Jump to content

Bespilotne letilice


Recommended Posts

da okačim 2 poduža texta, dok su besplatni:Why Drones WorkThe Case for Washington’s Weapon of Choice

By Daniel BymanJuly/August 2013Byman_WhyDronesWork_411.jpgCall of duty: drone operators in New Mexico, October 2012 (Airman 1st Class Michael Shoemaker / Reuters)Despite President Barack Obama’s recent call to reduce the United States’ reliance on drones, they will likely remain his administration’s weapon of choice. Whereas President George W. Bush oversaw fewer than 50 drone strikes during his tenure, Obama has signed off on over 400 of them in the last four years, making the program the centerpiece of U.S. counterterrorism strategy. The drones have done their job remarkably well: by killing key leaders and denying terrorists sanctuaries in Pakistan, Yemen, and, to a lesser degree, Somalia, drones have devastated al Qaeda and associated anti-American militant groups. And they have done so at little financial cost, at no risk to U.S. forces, and with fewer civilian casualties than many alternative methods would have caused.Critics, however, remain skeptical. They claim that drones kill thousands of innocent civilians, alienate allied governments, anger foreign publics, illegally target Americans, and set a dangerous precedent that irresponsible governments will abuse. Some of these criticisms are valid; others, less so. In the end, drone strikes remain a necessary instrument of counterterrorism. The United States simply cannot tolerate terrorist safe havens in remote parts of Pakistan and elsewhere, and drones offer a comparatively low-risk way of targeting these areas while minimizing collateral damage.So drone warfare is here to stay, and it is likely to expand in the years to come as other countries’ capabilities catch up with those of the United States. But Washington must continue to improve its drone policy, spelling out clearer rules for extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings so that tyrannical regimes will have a harder time pointing to the U.S. drone program to justify attacks against political opponents. At the same time, even as it solidifies the drone program, Washington must remain mindful of the built-in limits of low-cost, unmanned interventions, since the very convenience of drone warfare risks dragging the United States into conflicts it could otherwise avoid.NOBODY DOES IT BETTERThe Obama administration relies on drones for one simple reason: they work. According to data compiled by the New America Foundation, since Obama has been in the White House, U.S. drones have killed an estimated 3,300 al Qaeda, Taliban, and other jihadist operatives in Pakistan and Yemen. That number includes over 50 senior leaders of al Qaeda and the Taliban -- top figures who are not easily replaced. In 2010, Osama bin Laden warned his chief aide, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, who was later killed by a drone strike in the Waziristan region of Pakistan in 2011, that when experienced leaders are eliminated, the result is “the rise of lower leaders who are not as experienced as the former leaders” and who are prone to errors and miscalculations. And drones also hurt terrorist organizations when they eliminate operatives who are lower down on the food chain but who boast special skills: passport forgers, bomb makers, recruiters, and fundraisers.Drones have also undercut terrorists’ ability to communicate and to train new recruits. In order to avoid attracting drones, al Qaeda and Taliban operatives try to avoid using electronic devices or gathering in large numbers. A tip sheet found among jihadists in Mali advised militants to “maintain complete silence of all wireless contacts” and “avoid gathering in open areas.” Leaders, however, cannot give orders when they are incommunicado, and training on a large scale is nearly impossible when a drone strike could wipe out an entire group of new recruits. Drones have turned al Qaeda’s command and training structures into a liability, forcing the group to choose between having no leaders and risking dead leaders.Critics of drone strikes often fail to take into account the fact that the alternatives are either too risky or unrealistic. To be sure, in an ideal world, militants would be captured alive, allowing authorities to question them and search their compounds for useful information. Raids, arrests, and interrogations can produce vital intelligence and can be less controversial than lethal operations. That is why they should be, and indeed already are, used in stable countries where the United States enjoys the support of the host government. But in war zones or unstable countries, such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, arresting militants is highly dangerous and, even if successful, often inefficient. In those three countries, the government exerts little or no control over remote areas, which means that it is highly dangerous to go after militants hiding out there. Worse yet, in Pakistan and Yemen, the governments have at times cooperated with militants. If the United States regularly sent in special operations forces to hunt down terrorists there, sympathetic officials could easily tip off the jihadists, likely leading to firefights, U.S. casualties, and possibly the deaths of the suspects and innocent civilians.Of course, it was a Navy SEAL team and not a drone strike that finally got bin Laden, but in many cases in which the United States needs to capture or eliminate an enemy, raids are too risky and costly. And even if a raid results in a successful capture, it begets another problem: what to do with the detainee. Prosecuting detainees in a federal or military court is difficult because often the intelligence against terrorists is inadmissible or using it risks jeopardizing sources and methods. And given the fact that the United States is trying to close, rather than expand, the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, it has become much harder to justify holding suspects indefinitely. It has become more politically palatable for the United States to kill rather than detain suspected terrorists.Furthermore, although a drone strike may violate the local state’s sovereignty, it does so to a lesser degree than would putting U.S. boots on the ground or conducting a large-scale air campaign. And compared with a 500-pound bomb dropped from an F-16, the grenadelike warheads carried by most drones create smaller, more precise blast zones that decrease the risk of unexpected structural damage and casualties. Even more important, drones, unlike traditional airplanes, can loiter above a target for hours, waiting for the