CodePink’s War on Drones

CodePink serves a useful function in American politics: if you want to know what the sensible political position is on any topic, just look at what CodePink opposes, and that’s what you should support. They operate as a sort of all-purpose Antipodal Political Indicator, invariably occupying the point exactly opposite the sweet spot on the political sphere.

It is therefore noteworthy that over the last couple of months CodePink has turned its rosy attentions to something unexpected: drones. Not the stingless little honeybee kind of drones, but the pilotless aircraft the military uses — and these can carry quite a nasty sting indeed.

Though it has received very little (if any) attention from the media, since November CodePink has waged an all-out anti-drone campaign, embarking on protest caravans to drone control centers, staging hunger strikes outside Creech Air Force Base in the Nevada desert from which many drones are remotely piloted, and hanging anti-drone banners off freeway overpasses in Berkeley and elsewhere.

And in one way CodePink’s assessment is correct: The U.S. military has indeed taken to using drones with ever greater frequency — and efficacy. Just today, two American drones attacked and killed 13 Islamic militants in Pakistan, possibly in retaliation for the suicide bomber who killed several CIA agents in Afghanistan last week.

Of course when I say the drones “attacked and killed” the militants, it wasn’t really the drones doing it autonomously; an Air Force pilot was undoubtedly controlling each drone, with our military command structure giving the go-ahead for each strike. The drones are just the weapon; it’s still people who are pulling the trigger.

And this recent attack is no fluke; exactly as CodePink fears, the military is amping up its development and use of drones. As reported at the Belmont Club and at Wired, the Air Force has recently completed development of and has possibly already started deploying a tiny drone that’s straight out of a futuristic novel:

The Air Force Research Laboratory set out in 2008 to build the ultimate assassination robot: a tiny, armed drone for U.S. special forces to employ in terminating “high-value targets.” The military won’t say exactly what happened to this Project Anubis, named after a jackal-headed god of the dead in Egyptian mythology. But military budget documents note that Air Force engineers were successful in “develop[ing] a Micro-Air Vehicle (MAV) with innovative seeker/tracking sensor algorithms that can engage maneuvering high-value targets.”

Special Forces already make extensive use of the Wasp drone made by AeroVironment. This is the smallest drone in service, weighing less than a pound. It has an endurance of around 45 minutes, and line-of-sight control extends to 3 miles.

It might seem limited compared to larger craft, but the Wasp excels at close-in reconnaissance. Its quiet electric motor means it can get near to targets without their ever being aware of its presence.

The Air Force’s 2008 budget plans described the planned Project Anubis as “a small UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that carries sensors, data links, and a munitions payload to engage time-sensitive fleeting targets in complex environments.” It noted that after it was developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Anubis would be used by Air Force Special Operations Command. The total cost was to be just over half a million dollars.

No official announcements have been made since then, and the Air Force did not return a request to comment on this story (hardly surprising for a weapon so likely to be used covertly). But the current Air Force R&D budget does mention the effort, briefly. This newer document refers to Project Anubis as a development that has already been carried out. According to the budget, $1.75 million was spent to reach the goal.

The current state of Project Anubis is unknown. It could be one of tens of thousands of military research efforts that started, made some progress and ended without a conclusion. Or Anubis could now be in the hands of Air Force Special Operations Command.

Currently, most if not all drones are controlled by pilots safely ensconced in bases on the other side of the world, but one can easily visualize the day not far in the future when each soldier or Marine deployed in a hostile environment will have a MAV (micro-drone) kit included as part of his or her standard-issue equipment, for deployment in the field. Instead of lobbing mortars at random in the general direction of enemy positions, or firing blindly, soldiers could launch MAVs and control them in the field, targeting and taking out enemy positions with unerring accuracy — at no risk to our side.

So what, pray tell, is CodePink so upset about? The ever-smaller and ever-more-accurate new drones not only eliminate risk for U.S. forces, but they also prevent any accidental “collateral damage” on the battlefield — something which one would think would be good news to the anti-war crowd. In fact, that’s the whole reason these drones exist: so we can carefully target just the bad guys, and leave innocent bystanders unharmed. Isn’t that commendable?

No. CodePink is not satisfied. Their anti-drone manifesto declares,

We urge everyone who cares about protecting human life and the future of this planet to seriously consider how many hours a day you are willing and able to dedicate to this campaign to GROUND the DRONES.

We can NOT ignore these exponentially growing weaponry terrorizing people around the world from their bright blue skies.

We MUST end this violence against all life, this violence perpetuated by our military in our name. We must NOT tolerate this another moment.

