11 March 2010

Drone dangers

Hello good people.
I got a very good comment on the last post here. While I just made mention of the obscene amounts of money that are being wasted on the idiotic wars of choice we are stuck in today, the commenter brought up another reason to be very angry about the current messes. 
The topic of this post will attempt to address that concern. As I said in my reply to his comment, this topic needs its own posting. So, here goes.
One of the very huge dangers we have created for ourselves regards the use of drone aircraft to carry out air strikes in Iraq and in particular, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
These "pilots" who fly the drones "fighting" the war from the comfort of air bases right here in the good old US of A. They drive to the base and clock in to start their shift, fly the mission, and can be safe at home in time for their evening meal. A good part of the air war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is being fought by remote control. While the drones have very sophisticated cameras and sensors, there is still a big risk of "pilot error" in targeting just who or what they are shooting at or bombing. True, there is pilot error when the plane is flown by an actual pilot, so any error of this sort is not native to the remote controlled air craft.
What IS bothersome, frightening in fact, is that by using remotely controlled air craft to carry out the air strikes, we making war more like a video game. The "pilots" who fly these drones only see the video screen in front of them. They do not see the surroundings the same way a real human pilot would.  The entire operation is very much like a video game that one might play at home on any of the current gaming platforms.
There is the worrying bit. By removing the "fighter" from the actual combat arena, we have taken the element of personal danger out of war. By making it so very easy to drop bombs on a target, with no personal danger to the pilot, it becomes just another video game. War made very easy. Too easy in my opinion. As we make war less dangerous and easy, we also make war much more likely.  
Why not bomb any country at any time? If there is no personal rick to the pilot, we make it all too easy to just bomb any where, at any time.  Wars are very messy, nasty, brutish affairs. Just ask anybody who has been in a war. They will tell you it is noisy, dirty, confused, and frightening. Wars are messy folks. 
As we make it safer to bomb a target, we make it easier for the leaders to just send a drone off to bomb anybody they decide to bomb. After all, there is no pilot who could be shot down and/or captured, so the risk is very minimal.
Wars should never be this easy. War should always be the very last resort, and then only for defense.  By using these remote controlled vehicles to fight wars, we are making it way too easy to fight more useless wars.
Unfortunately, I see no way to stop the use of drones. I do agree that using them for surveillance is a good idea. But, as soon as the brass saw how that worked, it was a very small step for them to put bombs on the drones and use them for air strikes. 
In my personal opinion, the only way to end the use of the drones to fight wars is to stop having wars. We are currently involved in three wars of choice. Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We were lied to in order to drum up support for the first two. We just "needed" to add Pakistan as the Taliban were crossing the Afghan/Pakistan border, so bombing parts of Pakistan was just a "natural" progression of the Afghan war. Or so we have been told. 
The stated "goal" of invading Afghanistan was, or so they said in 2001, was to kill or capture bin Laden. Well, that didn't work out very well. The Taliban had even offered to hand him over to the US before we began our bombing and invasion IF we would provide evidence that he had been behind the 9/11 attacks here. For whatever reason, our "leaders" refused this offer. Why? I have no idea. Maybe we did't/don't have any real proof that bin laden was the force behind the 9/11 attacks. 
In truth, the Taliban have never threatened the USA. They have no air force, no navy, and basically no means of sending a large force to attack us. Also, for the most part, the Taliban are Afghans. Yes, there are some foreign fighters who side with the Taliban, but basically, they Taliban are Afghans, and as such, they will continue to have the support of many of their fellow citizens. In some respects, the Taliban are not unlike the old Minutemen of the American Revolution. They are fighting on home soil for their land and families. We are the "red coats" in their country. Much as we were in Vietnam and Iraq.
The best thing to do, is to stop the wars and bring our troops home. We call it the Department of Defense. OK, then close the over 700 US bases on foreign soil and bring those troops home also. Let them defend America for a change. We could station them at the ports and borders here. Then they would be actually defending America.
The use of drones to fight our wars is making war all to easy. Fewer casualties this way. The pilots even get to be home in time for the evening meal and have time to watch TV with the family. By making war so easy to fight, we insure that we will continue to have more useless damn fool wars of choice.
Just my 2 cents worth.
semper fi

08 March 2010

Are you angry yet?