ideal moment to strike and thus reducing the odds that civilians will be caught in the kill zone.Finally, using drones is also far less bloody than asking allies to hunt down terrorists on the United States’ behalf. The Pakistani and Yemeni militaries, for example, are known to regularly torture and execute detainees, and they often indiscriminately bomb civilian areas or use scorched-earth tactics against militant groups.Some critics of the drone program, such as Ben Emmerson, the UN's special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, have questioned the lethal approach, arguing for more focus on the factors that might contribute to extremism and terrorism, such as poverty, unemployment, and authoritarianism. Such a strategy is appealing in principle, but it is far from clear how Washington could execute it. Individuals join anti-American terrorist groups for many reasons, ranging from outrage over U.S. support for Israel to anger at their own government’s cooperation with the United States. Some people simply join up because their neighbors are doing so. Slashing unemployment in Yemen, bringing democracy to Saudi Arabia, and building a functioning government in Somalia are laudable goals, but they are not politically or financially possible for the United States, and even if achieved, they still might not reduce the allure of jihad.In some cases, the most sensible alternative to carrying out drone strikes is to do nothing at all. At times, that is the right option: if militants abroad pose little threat or if the risk of killing civilians, delegitimizing allies, or establishing the wrong precedent is too high. But sometimes imminent and intolerable threats do arise and drone strikes are the best way to eliminate them.THE NUMBERS GAMEDespite the obvious benefits of using drones and the problems associated with the alternatives, numerous critics argue that drones still have too many disadvantages. First among them is an unacceptably high level of civilian casualties. Admittedly, drones have killed innocents. But the real debate is over how many and whether alternative approaches are any better. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that in 2011, U.S. drone strikes killed as many as 146 noncombatants, including as many as 9 children. Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic also cites high numbers of civilian deaths, as does the Pakistani organization Pakistan Body Count. Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation oversees a database of drone casualties culled from U.S. sources and international media reports. He estimates that between 150 and 500 civilians have been killed by drones during Obama’s administration. U.S. officials, meanwhile, maintain that drone strikes have killed almost no civilians. In June 2011, John Brennan, then Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, even contended that U.S. drone strikes had killed no civilians in the previous year. But these claims are based on the fact that the U.S. government assumes that all military-age males in the blast area of a drone strike are combatants -- unless it can determine after the fact that they were innocent (and such intelligence gathering is not a priority).The United States has recently taken to launching “signature strikes,” which target not specific individuals but instead groups engaged in suspicious activities. This approach makes it even more difficult to distinguish between combatants and civilians and verify body counts of each. Still, as one U.S. official told The New York Times last year, “Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization -- innocent neighbors don’t hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs.” Of course, not everyone accepts this reasoning. Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, who runs Pakistan Body Count, says that “neither [the United States] nor Pakistan releases any detailed information about the victims . . . so [although the United States] likes to call everybody Taliban, I call everybody civilians.”The truth is that all the public numbers are unreliable. Who constitutes a civilian is often unclear; when trying to kill the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, for example, the United States also killed his doctor. The doctor was not targeting U.S. or allied forces, but he was aiding a known terrorist leader. In addition, most strikes are carried out in such remote locations that it is nearly impossible for independent sources to verify who was killed. In Pakistan, for example, the overwhelming majority of drone killings occur in tribal areas that lie outside the government’s control and are prohibitively dangerous for Westerners and independent local journalists to enter.Thus, although the New America Foundation has come under fire for relying heavily on unverifiable information provided by anonymous U.S. officials, reports from local Pakistani organizations, and the Western organizations that rely on them, are no better: their numbers are frequently doctored by the Pakistani government or by militant groups. After a strike in Pakistan, militants often cordon off the area, remove their dead, and admit only local reporters sympathetic to their cause or decide on a body count themselves. The U.S. media often then draw on such faulty reporting to give the illusion of having used multiple sources. As a result, statistics on civilians killed by drones are often inflated. One of the few truly independent on-the-ground reporting efforts, conducted by the Associated Press last year, concluded that the strikes “are killing far fewer civilians than many in [Pakistan] are led to believe.”But even the most unfavorable estimates of drone casualties reveal that the ratio of civilian to militant deaths -- about one to three, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism -- is lower than it would be for other forms of strikes. Bombings by F-16s or Tomahawk cruise missile salvos, for example, pack a much more deadly payload. In December 2009, the United States fired Tomahawks at a suspected terrorist training camp in Yemen, and over 30 people were killed in the blast, most of them women and children. At the time, the Yemeni regime refused to allow the use of drones, but had this not been the case, a drone’s real-time surveillance would probably have spotted the large number of women and children, and the attack would have been aborted. Even if the strike had gone forward for some reason, the drone’s far smaller warhead would have killed fewer innocents. Civilian deaths are tragic and pose political problems. But the data show that drones are more discriminate than other types of force.FOREIGN FRIENDSIt is also telling that drones have earned the backing, albeit secret, of foreign governments. In order to maintain popular support, politicians in Pakistan and Yemen routinely rail against the U.S. drone campaign. In reality, however, the governments of both countries have supported it. During the Bush and Obama administrations, Pakistan has even periodically hosted U.S. drone facilities and has been told about strikes in advance. Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan until 2008, was not worried about the drone program’s negative publicity: “In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time,” he reportedly remarked. Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, also at times allowed drone strikes in his country and even covered for them by telling the public that they were conducted by the Yemeni air force. When the United States’ involvement was leaked in 2002, however, relations between the two countries soured. Still, Saleh later let the drone program resume in Yemen, and his replacement, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has publicly praised drones, saying that “they pinpoint the target and have zero margin of error, if you know what target you’re aiming at.”As officials in both Pakistan and Yemen realize, U.S. drone strikes help their governments by targeting common enemies. A memo released by the antisecrecy website WikiLeaks revealed that Pakistan’s army chief, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, privately asked U.S. military leaders in 2008 for “continuous Predator coverage” over antigovernment militants, and the journalist Mark Mazzetti has reported that the United States has conducted “goodwill kills” against Pakistani militants who threatened Pakistan far more than the United States. Thus, in private, Pakistan supports the drone program. As then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told Anne Patterson, then the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, in 2008, “We’ll protest [against the drone program] in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”Still, Pakistan is reluctant to make its approval public. First of all, the country’s inability to fight terrorists on its own soil is a humiliation for Pakistan’s politically powerful armed forces and intelligence service. In addition, although drones kill some of the government’s enemies, they have also targeted pro-government groups that are hostile to the United States, such as the Haqqani network and the Taliban, which Pakistan has supported since its birth in the early 1990s. Even more important, the Pakistani public is vehemently opposed to U.S. drone strikes.A 2012 poll found that 74 percent of Pakistanis viewed the United States as their enemy, likely in part because of the ongoing drone campaign. Similarly, in Yemen, as the scholar Gregory Johnsen has pointed out, drone strikes can win the enmity of entire tribes. This has led critics to argue that the drone program is shortsighted: that it kills today’s enemies but creates tomorrow’s in the process.Such concerns are valid, but the level of local anger over drones is often lower than commonly portrayed. Many surveys of public opinion related to drones are conducted by anti-drone organizations, which results in biased samples. Other surveys exclude those who are unaware of the drone program and thus overstate the importance of those who are angered by it. In addition, many Pakistanis do not realize that the drones often target the very militants who are wreaking havoc on their country. And for most Pakistanis and Yemenis, the most important problems they struggle with are corruption, weak representative institutions, and poor economic growth; the drone program is only a small part of their overall anger, most of which is directed toward their own governments. A poll conducted in 2007, well before the drone campaign had expanded to its current scope, found that only 15 percent of Pakistanis had a favorable opinion of the United States. It is hard to imagine that alternatives to drone strikes, such as SEAL team raids or cruise missile strikes, would make the United States more popular.THE HOME FRONTStill, public opposition is real, and there is growing concern about the drone strikes even in the United States. The program came under especially heavy criticism domestically in 2011, when Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico, was killed by a drone strike in Yemen. There is no question that Awlaki was dangerous. Adept at interspersing Islamist rhetoric with pop-culture references, Awlaki had been described as a “pied piper for Western ears”: one admirer was Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army officer who killed 13 U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.The Obama administration claims that Awlaki was actively involved in plots against the United States and that the strike against him was legal under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which Congress passed three days after 9/11 and which gives the president broad authority to use force against terrorist groups linked to the 9/11 attacks. Yet with the war on terrorism almost 12 years old and bin Laden dead, critics, such as the Georgetown University law professor Rosa Brooks, have begun questioning whether the AUMF still justifies drone strikes today. As Brooks has argued, “Many of the groups now being identified as threats don’t fall clearly under the AUMF’s umbrella -- and many don’t pose a significant danger to the United States.” As for the case of Awlaki, opponents of his killing have argued that he did not pose an imminent threat to the United States and that in keeping the evidence used to justify his assassination secret, the administration violated the constitutional guarantee of due process for U.S. citizens. As Ron Paul, then a Texas representative, pointed out during his presidential campaign, Awlaki was never charged with any crime. He added, “If the American people accept this blindly and casually, that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it’s sad.”The administration contends that the discussions held within the executive branch and the extensive vetting of evidence constitute a form of due process. Meanwhile, as the legal scholar Benjamin Wittes has pointed out, both Congress and the federal courts have repeatedly reaffirmed the validity of the AUMF since 2001. The U.S. government argues that given how secretly terrorists operate, it is not always possible to use other means to stop an individual overseas from planning attacks on U.S. forces or allies. As a result, the imminence of a threat should be