The Use of Drones in the U.S. Military by Alex Krales

More C.I.A. drone attacks have been conducted under President Obama than under President George W. Bush. The Air Force’s fleet has grown quickly in recent years now consisting of 195 Predators (27 feet long valued at $4.5 million each) and 28 Reapers with greater firing capability then the original models. From computerized controls in Langley, VA innumerable missions are carried out throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Reports of neutralized threats with “limited” civilian causalities are counted an increase in military spending on developing these technologies sends the message that our government and subsequently the American people agree with Charles Shoemaker at Robotics Program in Army Research that with this technology “we can save lives”. Assuming the “We” in this statement is the United States government (which as citizens of the United States “WE” pay for through our taxes and participation) I wonder whose lives are “we” saving? In an attempt to clarify exactly whose lives we are saving Waffa Bilal records the current casualties of war in individually tattooed points on his back; 5,000 American soldiers and 200,000 Iraqi’s. With a rapidly increasing Drone fleet growing from 10 in 2001 to 180 in 2007 and a plan for 150 more over the coming years drones are the most frequently used unmanned military vehicles. The praised “accuracy” of the technology coupled with rising reports of civilian casualties shows evidence of multiple factors that must be considered. In addition to potential technological precision what are the relationships our men and women “in arms” have with the technology they are utilizing? Is it in our interest to have our soldiers firing live ammunition at the same pace that they kill zombies on Playstation 2?

This entry was posted in Disconnect Issue # 2 May 2010, Graphic Art, Literary Non-fiction, On The War on Terror. Bookmark the permalink.

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