Letters to the Editor

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WAR: Drones moving into new territory

Letter by Justin Earick, Tacoma on June 12, 2012 at 3:35 pm | 77 Comments »
June 12, 2012 3:35 pm

The war on terror has birthed us a bundle of drones, dispatched in Yemen, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pentagon currently employs 7,000 unmanned aerial vehicles, and asked for $5 billion in 2012 congressional budgetary drone spending alone.

Drones allow opportunistic circumvention of boots-on-the-ground politics, while further disconnecting the American public from the 1 percent serving in combat.

Now we’ve had success pursuing the top 30 al-Qaida on the kill list, with CIA claims of zero civilian deaths since May 2010. But “signature strikes” policy dictates attack based not upon positive identification, but behavioral patterns. Plus, all military-aged male casualties are posthumously declared militants.

Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki, born in Colorado, was specifically targeted and killed by UAVs in Yemen for his crime of having radical kinfolk. Reports of strategic double-tap strikes? Hopefully unfounded.

President Obama’s initial drone endeavor accidentally killed 19, all civilians. Nearly 300 strikes later, upward of 3,000 people – including 800 civilians – have been killed, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

As Afghanistan winds down, the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act (2012) welcomes commercial drones. The FAA projects 30,000 domestic drones and has reportedly issued 285 certifications for 82 approved drone models (including nano/hummingbird drones) mostly as Patriot Act surveillance apparatus.

The Seattle Police Department and the state Department of Transportation are “permitted drone operators.” A Reaper M-9 drone recently assisted North Dakota authorities in apprehending cattle rustlers.

Regarding commercial drones, no one saw airliners as munitions until 9/11. Could terrorists hijack Walmart’s inevitable drone fleet? Seems like low-hanging fruit in this Stuxnet era of cyber-warfare.

Can we talk about this please?

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