All of our weapons of war are heinous and insufferable for any and all human beings. DRONES are not merely the newest horror:

DRONES are the most egregious component of recent war ‘toys’ and should incite public furor comparable to initial reactions against nuclear bombs.

DRONES are unmanned aircraft that are remotely controlled by US soldiers sitting at a computer console in Nevada or New York, operating a joy stick and pushing buttons that direct the DRONE to spy and kill thousands of miles away in someone else’s country.

Some DRONES are armed with bombs; some ‘only’ spy. Companies are racing to make DRONES that can drop biological and chemical weapons; utilize nuclear, lazar, microwave weapons.

Some fit into the palm of your hand; others are so big they fit into an airplane hanger on an angle. Some can be programmed to fly on their own; others are controlled by the soldier in this country while they are killing in another country.

It seems that the basis of CodePink’s antipathy toward drones as a concept is precisely the very fact that they are so efficient and accurate. Setting aside the laughable hyperbole about “biological, chemical, nuclear and lazar” weapons launched by drones, CodePink is pissed off because no U.S. troops are endangered by the operation of drones.

One might reasonably assume from this that CodePink — and the innumerable leftist groups who echo CodePink’s positions — wants U.S troops to die. But I take a more charitable view. I think CodePink and their ilk believe in the theory once expounded so convincingly on an old Star Trek episode: That if you make war bloodless and antiseptic, then the public will shrug its shoulders and allow wars to continue forever; but if you bring home the horror of war by purposely ensuring that it remains brutal, horrific and random, then mankind will rise up and banish war forever. A peacenik’s wet dream.

But the continued development of drones and other high-precision remote-controlled weaponry raises a conundrum that perhaps hasn’t occurred to the CodePinkers yet: If war evolves to become completely surgical, with essentially no casualties on our side and minimal civilian casualties in the battle zone; and if only the bad guys get killed and no one else; then what’s so horrific about this new kind of war at all? Why does it need to be banished along with our memories of trench warfare and hand-to-hand combat?

I propose to CodePink and their fellow travelers that drones and similar weapons are exactly the solution you’ve been looking for: a way to banish bloody warfare forever.

Imagine sitting in at an anti-war meeting during WWI or the Vietnam War, and someone says, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if in the future, instead of having massive campaigns with tanks and guns and battleships and bombers and dead soldiers and massacred civilians and entire generations lost to violence, we could simply press a button that would kill only the warmongers automatically, thereby preventing even the need for a full-scale war in the first place?” The room would erupt in cheers.

Well, that’s exactly what drones do: Someone sitting safely at an Air Force base in Nevada presses a button and it launches a missile from a drone which takes out an Al Qaeda leader or a Taliban chieftain — the very warmongers who are causing the problem and the very ones who declared war on us.

Shouldn’t CodePink therefore be protesting in favor of drones? That would make more sense.

Then again, Antipodal Political Indicators that they are, CodePink naturally does the exact inverse of the sensible thing, even when by so doing they negate their own goals.

But I’ll take my cue from them, and from here on out become a pro-drone activist. It’s the least I can do for our soldiers, and for civilians around the globe.


This post also appears on Pajamas Media:

CodePink’s Head-Scratching War on Drones

54 Responses to “CodePink’s War on Drones”

  1. 1CattusMagnus on Jan 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm:

    I’M PRO-DRONE AND I VOTE!

    Code Pink and other peaceniks around the world should welcome this new kind of warfare as it dramatically decreases collateral damage and keeps our troops safer. Isn’t that what they’ve been asking for all along? That if we really support the troops we should keep them safe and bring them home? That our wars should not kills tons of innocent Iraqis and Afghanis? Right? This whole drone issue shows that Code Pink’s real agenda has nothing to do with saving the lives of American military personel or innocent civilians in the war zone. Silly me to have given them the benefit of the doubt that they actually cared about saving human lives.

  2. 2THX-1138 on Jan 6, 2010 at 6:50 pm:

    The only drones that bother me are the ones involved in Code Stink.

  3. 3Simon on Jan 6, 2010 at 6:57 pm:

    Isn’t the objection to drones that they are being used to kill people in countries with which the US is not at war and not occupying – like Pakistan. OF course this is not an objection to the use of drones per se, but rather how they are currently being used.

    Think ahead – one day Pakistan may have drones and may use those to kill, say, Indian ‘spies’ operating in Afghanistan, unfortunately there is collateral damage and some US troops are killed as well. How will the US object ?

    Code Pink are turds, but that doesn’t obscure the fact that there are real issues with drones.