assessed based on the individual’s propensity for violence and the likelihood of being able to stop him in the future. Wittes compares the decision-making process to that used in hostage situations, when police are not required to ask a judge for authority to kill a hostage taker or refrain from taking a clear shot if they have one.Perhaps most important, the White House has claimed only a very limited right to conduct drone strikes against U.S. citizens. The administration has asserted the authority to kill only senior al Qaeda leaders who cannot be captured, not any American member of al Qaeda. Indeed, it appears that Awlaki is the only U.S. citizen who has been deliberately killed by a drone.FOLLOW THE LEADERThe fact remains that by using drones so much, Washington risks setting a troublesome precedent with regard to extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings. Zeke Johnson of Amnesty International contends that “when the U.S. government violates international law, that sets a precedent and provides an excuse for the rest of the world to do the same.” And it is alarming to think what leaders such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has used deadly force against peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators he has deemed terrorists, would do with drones of their own. Similarly, Iran could mockingly cite the U.S. precedent to justify sending drones after rebels in Syria. Even Brennan has conceded that the administration is “establishing precedents that other nations may follow.”Controlling the spread of drone technology will prove impossible; that horse left the barn years ago. Drones are highly capable weapons that are easy to produce, and so there is no chance that Washington can stop other militaries from acquiring and using them. Nearly 90 other countries already have surveillance drones in their arsenals, and China is producing several inexpensive models for export. Armed drones are more difficult to produce and deploy, but they, too, will likely spread rapidly. Beijing even recently announced (although later denied) that it had considered sending a drone to Myanmar (also called Burma) to kill a wanted drug trafficker hiding there.The spread of drones cannot be stopped, but the United States can still influence how they are used. The coming proliferation means that Washington needs to set forth a clear policy now on extrajudicial and extraterritorial killings of terrorists -- and stick to it. Fortunately, Obama has begun to discuss what constitutes a legitimate drone strike. But the definition remains murky, and this murkiness will undermine the president’s ability to denounce other countries’ behavior should they start using drones or other means to hunt down enemies. By keeping its policy secret, Washington also makes it easier for critics to claim that the United States is wantonly slaughtering innocents. More transparency would make it harder for countries such as Pakistan to make outlandish claims about what the United States is doing. Drones actually protect many Pakistanis, and Washington should emphasize this fact. By being more open, the administration could also show that it carefully considers the law and the risks to civilians before ordering a strike.Washington needs to be especially open about its use of signature strikes. According to the Obama administration, signature strikes have eliminated not only low-level al Qaeda and Taliban figures but also a surprising number of higher-level officials whose presence at the scenes of the strikes was unexpected. Signature strikes are in keeping with traditional military practice; for the most part, U.S. soldiers have been trained to strike enemies at large, such as German soldiers or Vietcong guerrillas, and not specific individuals. The rise of unconventional warfare, however, has made this usual strategy more difficult because the battlefield is no longer clearly defined and enemies no longer wear identifiable uniforms, making combatants harder to distinguish from civilians. In the case of drones, where there is little on-the-ground knowledge of who is who, signature strikes raise legitimate concerns, especially because the Obama administration has not made clear what its rules and procedures for such strikes are.Washington should exercise particular care with regard to signature strikes because mistakes risk tarnishing the entire drone program. In the absence of other information, the argument that drones are wantonly killing innocents is gaining traction in the United States and abroad. More transparency could help calm these fears that Washington is acting recklessly.The U.S. government also needs to guard against another kind of danger: that the relative ease of using drones will make U.S. intervention abroad too common. The scholars Daniel Brunstetter and Megan Braun have argued that drones provide “a way to avoid deploying troops or conducting an intensive bombing campaign” and that this “may encourage countries to act on just cause with an ease that is potentially worrisome.” Although al Qaeda remains a threat, it has been substantially defanged since 9/11, thanks to the destruction of its haven in Afghanistan and effective global police, intelligence, and drone campaigns against its cells. In addition, the U.S. government needs to remember that many of the world’s jihadist organizations are focused first and foremost on local regimes and that although the United States has an interest in helping its allies fight extremists, Washington cannot and should not directly involve itself in every fight. The Obama administration should spell out those cases in which the AUMF does not apply and recognize the risks of carrying out so-called goodwill kills on behalf of foreign governments. Helping French and Malian forces defeat jihadists in Mali by providing logistical support, for example, is smart policy, but sending U.S. drones there is not.In places where terrorists are actively plotting against the United States, however, drones give Washington the ability to limit its military commitments abroad while keeping Americans safe. Afghanistan, for example, could again become a Taliban-run haven for terrorists after U.S. forces depart next year. Drones can greatly reduce the risk of this happening. Hovering in the skies above, they can keep Taliban leaders on the run and hinder al Qaeda’s ability to plot another 9/11.*************CORRECTION APPENDED (June 19, 2013)This article has been revised to address an error in the original version, regarding the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's estimates of the number of noncombatants killed by U.S. drone strikes in 2011.

