miles away -- or (as Col. Mathewson would prefer) a new form of valor. The drones -- their use expanding exponentially, with ever newer generations on the drawing boards, and the planes even heading for “the homeland” -- could certainly be considered a demon spawn of modern warfare, or (as is generally the case in the U.S.) a remarkable example of American technological ingenuity, a problem-solver of the first order at a time when few American problems seem capable of solution. Thanks to our technological prowess, it’s claimed that we can now kill them, wherever they may be lurking, at absolutely no cost to ourselves, other than the odd malfunctioning drone. Not that even all CIA operatives involved in the drone wars agree with that one. Some of them understand perfectly well that there’s a price to be paid. As it happens, the enthusiasm for drones is as much a fever dream as the one President Bush and his associates offered back in 2002, but it’s also distinctly us. In fact, drone warfare fits the America of 2010 tighter than a glove. With its consoles, chat rooms, and “single shooter” death machines, it certainly fits the skills of a generation raised on the computer, Facebook, and video games. That our valorous warriors, their day of battle done, can increasingly leave war behind and head home to the barbecue (or, given American life, the foreclosure) also fits an American mood of the moment. The Air Force “detachments” that “manage” the drone war from places like Creech Air Force Base in Nevada are “detached” from war in a way that even an artillery unit significantly behind the battle lines or an American pilot in an F-16 over Afghanistan (who could, at least, experience engine failure) isn’t. If the drone presents the most extreme version thus far of the detachment of human beings from the battlefield (on only one side, of course) and so launches a basic redefinition of what war is all about, it also catches something important about the American way of war. After all, while this country garrisons the world, invests its wealth in its military, and fights unending, unwinnable frontier wars and skirmishes, most Americans are remarkably detached from all this. If anything, since Vietnam when an increasingly rebellious citizens’ army proved disastrous for Washington’s global aims, such detachment has been the goal of American war-making. As a start, with no draft and so no citizen’s army, war and the toll it takes is now the professional business of a tiny percentage of Americans (and their families). It occurs thousands of miles away and, in the Bush years, also became a heavily privatized, for-profit activity. As Pratap Chatterjee reported recently, “[E]very US soldier deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq is matched by at least one civilian working for a private company. All told, about 239,451 contractors work for the Pentagon in battle zones around the world.” And a majority of those contractors aren’t even U.S. citizens. If drones have entered our world as media celebrities, they have done so largely without debate among that detached populace. In a sense, our wars abroad could be thought of as the equivalent of so many drones. We send our troops off and then go home for dinner and put them out of mind. The question is: Have we redefined our detachment as a new version of citizenly valor (and covered it over by a constant drumbeat of “support for our troops”)? Under these circumstances, it’s hardly surprising that a “pilotless” force should, in turn, develop the sort of contempt for civilians that can be seen in the recent flap over the derogatory comments of Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal and his aides about Obama administration officials. The Globalization of Death Maybe what we need is the return of George W. Bush’s fever dream from the American oblivion in which it’s now interred. He was beyond wrong, of course, when it came to Saddam Hussein and Iraqi drones, but he wasn’t completely wrong about the dystopian Drone World to come. There are now reportedly more than 40 countries developing versions of those pilot-less planes. Earlier this year, the Iranians announced that they were starting up production lines for both armed and unarmed drones. Hezbollah used them against Israel in the 2006 summer war, years after Israel began pioneering their use in targeted killings of Palestinians. Right now, in what still remains largely a post-Cold War arms race of one, the U.S. is racing to produce ever more advanced drones to fight our wars, with few competitors in sight. In the process, we’re also obliterating classic ideas of national sovereignty, and of who can be killed by whom under what circumstances. In the process, we may not just be obliterating enemies, but creating them wherever our drones buzz overhead and our missiles strike. We are also creating the (il)legal framework for future war on a frontier where we won’t long be flying solo. And when the first Iranian, or Russian, or Chinese missile-armed drones start knocking off their chosen sets of "terrorists," we won’t like it one bit. When the first “suicide drones” appear, we’ll like it even less. And if drones with the ability to spray chemical or biological weapons finally do make the scene, we’ll be truly unnerved. In the 1990s, we were said to be in an era of “globalization” which was widely hailed as good news. Now, the U.S. and its detached populace are pioneering a new era of killing that respects no boundaries, relies on the self-definitions of whoever owns the nearest drone, and establishes planetary free-fire zones. It’s a nasty combination, this globalization of death.
U.S. drone attacks will incite international, uncontrolled drone use and risks the spread of new weapons tech—
Savage ’10 [Charlie, columnist for the New York Times, New York Times, “U.N. Report Highly Critical of American Drone Attacks, Warning of Use by Others”, June 6th, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/world/
03drones.html, Academic Search Premier]
A senior United Nations official said on Wednesday that the growing use of armed drones by the United States to kill terrorism suspects was undermining global constraints on the use of military force. He warned that the American example would lead to a chaotic world as the new weapons technology inevitably spread.