  4. 4ProtestShooter on Jan 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm:

    I get the impression that they took this position in part because they’re hoping it will resonate with your average person who will find drones creepy. But it’s clearly also true it bugs them personally because they know the single largest hook they have is dead Americans, and if there aren’t any most people will be pretty apathetic. That’s of course why that branch of the left is always making noises about the draft – they want to spread the pain around, to make it personal, so you’ll support their agenda.

  5. 5arhooley on Jan 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm:

    Simon on Jan 6, 2010 at 6:57 pm:

    Isn’t the objection to drones that they are being used to kill people in countries with which the US is not at war and not occupying

    No. Read the Anti-Drone Manifesto directly above, and Zombie’s comment on it.

    Drones bad because someday they may be used against us? Dude, what are you going to do, halt the development of all military technology?

  6. 6Simon on Jan 6, 2010 at 9:46 pm:

    arhooley – I understand that Code Pink have missed the point – no surprises there, they are a bunch of insane commies. I was giving what I think is a valid objection to the use of drones.

    Drones are good. But if you use them as an all purpose international killer (like the proposed attack on Quetta which looks like its been quashed) then one day you are going to find that you will have no leg to stand one when they are used the same way against you.

  7. 7Bunk X on Jan 6, 2010 at 9:49 pm:

    Drones have been around for eons. A well-aimed rock is the simplest.

  8. 8Dane on Jan 7, 2010 at 11:55 am:

    Simon: Isn’t the objection to drones that they are being used to kill people in countries with which the US is not at war and not occupying – like Pakistan.

    During the Vietnam war, we for the most part respected the sovereignty of countries like Laos and Cambodia that were incapable of exerting control within their own borders. The result was that those countries were freely used as a sanctuary and staging/transit area by the VPA and VC.

    I don’t unreservedly support our current policy of operations in Pakistani territory, but it certainly seems to beat the alternative we previously tried.

  9. 9Starless on Jan 7, 2010 at 11:57 am:

    I’m seeing in CodePink’s campaign that the new math is: Drones = Landmines. Everybody hates landmines and now CodePink will now try to make drones out as the moral equivalent.

    That if you make war bloodless and antiseptic, then the public will shrug its shoulders and allow wars to continue forever; but if you bring home the horror of war by purposely ensuring that it remains brutal, horrific and random, then mankind will rise up and banish war forever. A peacenik’s wet dream.

    The funny thing about that is that the political left (as opposed to the Radical or Progressive Left) are the ones who always try to engage in “bloodless” warfare. Clinton’s excessive use of TLAMs* is the perfect example. I’d suggest that during a Democratic administration we’ll see a rise in the use of drones compared to a Republican administration.

    What’s common in both notions, the Democrat’s quest for bloodless war and CodePink’s “war is never the answer” screeching, is that they both rely on a simplistic logic which only a mental adolescent can accept as realistic. The difference is that CodePink’s conclusion is morally indefensible.

    *Something which IMO didn’t get enough play about Clinton’s use of Tomahawks was that he used so many that they had to start converting the nuke version (TLAM-N) to conventional and just about used up our entire arsenal. The conspiracy theory is that this was a backdoor method for Clinton to engage in some unilateral nuclear arms reduction.

  10. 10Starless on Jan 7, 2010 at 12:03 pm:

    Dane: During the Vietnam war, we for the most part respected the sovereignty of countries like Laos and Cambodia that were incapable of exerting control within their own borders.

    Wha? We bombed the crap out of Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

  11. 11Dane on Jan 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm:

    Starless: Wha? We bombed the crap out of Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

    When Johnson was in office?

    (I’m aware of Operation Menu when Nixon was in office, and the resulting fallout when it became public knowledge, but have always been under the impression that it was a ‘too little, too late’ thing.)

  12. 12lincolntf on Jan 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm:

    “CodePINK Womyn’s
    NO DRONES Peace Encampment
    Nov 26th – Dec 2nd”

    For real? “Womyn’s”? What brand of absurdly politicized neologisms produces that twerpy looking word?
    These people beclown themselves at every turn.

  13. 13Ringo the Gringo on Jan 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm:

    This must be the first zombie post/essay not accompanied by at least one photograph.

  14. 14Starless on Jan 7, 2010 at 3:32 pm:

    Dane: When Johnson was in office?

    You didn’t distinguish between Johnson’s war and Nixon’s war, you just said “Vietnam War”. As far as I know, Johnson didn’t bomb Laos or Cambodia.

    lincolntf: For real? “Womyn’s”? What brand of absurdly politicized neologisms produces that twerpy looking word?