Why Drones FailWhen Tactics Drive Strategy

By Audrey Kurth CroninJuly/August 2013Cronin_WhyDronesFail_411.pngDon’t drone me, bro! Pakistani tribesmen hold pieces of a missile, January 2009 (Courtesy Reuters)The war-weary United States, for which the phrase “boots on the ground” has become politically toxic, prefers to eliminate its terrorist foes from the skies. The tool of choice: unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones. In Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen -- often far away from any battlefield where American troops are engaged -- Washington has responded to budding threats with targeted killings.Like any other weapon, armed drones can be tactically useful. But are they helping advance the strategic goals of U.S. counterterrorism? Although terrorism is a tactic, it can succeed only on the strategic level, by leveraging a shocking event for political gain. To be effective, counterterrorism must itself respond with a coherent strategy. The problem for Washington today is that its drone program has taken on a life of its own, to the point where tactics are driving strategy rather than the other way around.The main goals of U.S. counterterrorism are threefold: the strategic defeat of al Qaeda and groups affiliated with it, the containment of local conflicts so that they do not breed new enemies, and the preservation of the security of the American people. Drones do not serve all these goals. Although they can protect the American people from attacks in the short term, they are not helping to defeat al Qaeda, and they may be creating sworn enemies out of a sea of local insurgents. It would be a mistake to embrace killer drones as the centerpiece of U.S. counterterrorism.AL QAEDA’s RESILIENCEAt least since 9/11, the United States has sought the end of al Qaeda -- not just to set it back tactically, as drones have surely done, but also to defeat the group completely. Terrorist organizations can meet their demise in a variety of ways, and the killing of their leaders is certainly one of them. Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist separatist group in the Philippines, lost its political focus, split into factions, and became a petty criminal organization after the army killed its leaders in 2006 and 2007. In other cases, however, including those of the Shining Path in Peru and Action Directe in France, the humiliating arrest of a leader has been more effective. By capturing a terrorist leader, countries can avoid creating a martyr, win access to a storehouse of intelligence, and discredit a popular cause.Despite the Obama administration’s recent calls for limits on drone strikes, Washington is still using them to try to defeat al Qaeda by killing off its leadership. But the terrorist groups that have been destroyed through decapitation looked nothing like al Qaeda: they were hierarchically structured, characterized by a cult of personality, and less than ten years old, and they lacked a clear succession plan. Al Qaeda, by contrast, is a resilient, 25-year-old organization with a broad network of outposts. The group was never singularly dependent on Osama bin Laden’s leadership, and it has proved adept at replacing dead operatives.Drones have inflicted real damage on the organization, of course. In Pakistan, the approximately 350 strikes since 2004 have cut the number of core al Qaeda members in the tribal areas by about 75 percent, to roughly 50–100, a powerful answer to the 2001 attacks they planned and orchestrated nearby. As al Qaeda’s center of gravity has shifted away from Pakistan to Yemen and North Africa, drone strikes have followed the terrorists. In September 2011, Michael Vickers, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for intelligence, estimated that there were maybe four key al Qaeda leaders remaining in Pakistan and about ten or 20 leaders overall in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.Drones have also driven down the overall level of violence in the areas they have hit. The political scientists Patrick Johnston and Anoop Sarbahi recently found that drone strikes in northwestern Pakistan from 2007 to 2011 resulted in a decrease in the number and lethality of militant attacks in the tribal areas where they were conducted.Such strikes often lead militants simply to go somewhere else, but that can have value in and of itself. Indeed, the drone threat has forced al Qaeda operatives and their associates to change their behavior, keeping them preoccupied with survival and hindering their ability to move, plan operations, and carry them out. The fighters have proved remarkably adaptable: a document found left behind in February 2013 by Islamist fighters fleeing Mali detailed 22 tips for avoiding drone attacks, including using trees as cover, placing dolls and statues outside to mislead aerial intelligence, and covering vehicles with straw mats. Nonetheless, the prospect of living under the threat of instant death from above has made recruitment more difficult and kept operatives from establishing close ties to local civilians, who fear they might also be killed.But the benefits end there, and there are many reasons to believe that drone strikes are undermining Washington’s goal of destroying al Qaeda. Targeted killings have not thwarted the group’s ability to replace dead leaders with new ones. Nor have they undermined its propaganda efforts or recruitment. Even if al Qaeda has become less lethal and efficient, its public relations campaigns still allow it to reach potential supporters, threaten potential victims, and project strength. If al Qaeda’s ability to perpetuate its message continues, then the killing of its members will not further the