Monday, December 30, 2013

Haste Waste To The Wedding: At Least 8 Wedding Parties Struck By US Drones Or Piloted Aircraft Since 2001

Two articles provide the horrifying details. Rather than quote extensively, I'll let the articles speak for themselves. First, from Tom Engelhardt, via The Nation:

The US Has Bombed at Least Eight Wedding Parties Since 2001

Next, a piece by Heather Linebaugh, former US Air Force intelligence imagery and geo-spatial analyst, writing for The Guardian:

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on

(H/T BrandonJ at FDL for both links.)

Several thoughts, in no particular order:

Ms. Linebaugh remarks on the frequent severe psychological damage inflicted on drone operators and analysts by their work: the perpetual mental "videos" of drone kills running in one's mind; the (not surprisingly undocumented) suicide rate of drone analysts and operators. Two of her immediate colleagues committed suicide shortly after leaving the Air Force. Apparently the remoteness of drone targets is no insulation against the horrors of inflicting a particularly gruesome death. And there's always, always a feeling of uncertainty about whether the targeted people were indeed carrying weapons, or engaging in terrorist operations, or indeed anything other than civilians going about their nonthreatening daily business: was that individual carrying an assault rifle or a shovel? the drone camera images are too pixelated to tell you.

As for the wedding parties, do I even need to comment? Are the troops so under-trained, or the weapons so horrifyingly imprecise, that either the operators cannot tell if the targets are hostiles, or the drones themselves cannot "surgically" strike the bad guys? If so, why is the great United States of America using the damned things? If it is true that one can tell a lot about a nation by the ways they wage war, I can only imagine what America's use of drones says about our nation's character.

Aftermath of drone that killed
American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki (via PBS)

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