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The Drone Papers

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by YankeeFan, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    There's a lot here, and I haven't gotten through it all, but Glenn Greenwald's site has a new leaker, who has provided them with a ton of info on the drone program:

    The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret documents detailing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The documents, provided by a whistleblower, offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone wars.

    The Drone Papers
  2. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

  3. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    “The drone campaign right now really is only about killing. When you hear the phrase ‘capture/kill,’ capture is actually a misnomer. In the drone strategy that we have, ‘capture’ is a lower case ‘c.’ We don’t capture people anymore,” Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told The Intercept. “Our entire Middle East policy seems to be based on firing drones. That’s what this administration decided to do in its counterterrorism campaign. They’re enamored by the ability of special operations and the CIA to find a guy in the middle of the desert in some shitty little village and drop a bomb on his head and kill him.”


    Lt. Gen. Flynn, who since leaving the DIA has become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, charges that the White House relies heavily on drone strikes for reasons of expediency, rather than effectiveness. “We’ve tended to say, drop another bomb via a drone and put out a headline that ‘we killed Abu Bag of Doughnuts’ and it makes us all feel good for 24 hours,” Flynn said. “And you know what? It doesn’t matter. It just made them a martyr, it just created a new reason to fight us even harder.”

    Inside the CIA and Pentagon turf war over drone supremacy
  4. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Mr. Sunshine, SpeedTchr and YankeeFan like this.
  5. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    So Lt. Gen. Flynn is against using drones to kill terrorists because he's afraid it will create martyrs? Gen. Flynn sounds like kind of a pansy.
  6. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    Capturing Abu in Yemen creates a different pile of trouble. Diplomatic incident with a government we need whatever intel and support we can get from. Rendition and interrogation. Hopefully actionable intelligence is extracted from him. That's the plus side. Minus side is that now you have one more dirtbag to figure out where to warehouse. We're trying to empty out Gitmo, not add to the collection. In captivity he's still a martyr to the cause, but he remains alive to serve as an example and someone to try to break out or to kidnap someone to trade for him, etc.

    I don't have a real problem with getting a solid ID on terrorist bad actors and using a drone to drop a Hellfire on them. I don't much like the collateral damage when we take the shot on a house in a neighborhood at night rather than on a carload of Abu and his Jihadi brothers, but sometimes the guy is far enough up the food chain and hard to reach enough that even that becomes an acceptable cost of doing business.
  7. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    How is dropping a precision coordinate- or laser-guided munition (some UAS carry tools larger than Hellfire missiles) any different than putting 14 SEALS 500 meters from a house and killing everyone in it? Because we can see them? We're using the same ISR to develop targets prosecuted "in person" that we're using to plink them with Hellfires from 30,000 MSL.

    I haven't read all the documents in the link, but the lead story doesn't really give me much to debate, quite honestly.
  8. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    The main difference is that even "precision guided" missles and bombs sometimes miss. They also carry enough explosive payload that a direct hit still might flatten half the block.

    SEALs tend to do business over a set of gun sights. Not saying that SpecOps don't just sit on a hilltop camo'd up and lase a target, but generally when you get SEALs or Delta into it they service targets with bullets, not bombs.
  9. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Fact is, they miss much less than those looking over gun sights. Almost never. Both guidance systems - including Excalibur ammunition for howitzers -- have a nearly 100% "hit rate," if you will. And even if the munition used is "too big" for the target, the number of fusing options available make extensive collateral damage fairly easy to avoid. Look at the Hellfire, for example. There's about 20 variants -- from armor piercing to shape charges to thermobaric missiles on which the pressure drops rapidly after an dramatic increase -- for any number of target types. Combine that with several different fusing options and commanders can almost customize everything they do with nearly zero risk for collateral damage.

    The Excalibur, for example, is a coordinate-base 155MM shell that can be fired within 75 meters of friendly troops and has a probable error of less than 10 meters. Battlefield stats say it lands within four meters.

    Manned missions are just as likely to create civilian casualties.
  10. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    Democrats never miss.
  11. Stoney

    Stoney Well-Known Member

    As opposed to what alternative? We've tried the full scale ground forces invasion thing, that resulted in an ungodly number of innocent young people getting killed, an ungodly amount of unnecessary destruction and taxpayer expense, it buried us in debt, yet didn't seem to have made a dime's worth of difference in the end (and in Iraq actually made things much worse).

    So what's the alternative? Do nothing and let the bad guys have free reign to do as they please? Nobody wants that. Re-invade and re-commit massive ground forces? Nobody wants that. The drone program certainly has issues worthy of criticism, but it at least give us a functional middle ground, we can keep fighting and killing the bad guys, but without excessive sacrifice of American lives, without excessive collateral damage and waste, and without doing nothing. What are the better ideas?
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  12. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    Seems to be working in Syria.
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