Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Droning On Forever

Droning on for hours
The BBC says that DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has succeeded in flying a pair of drones "closely" (necessarily at most 100' apart) at an altitude of 48,000' for a period of 2½ hours, long enough for one drone, at least in theory, to refuel the other. Neither drone had a pilot aboard.

No Pakistani doctors near the border reported advance complaints from civilians of potential neck injuries from looking skyward 24x7. [/snark]

Drones refueled in this manner would be able to increase their wedding party kill ratio (WPKR) to better than 50%, including presumably the bride and groom on their wedding night, DARPA did not announce. [/snark]

I'm sorry. I still fail to see the moral difference between these drones and Germany's V‑2s in W.W.II. Both kill(ed) noncombatant civilians far from any battlefield. And drones will soon be able to fly essentially forever, or until the vendor needs a new contract, whichever comes first. Isn't modern technology wonderful? [/snark]

(H/T fatster at FDL.)


  1. US 'should hand over footage of drone strikes or face UN inquiry'

    The drone wars and US strategy

    Dozens Of Underwater Drones Deployed To The Waters Of Iran

    Officials: US drones monitoring clashes in Syria

    One Nation Under The Drone: The Rising Number Of UAVs In American Skies

    1. Thanks, Enfant. I'll read them sometime late this evening.

  2. There is no difference. War crossed the Hamburg and Dresden lines not so long ago.....only to be maximized by atomic slaughter on a mass scale in Japan.

    1. karmanot, America did some ugly things during "the good war", and the worst of them are hard to defend in retrospect. Fire-bombing Dresden is one of those. And of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      None of those acts on America's part justifies Germany's use of early-technology ballistic missiles on London (and other places; look it up). Bad things happen in wars because people do bad things in wars... Americans included.

  3. I still fail to see the moral difference between these drones and Germany's V‑2s in W.W.II.

    Our shit is way more accurate.

    [exits, singing, "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
    That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun...]

    1. Ah, yes, the man with expedient allegiance. ntodd, I'm by no means sure that our shit IS more accurate. Pulling numbers from my old man's memory, several hundred (but less than a thousand) people have been killed by drones in Pakistan, of which about 20 were classified either Al Qaeda or Taliban leaders, and most of the rest (at least those who were not children) were said to be "militants" who deserved what they got. Sigh. Some things never change. V‑2s were notoriously ineffective; a typical rocket landing in London killed two (2) people. But the terror was just as real, and the terror of drones is still greater, not because they're more accurate but because noncombatant civilians cannot go about their daily business without some expectation of dying in the middle of it.

      ntodd, you know our nation's founders better than most people today. They did not attempt to suppress violence, but they had some idea what they hoped to accomplish by it. What did Hitler accomplish by raining thousands of V‑2s on London, and what does the US accomplish by endless patrolling of borders with drones, following "successful" kills with kills of the rescuers? Has America become what it most loathed and feared?

      Something fundamental has changed; some of the changes are pernicious and need to be put right. Some others among the changes are not reversible with the human faculties available to us. What we need is not better weapons, or more accurate weapons; what we need is better people. How? I, for one, haven't a clue.



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