long-term goal of ending the group.Not only has al Qaeda’s propaganda continued uninterrupted by the drone strikes; it has been significantly enhanced by them. As Sahab (The Clouds), the propaganda branch of al Qaeda, has been able to attract recruits and resources by broadcasting footage of drone strikes, portraying them as indiscriminate violence against Muslims. Al Qaeda uses the strikes that result in civilian deaths, and even those that don’t, to frame Americans as immoral bullies who care less about ordinary people than al Qaeda does. And As Sahab regularly casts the leaders who are killed by drones as martyrs. It is easy enough to kill an individual terrorist with a drone strike, but the organization’s Internet presence lives on.A more effective way of defeating al Qaeda would be to publicly discredit it with a political strategy aimed at dividing its followers. Al Qaeda and its various affiliates do not together make up a strong, unified organization. Different factions within the movement disagree about both long-term objectives and short-term tactics, including whether it is acceptable to carry out suicide attacks or kill other Muslims. And it is in Muslim-majority countries where jihadist violence has taken its worst toll. Around 85 percent of those killed by al Qaeda’s attacks have been Muslims, a fact that breeds revulsion among its potential followers.The United States should be capitalizing on this backlash. In reality, there is no equivalence between al Qaeda’s violence and U.S. drone strikes -- under the Obama administration, drones have avoided civilians about 86 percent of the time, whereas al Qaeda purposefully targets them. But the foolish secrecy of Washington’s drone program lets critics allege that the strikes are deadlier and less discriminating than they really are. Whatever the truth is, the United States is losing the war of perceptions, a key part of any counterterrorism campaign.Since 2010, moreover, U.S. drone strikes have progressed well beyond decapitation, now targeting al Qaeda leaders and followers alike, as well as a range of Taliban members and Yemeni insurgents. With its so-called signature strikes, Washington often goes after people whose identity it does not know but who appear to be behaving like militants in insurgent-controlled areas. The strikes end up killing enemies of the Pakistani, Somali, and Yemeni militaries who may not threaten the United States at all. Worse, because the targets of such strikes are so loosely defined, it seems inevitable that they will kill some civilians. The June 2011 claim by John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser at the time, that there had not been a single collateral death from drone attacks in the previous year strained credulity -- and badly undermined U.S. credibility.The drone campaign has morphed, in effect, into remote-control repression: the direct application of brute force by a state, rather than an attempt to deal a pivotal blow to a movement. Repression wiped out terrorist groups in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and tsarist Russia, but in each case, it sharply eroded the government’s legitimacy. Repression is costly, not just to the victims, and difficult for democracies to sustain over time. It works best in places where group members can be easily separated from the general population, which is not the case for most targets of U.S. drone strikes. Military repression also often results in violence spreading to neighboring countries or regions, which partially explains the expanding al Qaeda footprint in the Middle East and North Africa, not to mention the Caucasus.KEEPING LOCAL CONFLICTS LOCALShort of defeating al Qaeda altogether, a top strategic objective of U.S. counterterrorism should be to prevent fighters in local conflicts abroad from aligning with the movement and targeting the United States and its allies. Military strategists refer to this goal as “the conservation of enemies,” the attempt to keep the number of adversaries to a minimum.Violent jihadism existed long before 9/11 and will endure long after the U.S. war on terrorism finally ends. The best way for the United States to prevent future acts of international terrorism on its soil is to make sure that local insurgencies remain local, to shore up its allies’ capacities, and to use short-term interventions such as drones rarely, selectively, transparently, and only against those who can realistically target the United States.The problem is that the United States can conceivably justify an attack on any individual or group with some plausible link to al Qaeda. Washington would like to disrupt any potentially powerful militant network, but it risks turning relatively harmless local jihadist groups into stronger organizations with eager new recruits. If al Qaeda is indeed becoming a vast collective of local and regional insurgents, the United States should let those directly involved in the conflicts determine the outcome, keep itself out, provide resources only to offset funds provided to radical factions, and concentrate on protecting the homeland.Following 9/11, the U.S. war on terrorism was framed in the congressional authorization to use force as a response to “those nations, organizations, or persons” responsible for the attacks. The name “al Qaeda,” which does not appear in the authorization, has since become an ill-defined shorthand, loosely employed by terrorist leaders, counterterrorism officials, and Western pundits alike to describe a shifting movement. The vagueness of the U.S. terminology at the time was partly deliberate: the authorization was worded to sidestep the long-standing problem of terrorist groups’ changing their names