    Identity politics — in particular, feminism. IOW, a contempt for humans so deep that it has to have its own language.

    lincolntf: These people beclown themselves at every turn.

    They prove that they’re ideology is sitting somewhere back in the ’70s.

  15. 15buzzsawmonkey on Jan 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm:

    Code Pink just opposes long, drone-out hostilities.

  16. 16buzzsawmonkey on Jan 7, 2010 at 8:47 pm:

    Oh, and zombie: big congrats on your new forum!

  17. 17shortshirft on Jan 7, 2010 at 8:49 pm:

    Code Pink’s thinking goes no deeper than its inane name. Alarmed females. Breathless boobs. Squawking squaws. They are about the media, not the message. One cannot take these cunning stunts seriously.

  18. 18Keith on Jan 8, 2010 at 2:58 am:

    Oh my mistake, when I saw the title of this post I thought codepink had declared war on the people who drone the repukeblican talking points

  19. 19Starless on Jan 8, 2010 at 5:21 am:

    buzzsawmonkey: Oh, and zombie: big congrats on your new forum!

    Ditto on that. I hope Roger Simon is paying you something and maybe some day you can be the one to be brutally honest and tell him that hat makes him look stupid.

  20. 20Render on Jan 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm:

    Well done Z.

    As some of the more astute commentors here and there have already pointed out, CP is not anti-war, just anti-American. They will say nothing about the Russian and Chinese drone programs.

    They threw a stink about the Israeli use of WP ammo (instead of HE) in Gaza, but never said a word about the largest single usage of WP in military history (Grozny ’94-’95) by the Russians. They never mentioned that China makes more WP ammo then all of the rest of the world combined.

    They (CP) illegally met with HAMAS, after HAMAS had been Federally designated as a terrorist organization.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=code+pink+hamas&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1

    Code Pink are enemy agents.

    PERIOD,
    R

  21. 21Syrah on Jan 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm:

    Congratulations on your appearance at at Pajamas Media.
    Is this a one time deal or will you be posting there regularly?

  22. 22Dianna on Jan 10, 2010 at 9:15 am:

    Zombie – Are they actually hunger striking, or just doing one of their patented “I’ll put off lunch” strikes?

  23. 23buzzsawmonkey on Jan 10, 2010 at 10:40 am:

    Code Pink has been a major force in the most recent effort to get the Israelis to open their Gaza border to Hamas murderers.

  24. 24zombie on Jan 10, 2010 at 11:33 am:

    Dianna: Zombie – Are they actually hunger striking, or just doing one of their patented “I’ll put off lunch” strikes?

    I don’t think it even rose to the level of “I’ll put off lunch.” It was probably more like, “Since there are no cameras around to document whether I eat or not, I’ll simply claim to ‘fast for peace.’ It’s the intent that counts.”

    You may remember when Cindy Sheehan camped out at Bush’s ranch in Crawford and claimed to be on a hunger strike, and was discovered to be not-so-secretly drinking Jamba Juice smoothies all day long. When confronted, she claimed that living on Jamba Juice smoothies was a fast, since it wasn’t real solid food. Of course, when you get the “protein boost” and all the other extras mixed in, the smoothies are basically the same thing as a Metrical or other nutritive “liquid meals” given to people who have their jaws wired shut. So, in Code Pink’s world, spending an afternoon only having a couple smoothies counts as a death-defying hunger strike.

  25. 25zombie on Jan 10, 2010 at 11:42 am:

    Ringo the Gringo: This must be the first zombie post/essay not accompanied by at least one photograph.

    Actually, I think there have been a few others in the past — such as the “All the Fishy Rumors” song parody.

  26. 26Starless on Jan 11, 2010 at 6:06 am:

    Render: As some of the more astute commentors here and there have already pointed out, CP is not anti-war, just anti-American.

    I disagree. I think they think they are pro-American in a pushy, maternal, mother-knows-best way, and they are anti-war in the way that a little girl on the playground screams, “Why won’t you boys stop fighting!” Their protests are one long demand to have the world conform to their simplistic mindset.

    buzzsawmonkey: Code Pink has been a major force in the most recent effort to get the Israelis to open their Gaza border to Hamas murderers.

    This is again the mother-knows-best attitude. If Washington won’t do things the way CP thinks it should be done, they’ll go ahead and do it themselves. It’s (in their minds) for our own good.

    zombie: I don’t think it even rose to the level of “I’ll put off lunch.” It was probably more like, “Since there are no cameras around to document whether I eat or not, I’ll simply claim to ‘fast for peace.’ It’s the intent that counts.”

