“Few things are as predictable as the excited bleats of Pentagon flacks touting the killing efficacy of new weapons systems every time the U.S. begins a military operation.”
In December 2001, President Bush cited the Predator and Global Hawk drones — which display the ‘virtual reality’ character of much of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan2 — as examples of the kind of ‘transformational’ defense technologies whose development the Pentagon must accelerate. But in spite of the recent highly-publicized success of a Predator drone in blowing up a carload of alleged Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen, the system described by the Pentagon as “its eyes in the sky” has for the most part proven to be unreliable and laughably inaccurate.
This New Year was ushered in with yet another Predator falling from the sky into the remote village of Bashir Khan Jikhrani, a few miles from the U.S. air base in Jacobabad, Pakistan.3 Since military operations began in Afghanistan, U.S. forces have lost both of their Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] drones as well as six of the smaller Predator RQ-1 unmanned drones — that is, more than 12 percent of the total Predator fleet of 48 drones has been lost. In early February, the Center for Defense Intelligence reported,
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