Hello good people.
Well, here I go with another rant. Please read the article at the following link.
After you read it, ask yourself this question. Are you angry now? Are you pissed off at these obscene amounts of money are being spent on this? Do you think these people will actually land a drone aircraft on a rolling, pitching deck of an aircraft carrier without crashing over 95% of them? Are you disgusted with the fact that since 2001 the military contractors have suckered us, the tax payers, for more than 295 Billion dollars? That is 295 Billion dollars just since 2001 alone! In less than 9 (nine) years we have over paid that much and more. That alone should get every American tax payer highly pissed off. 
We continue to pay ever more money for fewer and less useable weapons and weapon systems. In short, we now get even less "bang" for our bucks. Sounds to me like we are being ripped off here folks.
What to do? Well, write your Congress critters. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, if you still have one. Talk to everybody you know. Hell, talk to people you don't know about this rip off. Then, go read another article by an email friend of mine. She always has a very good article for us all to read. She has not suffered a close personal loss from the current idiotic wars. She did lose a nephew to the Iraq disaster, close enough in my book for it to be personal. I stated her loss was not a "close personal" one because it was her nephew who was killed in Iraq. I know that some folks don'e see nephews or nieces as "close" and "personal", but some of you may see it as close and personal. To me, any loss in some damn stupid war of choice is personal. Nobody should have to fight and die for the damn lies we were told to drum up support for the current wars of choice.
The article I am directing you to is at; http://www.counterpunch.org/beattie03052010.html
After you read her latest, ask yourself another question. Ask yourself if YOU are awake yet.
We need to wake up to the scam that is being pulled on us here at home folks. The super rich, the top 1% of the people in our country are very greedy. As much as they have, they want even more. It seems that they can never be satisfied. They never get to the point where they have "enough". Always, they want, demand even, more. They are taking our money to build over priced weapons that do not deliver the goods per the specs. They take our money, and even borrowed monies, to fight idiotic, useless wars of choice. They take our kids and grandkids to fight and die in those damn fool wars. They take ever more of our monies to fund worse than useless "health" insurance. They have the best of everything that money can buy. Yet, we, are supposed to tighten our belts ever further and "make do" with what little crumbs from their tables they "allow" us to have.
The monies that have been, and are being spent on the useless wars of choice could fund true Medicare for all Americans. Those monies could rebuild our old, decrepit infrastructure. Our highways, streets and bridges are in serious need of repairs. So little of that work gets done because the money is not available. The levees in America are in very sad shape. Not just here in Louisiana, but all the levees in the entire country. Just look at Sacramento, California and see how bad the levees there are. Some are in even worse shape than those in Louisiana. Other states have similar needs for infrastructure repairs. The states have very little money for that work. The Federal government doesn't have much more money for it either. The money that could be used for the repairs is being wasted in the bottomless pit of war. The money needed for education is also being dumped into that same pit.
We need to wake up folks. We are being screwed by our own government. This country is using borrowed money to fund the goddamn wars! If that doesn't get you pissed off, well, I have no idea what might. Borrowing money to fight a goddamn war. That has to be a new high in stupid. 
We should bring all the troops home from every foreign country. We have more than 700 bases in foreign countries. The only US troops that should be stationed overseas would be the Marine guards at our embassies. The Marines have a long tradition of guarding our embassies and when I was in the Marines, I was told that it was very good duty. 
We call it the Department of Defense. OK, bring our troops home and have them defend America. Let every other country defend itself. It is way past time for America to stopplaying at being some sort of global cop. Wake up people. We are running out of time.
semper fi