The Crash and Burn Future of Robot Warfare – What 70 Downed Drones Tell Us About the New American Way of Wa | Rise Up Times

Already, counting the Army’s thousands of tiny drones, one in three military aircraft — close to 7,500 machines — are robots.  According to official figures provided to TomDispatch, roughly 285 of them are Air Force Predator, Reaper, or Global Hawk drones.  The Air Force’s arsenal also includes more advanced Sentinels, Avengers, and other classified unmanned aircraft.  A report published by the Congressional Budget Office last year, revealed that “the Department of Defense plans to purchase about 730 new medium-sized and large unmanned aircraft systems” during the next 10 years.

Over the last decade, the United States has increasingly turned to drones in an effort to win its wars.  The Air Force investigation files examined by TomDispatch suggest a more extensive use of drones in Iraq than has previously been reported.  But in Iraq, as in Afghanistan, America’s preeminent wonder weapon failed to bring the U.S.mission anywhere close to victory.  Effective as the spearhead of a program to cripple al-Qaeda in Pakistan, drone warfare in that country’s tribal borderlands has also alienated almost the entire population of 190 million.  In other words, an estimated 2,000 suspected or identified guerrillas (as well as untold numbers of civilians) died.  The populace of a key American ally grew ever more hostile and no one knows how many new militants in search of revenge the drone strikes may have created, though the numbers are believed to be significant.

Despite a decade of technological, tactical, and strategic refinements and improvements, Air Force and allied CIA personnel watching computer monitors in distant locations have continually failed to discriminate between armed combatants and innocent civilians and, as a result, the judge-jury-executioner drone assassination program is widely considered to have run afoul of international law.

Over the last decade, a more-is-better mentality has led to increased numbers of drones, drone bases, drone pilots, and drone victims, but not much else.  Drones may be effective in terms of generating body counts, but they appear to be even more successful in generating animosity and creating enemies.

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