    It’s their feelings that count.

  27. 27MikalM on Jan 11, 2010 at 6:41 pm:

    Starless: I disagree. I think they think they are pro-American in a pushy, maternal, mother-knows-best way, and they are anti-war in the way that a little girl on the playground screams, “Why won’t you boys stop fighting!” Their protests are one long demand to have the world conform to their simplistic mindset.

    Good insight. This type has been around for decades — the stereotypical “little old lady in tennis shoes” who, no longer having biological children to push around, throws herself headfirst into causes that can convey on her a sense of moral authority.

    CP’s are a particularly pathetic example, since their whole act undermines any real weight they may carry as “elders”. Wearing goofy pink outfits that resemble a 4YO girl’s princess get-up…flashing their flabby, drooping breasts at press conferences…leaving “Goddess” juju-tokens at Marine recruiting centers…these tactics get a lot of media coverage, but don’t alter public attitudes towards the military or the wars, and just betray the Pinkies as another bunch of attention-whoring old Bay Area hippies who’ve spent their adult lives using radical politics as a form of group therapy.

    I imagine that a lot of liberals and leftists are deeply embarassed by Code Pink’s antics. But I also suspect that the more sober activists keep their criticisms to themselves in the name of movement unity, or because they don’t want to be thought of as opposing Diversity, Inclusion, or whatever other psychobabble-excuse they invoke to rationalize the presence of patently demented individuals in their midst. Too, Medea Benjamin is both materially wealthy and amazingly well-connected; I suppose to Progs she’s like the rich, eccentric aunt you grudgingly indulge in the hopes of siphoning off some of her money or influence.

  28. 28Jonathon Payne on Jan 11, 2010 at 7:46 pm:

    As a US Army Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operator, I should address some misconceptions concerning how and why the use of UAVs by the US military has increased exponentially. First, let me start off by saying that the term drone is a misnomer. A drone is what the US military uses for aerial target practice. They are little more than glorified R/C airplanes. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a fully or partially autonomous aircraft which can be dynamically re-tasked (given a new flight plan) while still airborne. They are primarily used for aerial reconnaissance, however, the use of UAVs as ground attack aircraft has grown in prominence over the past decade. Today’s UAVs are a far cry from the simple target drones that the first UAVs (such as the BQM-34 Firebee) evolved from.

    Secondly, the main reason that the US military (and specifically the US Army) has purchased so many unmanned aircraft is due more to simple fiscal cost-effectiveness than the US military’s desire to avoid casualties. The RQ-7B Shadow UAV System (which I operate) has enough personnel and equipment to keep at least one aircraft in the air 24 hours a day. All total, the system costs only about $14 million. In reality, that’s less than half what the military would pay for a manned aircraft that could do the same job. That’s only one aircraft, compared to the four that are in the Shadow system, so in reality, four manned aircraft would cost eight times as much if not more. Because of lower procurement and operating costs, these systems are being fielded at lower echelons than would be possible with manned aircraft.

    Which leads to my third point. As T. R. Fehrenbach wrote in his book This Kind of War (a book about the Korean war which I highly recommend reading): “You may fly over a land forever, you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life — but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the mud.” Thus, in reality, it doesn’t matter how many wonderful toys the US military has if, at the end of the day, you still have to put that young man in the mud. War – true war, not the sanitized version that some idealists irrationally believe in – will always be bloody. If we truly wish to defend our nation and affect any change in the world then we will need to put young, armed men into the world, possibly to die. If the American people are unwilling to accept this, then we, as a nation, should immediately give up our status as a superpower, disband our standing army, and revert to the isolationists philosophies of the 19th century.

    An unmanned aircraft is a tool just like any other tool. It can be used to create or to destroy, it can be used for good or evil. The choice is up to the user.

  29. 29CattusMagnus on Jan 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm:

    Jonathon Payne,
    Thank you for the clarification, and thank you for your service to our country.

  30. 30Render on Jan 12, 2010 at 3:40 am:

    When Code Pink is openly advertising in multiple places on the pages of the Moslem Brotherhoods official website there can be no further questions of their abject treason.The only reason Code Pink is against drones is because the drones are effective at killing Jihadi leadership in large numbers.

    I’m quite positive my mother wouldn’t be hanging out with HAMAS and advertising with the Moslem Brotherhood.

