Thursday, October 29, 2015

They Drone On and On and On

Left wing activists seem especially upset with our drones (unmanned aerial vehicles). The situation is pretty much the opposite of the accusation:

Another leak of American military documents revealed that not all the people killed by UAV missile attacks were on a target list. This is not considered a problem because the people running the bombing campaign accept the centuries old problem that when you are using long range weapons you cannot always be sure of who you are hitting. ... Over the last two decades the media myth was created that depicted UAVs, especially armed UAVs, as a horrific new weapon. The reality was that the only advantage UAVs had was in surveillance and stealth. As a surveillance aircraft (what the military first, and still, uses aircraft for) UAVs were a major step forward because they created an unprecedented level of “persistence” (spending lots of time watching some area below) or literally following (“tailing” in detective lingo) an individual or group. Adding guided missiles to the UAV enabled the attack to be made as soon as the identity of the target was confirmed (often after dozens or more hours of observation) and before the target could get away (into a forested or urban area where tracking was much more difficult). This sort of thing could have been done before UAVs using manned aircraft but it would have cost more than ten times as much and not have been as effective. What is also missed in the enormous reduction in civilian casualties when using UAVs. Until precision bombs and missiles came along military targets anywhere near residential areas led to high civilian casualties when attacked. The use of precision weapons and UAVs has reduced civilian casualties over 90 percent. For some reason all this never became news.

Meanwhile, our jihadi enemies kill innocents at will and in increasingly cruel ways without drawing the same level of spittle-flecked outrage. Go figure.