to evade U.S. sanctions. But Washington now finds itself in a permanent battle with an amorphous and geographically dispersed foe, one with an increasingly marginal connection to the original 9/11 plotters. In this endless contest, the United States risks multiplying its enemies and heightening their incentives to attack the country.It is precisely because al Qaeda is a shifting adversary that drones have proved so tempting. Globalization has given terrorists potential worldwide reach, and Washington wants to destroy new elements in these networks before they can plan attacks. U.S. policymakers apparently believe that killing fighters before they target the American homeland beats invading another country in the aftermath of an attack. Al Qaeda–associated operatives have been trying to take advantage of unstable situations in Libya, Mali, Yemen, and, especially, Syria. Using drone strikes may allow Washington to keep jihadists from tipping the balance in sensitive places.U.S. officials also claim that drone strikes have prevented or preempted numerous specific terrorist attacks that would have resulted in American casualties. These claims are hard to verify, but they are intuitive enough. Consider the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the source of several attempted attacks against the United States. In 2009, the effort of a would-be terrorist to ignite a bomb hidden in his underwear on a plane on Christmas Day was connected to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as was an October 2010 attempt to blow up bombs hidden in printer cartridges aboard two U.S. cargo planes. The drone campaign in Yemen directly responded to these dangers and has reduced the likelihood of similar dangers manifesting themselves in the future.But other threats to the U.S. homeland have actually been sparked by outrage over the drone campaign. Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, tried to bomb Times Square in May 2010 by loading a car with explosives. A married financial analyst, Shahzad was an unlikely terrorist. When he pleaded guilty, however, he cited his anger about U.S. policies toward Muslim countries, especially drone strikes in his native Pakistan.Indeed, the situation in Pakistan demonstrates that drone attacks exact a clear price in growing animus toward the United States. According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, only 17 percent of Pakistani respondents to a 2012 poll approved of American drone strikes against the leaders of extremist groups, even if they were jointly conducted with the government of Pakistan. Pakistanis aren’t the only disapproving ones: the vast majority of people polled internationally in 2012 indicated strong opposition to the U.S. drone campaign. The opposition was strongest in Muslim-majority countries, including traditional U.S. allies, such as Turkey (81 percent against), Jordan (85 percent against), and Egypt (89 percent against).Europeans are almost as unhappy: of those polled in a 2012 Pew survey, 51 percent of Poles, 59 percent of Germans, 63 percent of French, 76 percent of Spanish, and a full 90 percent of Greeks noted their disapproval of U.S. drone strikes. The only publics that even approach the positive attitudes of the United States -- where 70 percent of respondents to a recent New York Times poll approved of drones and 20 percent disapproved -- are in India and the United Kingdom, where public opinion is more or less evenly divided. Washington insiders commonly contend that these popular attitudes don’t matter, since government officials in all these countries privately envy American capabilities. But no counterterrorism strategy can succeed over time without public support.That is because a crucial element in the success of U.S. counterterrorism has been close collaboration with allies on issues of terrorist financing, the extradition of terrorist suspects, and, most important, the sharing of vital intelligence. Obama ran for office in 2008 on the promise that he would restore the United States’ reputation abroad. But his administration’s unilateralism and lack of transparency on targeted killings are undermining the connections that were painstakingly built over the past decade, particularly with Pakistan and Yemen. This decreases the likelihood that allies will cooperate with Washington and increases the chances of terrorist attacks against Americans.Of course, if drones actually stop another major attack along the lines of 9/11, they might be worth all the international opprobrium. But for the moment, the only sure thing Washington is doing is driving down international support for the United States and alienating local populations. All this in pursuit of preventing what is almost impossible to stop: a small cell of determined jihadists trying to carry out a minor attack on U.S. soil. That much was made clear by the tragic Boston Marathon bombings in April.The long-term effect of drone strikes may be that the al Qaeda threat continues to metastasize. An alphabet soup of groups with long-standing local grievances now claim some connection to al Qaeda, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda in Iraq, al Shabab (in Somalia), and Boko Haram (in Nigeria). This diversification should come as no surprise. The spread of terrorist groups has historically resulted from campaigns of decapitation and repression. Russia’s assassinations of Chechen leaders between 2002 and 2006, for example, changed the conflict in Chechnya from a separatist insurgency to a broader radical movement in the Caucasus. The Russians killed virtually every major Chechen leader, pummeled Grozny to rubble, and brought Chechnya firmly under Russian control. In