    REASONABLE
    SUSPICION,
    R

  31. 31RoboMonkey on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:11 am:

    Those of us who remember how effective CodePink were at getting the United State to unilaterally surrender and withdraw from Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Europe, North America, the planet Earth, etc.; will no doubt be concerned that they have now turned their big pink guns upon the even bigger and deadlier (albeit far less pink) Air Force drones used to make precision attacks against the “bad guys” “over there” with little risk to our own personnel who sit in air-conditioned rooms pulling the trigger by remote control.

  32. 32RoboMonkey on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:14 am:

    lincolntf: For real? “Womyn’s”? What brand of absurdly politicized neologisms produces that twerpy looking word?

    I’m surprised that they still use the sexist word “MANifesto”. In my blog, I’m going to henceforth use the word “personifesto” when referring to the inane babblings of the left.

  33. 33RoboMonkey on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:16 am:

    Dianna: Zombie – Are they actually hunger striking, or just doing one of their patented “I’ll put off lunch” strikes?

    I’ve seen pictures of some Code Pinkos. A good, honest hunger strike would do some people some good.

  34. 34Starless on Jan 12, 2010 at 6:39 am:

    Render, I’m not unsympathetic to your position, but I don’t think you’ve proven treason. I’ve yet to see anything CP has said or done which crosses the threshold into supporting enemy action against the US. They’re more isolationist than anything else — they have more in common with Pat Buchanan than with Bill Ayers. You want to try and imprison someone for treason, do it to that son-of-a-bitch Ayers before the crazy ladies with the crazy hats and saggy boobs.

    MikalM: Good insight. This type has been around for decades — the stereotypical “little old lady in tennis shoes” who, no longer having biological children to push around, throws herself headfirst into causes that can convey on her a sense of moral authority.

    Thanks. Though I suspect they still do have biological children who they push around. And cats. And dogs. And husbands.

    Jonathon Payne: First, let me start off by saying that the term drone is a misnomer. A drone is what the US military uses for aerial target practice. They are little more than glorified R/C airplanes. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a fully or partially autonomous aircraft which can be dynamically re-tasked (given a new flight plan) while still airborne.

    You are absolutely correct but I think you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone in the general public beyond military nerds to use the term “UAV” instead of “drone”.

    Jonathon Payne: Secondly, the main reason that the US military (and specifically the US Army) has purchased so many unmanned aircraft is due more to simple fiscal cost-effectiveness than the US military’s desire to avoid casualties.

    Thus, in reality, it doesn’t matter how many wonderful toys the US military has if, at the end of the day, you still have to put that young man in the mud.

    You point out one of the perennial delusions which creeps into high command. A lot of generals seem to buy into it and I think Clinton bought into it and Bush 43 and Rumsfeld bought into it too. That is that with our awesome technology we can get away with fighting major conflicts on the cheap. Of course, this ignores the repeated lesson of history, which is that you can’t hold ground without people on the scene and getting people there is always expensive. UAVs are a great asset and can help to mitigate the expense somewhat, but they can’t ever mitigate it to the extent that high command hopes and imagines that it can.

  35. 35Kenneth on Jan 12, 2010 at 7:35 am:

    Code Pink’s anti-drone campaign began 2 months ago, immediately following their latest trip to Af-Pak where they met with representatives of the Taliban. The timing is significant. The Taliban/AQ told Code Pink to help stop the drones and the useful idiots are happily obliging. These are not the silly wooly headed leftist idealists they appear to be They are deliberately helping Al Qaeda by attempting to disarm the US military of their most effective weapons.

  36. 36realwest on Jan 12, 2010 at 8:12 am:

    And zombie strikes again!! Great piece here zombie – Code Pink is in fact irrelevant. No, they really are. They have no real morals, they go on hunger strikes that aren’t, they ONLY protest American military action, whereas their bestest new friends, the Tollybon, can saw off someone’s head and Code Pink will NOT upbraid them (perish forbid) because they are fighting for their “own” country and way of life. Hell, except for the “hunger strikes” that aren’t they show a lack of concern for minorities and Womym in particular that would make N.O.W. proud.

    And now they are – how to put this politely – BORING. They really aren’t even funny anymore, no matter how unintentionally funny they used to be.
    And I’m very pleased to see you reaching more and more folks through PJ Media.
    Oh and to Starless - the essence of Counter-Insurgency warfare is that you make more people come over to your side by protecting them than any other method. While Drones or UAV’s are very helpful, it’s still boots on the ground, defending villages and small towns and even big cities from the depredations of the “insurgents” that wins that battle.
    What we’d like to see (as my friend JCM and I wrote in an essay on C2) is that those boots on the ground in Afghanistan, at least, be a well trained, well equipped group of Afghan Army boots on the ground.

  37. 37CattusMagnus on Jan 12, 2010 at 9:18 am:

    realwest:
    What we’d like to see (as my friend JCM and I wrote in an essay on C2) is that those boots on the ground in Afghanistan, at least, be a well trained, well equipped group of Afghan Army boots on the ground.

    From what’s in this video, it sure doesn’t look like the Afghan army is there yet. Let’s hope this isn’t the case all over the country.

  38. 38Starless on Jan 12, 2010 at 9:19 am:

    realwest: Oh and to Starless – the essence of Counter-Insurgency warfare is that you make more people come over to your side by protecting them than any other method. While Drones or UAV’s are very helpful, it’s still boots on the ground, defending villages and small towns and even big cities from the depredations of the “insurgents” that wins that battle.

    Uh…I agree?

    I don’t quite understand what you’re getting at. Are you saying that what I said about high command’s delusions regarding technology v. boots on the ground is wrong?

  39. 39Render on Jan 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm:

    In 2005 Code Pink gave $600,000 to al-Qaeda in Iraq, in Fallujah. By their own admission and repeated public statements.

    That material support alone looks to me like the very definition of treason.

    In 2009 Code Pink met with the Taliban. That is a violation of US federal law.

    In 2010 Code Pink met with HAMAS. That is a violation of US federal law.

    Now they are advertising on the website of the Moslem Brotherhood, the granddaddy of all Islamic terrorist groups. That too is a violation of US federal law.

    The Code Pink “protests” outside of Walter Reed were beyond the pale of any human decency. For that and that alone they should be riduculed and beaten down every time they show their faces in public. That’s right, I said beaten…

    ===

    If Abraham Lincoln (R) was president all of the members of Code Pink would be in exile, or prison, for the duration of the war.

    ITS A
    LONG
    WAR,
    R

  40. 40realwest on Jan 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm:

    #38 Starless – NO, I was most certainly not saying you were wrong at all! All I was saying is that, at the end of the fight, the boots on the ground (which as you so correctly pointed out “you can’t hold ground without people on the scene ” I was merely pointing out that, at the end of the fight the people holding the ground (“the boots on the ground”) will necessarily have to be on the feet of the Afghan Army.
    And to CattusMagnus, what I also said was a well trained and well equipped and led Afghan Army. That the Afghan Army (and Police) are not there yet is one of the very reasons why we have had – or will have had by the time Obama finally wakes up – hundreds and soon to be thousands of trainers over there – and tons of equipment. We helped make some significant elements of the Iraqi Army quite formidable indeed in facing their “insurgency” or “freedom fighters” and can and will do so again with the Afghans. Sometime take a look at General McCrystal’s resume: Special Forces all the way and that is or was, back in my day, one of a teams specialties – training the “locals” to defend themselves. I’ve no doubt at all that this is what McCrystal intends to do. And I have very little doubt that he will succeed, too.

  41. 41Starless on Jan 13, 2010 at 5:26 am:

    Render, if what you say about giving money to al Qaeda is true (that they gave money directly to al Qaeda, not laundered through some third or fourth party giving them plausible deniability) then, yeah, they should definitely be prosecuted under the Patriot Act. As far as meeting with the enemy is concerned, that’s a little bit squishier. But if they’re prosecuted, then Jesse Jackson, Jimmy Carter, and Jane Fonda all should be too.

    realwest: NO, I was most certainly not saying you were wrong at all! All I was saying is that, at the end of the fight, the boots on the ground (which as you so correctly pointed out “you can’t hold ground without people on the scene ” I was merely pointing out that, at the end of the fight the people holding the ground (”the boots on the ground”) will necessarily have to be on the feet of the Afghan Army.

    OIC. Yeah, IMO in both Iraq and Afghanistan, native armed forces supporting democratic gov’t would have been easier stood up if Bush 43 and Rummy had not ignored the dictum (and their generals) that overwhelming force (belt and suspenders) is always, always, always the way to go with an invasion. Bush 41 even seemed to understand that. I guess there’s some solace in the fact that they didn’t follow through with the crazy idea of going over the mountains into Iran.

  42. 42experiencedtraveller on Jan 14, 2010 at 9:46 pm:

    an Air Force pilot was undoubtedly controlling each drone,

    It is my understanding, dear zombie, that is was probably an Air Force sergeant flying the drone and not a ‘pilot’. While this is nit-picking, the reality has created very serious tensions and debates within the Air Force as to its future direction.

    Air force fighter pilots, officers all, have been our spear tip since WWII. That is changing.

  43. 43Render on Jan 14, 2010 at 10:40 pm:

    Overwhelming force is not always the way to go about an invasion. In fact, overwhelming force most often leads to much higher casualty rates, a higher incidence of friendly fire, and far more “collateral damage.”

    “Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less in slaughter.”
    -Winston Churchill

    We probably should have pulled out of Iraq the day after they stretched Saddams neck, by way of Damascus and Beirut, and stretched a few more necks along the way. But the fact is, by staying we killed off a huge number of jihadi freaks, with minimal causulties (in comparison to previous wars) on our part. No matter how it gets spun, that’s a win for us, and as al-Q has already admitted, a loss for them.

    We should not be wasting time and resources on nation building, especially when the war isn’t over yet, by a long shot.

    We should be conducting both large and small short-term punishment raids in any region that is lawless enough to hide al-Qaeda. Any region…

    …but I digress…

    ===

    Code Pink has a long established and well documented pattern of dealing directly with and providing aid and assistance to this nations enemies, as well as the enemies of Israel. If they were truely anti-war, they wouldn’t be dealing with the enemy at any level, for any reason. Not even once.

    PRISON
    OR
    EXILE,
    R

  44. 44Jonathon Payne on Jan 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm:

    Starless: You are absolutely correct but I think you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone in the general public beyond military nerds to use the term “UAV” instead of “drone”.

    I don’t blame the average Joe for using the term “drone” to describe a UAV. It’s a term that the media began using for such aircraft as a shorthand and it stuck. It’s just a pet peeve of mine.

    Starless:You point out one of the perennial delusions which creeps into high command. A lot of generals seem to buy into it and I think Clinton bought into it and Bush 43 and Rumsfeld bought into it too. That is that with our awesome technology we can get away with fighting major conflicts on the cheap. Of course, this ignores the repeated lesson of history, which is that you can’t hold ground without people on the scene and getting people there is always expensive. UAVs are a great asset and can help to mitigate the expense somewhat, but they can’t ever mitigate it to the extent that high command hopes and imagines that it can.

    I have one small disagreement with part of your argument. It is the DOD’s civilian leadership, including the President, not the military chain of command which have a tendency to be delusional about the use of UAVs. I will definitely agree that Rumsfeld bought into the whole “war on the cheap” idea (which UAVs were a part of) that he used in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in both situations it bit him in the ass. UAVs, however, are still being purchased en-mass by the military, despite the changeover from Rumsfeld to Gates and Bush to Obama. The reason for this is as I have stated before: they provide a cheap force multiplier for ground forces. UAVs do save lives but not in a direct way by keeping the operator out of harm’s way, but by providing timely intelligence to ground forces.

    On the other hand, the air war in Pakistan is, in my opinion, a largely political endeavor with no real strategy to guide it’s use. If things are not changed, then the UAV missions over Pakistan will be useless unless ground forces are used to exploit the air cover.

  45. 45Jonathon Payne on Jan 15, 2010 at 9:13 pm:

    experiencedtraveller:
    It is my understanding, dear zombie, that is was probably an Air Force sergeant flying the drone and not a ‘pilot’. While this is nit-picking, the reality has created very serious tensions and debates within the Air Force as to its future direction.Air force fighter pilots, officers all, have been our spear tip since WWII. That is changing.

    Well, to be technically accurate, all missions over Pakistan by UAVs are conducted by the USAF. The Air Force insists on using commissioned officers which are rated as manned aviators to pilot their UAVs. The US Army and Marine Corps use enlisted personnel to operate their UAVs, but those UAVs are, for the most part, smaller, simpler, and more automated that the Air Force’s UAVs.

  46. 46Christina on Jan 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm:

    We urge everyone who cares about protecting human life and the future of this planet to seriously consider how many hours a day you are willing and able to dedicate to this campaign to GROUND the DRONES.

    We can NOT ignore these exponentially growing weaponry terrorizing people around the world from their bright blue skies.

    We MUST end this violence against all life, this violence perpetuated by our military in our name. We must NOT tolerate this another moment.

    This from people who are complicity in ending human life in utero, invading what should be the safest place in the universe — your mother’s womb — and bringing bloody, violent death to innocents.

    If they’re so opposed to bloodshed and violence, they need to end the bloodshed and violence they perpetrate inside their own bodies.

  47. 47شات كتابي on Sep 27, 2010 at 11:22 am:

    Oh, and America is the most immature country and eventually we’ll all grow up and become all for socialized medicine but for now the US is a whiney teenager “I donwanna pay for her, she’s fat…it’s not my fault…mind your own business…but it’s not faaaiiiir, whaa”.

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