that sense, the campaign worked. But violence spread to the nearby regions of Dagestan, Ingushetia, and North Ossetia. Those who argue that the United States should stay the course with drones tend to be the same people who warn that the al Qaeda threat is spreading throughout the Middle East and North Africa. They need to consider whether drone strikes are contributing to this dynamic.For the moment, there is no conclusive evidence that can prove whether drone strikes create more enemies than they kill. Some academics, including the Pakistan scholar C. Christine Fair and Christopher Swift, who has studied Yemen, argue that no widespread blowback against the United States can yet be detected. They argue that many locals grudgingly support drones and recognize their utility in beating back al Qaeda. Others, however, including the Yemen scholar Gregory Johnsen, warn of a simmering resentment that is driving recruits to al Qaeda. Much of the evidence is highly contested, and the sample sizes used tend to be small and biased toward local officials and educated professionals, who are the easiest to interview but the least likely to become terrorists.In short, the picture is mixed: drones are killing operatives who aspire to attack the United States today or tomorrow. But they are also increasing the likelihood of attacks over the long term, by embittering locals and cultivating a desire for vengeance.HOMELAND INSECURITYDespite the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington still wants to take the fight to the enemy -- it just wants to do so on the cheap. This makes drones and special operations forces the preferred instruments of U.S. hard power for the moment. Protecting Americans from terrorism may require early action, even preemption, and early action means striking before knowing for certain that a threat is imminent.Given the shocking nature of terrorist attacks, U.S. counterterrorism policy depends not just on objective measures of effectiveness but also on public opinion. And the American public demands zero risk, especially of a terrorist attack at home. In this sense, drone strikes offer the ideal, poll-tested counterterrorism policy: cheap, apparently effective, and far away.At first glance, the U.S. government is coming close to meeting that demand: by virtually every quantifiable measure, Americans today are remarkably safe. In the decade following 9/11, the number of people who died in terrorist attacks in the United States plummeted to the lowest since such statistics began to be collected in 1970. The drop owes to both increased public vigilance and heightened defenses at home, but also to U.S. counterterrorism policy abroad, including targeted drone attacks. It is impossible to determine exactly what contribution drones have made to the outcome, but senior U.S. officials have every reason to believe that what they are doing is working.The near-miss terrorist attacks of the last several years, however, have had widespread effects even in failure. In May 2010, a CNN poll indicated that American fears of a terrorist attack had returned to 2002 levels. Fifty-five percent of those questioned said that an act of terrorism on U.S. soil was likely in the next few weeks, a 21 percent surge from August 2009. That effect has persisted: a 2011 Pew poll indicated that 61 percent of Americans felt that the ability of terrorists to launch another major attack on U.S. soil was the same or greater than in 2001. And a Pew poll in the wake of the Boston bombings showed that 75 percent of Americans now believe that occasional acts of terrorism will persist on U.S. soil, up from 64 percent last year.In this environment, it is understandable that Americans and the politicians they elect are drawn to drone strikes. But as with the fight against al Qaeda and the conservation of enemies, drones are undermining U.S. strategic goals as much as they are advancing them. For starters, devoting a large percentage of U.S. military and intelligence resources to the drone campaign carries an opportunity cost. The U.S. Air Force trained 350 drone pilots in 2011, compared with only 250 conventional fighter and bomber pilots trained that year. There are 16 drone operating and training sites across the United States, and a 17th is being planned. There are also 12 U.S. drone bases stationed abroad, often in politically sensitive areas. In an era of austerity, spending more time and money on drones means spending less on other capabilities -- and drones are not well suited for certain emerging threats.Very easy to shoot down, drones require clear airspace in which to operate and would be nearly useless against enemies such as Iran or North Korea. They also rely on cyber-connections that are increasingly vulnerable. Take into account their high crash rates and extensive maintenance requirements, and drones start to look not much more cost effective than conventional aircraft.Another main problem with Washington’s overreliance on drones is that it destroys valuable evidence that could make U.S. counterterrorism smarter and more effective. Whenever the United States kills a suspected terrorist, it loses the chance to find out what he was planning, how, and with whom -- or whether he was even a terrorist to begin with. Drone attacks eliminate the possibility of arresting and interrogating those whom they target, precluding one of the most effective means of undermining a terrorist group.It is worth noting that the most dramatic recent decapitation of a terrorist organization -- the killing of bin Laden -- was performed by humans, not drones. As a result, the most important outcome of the operation was not the death of bin Laden himself but the treasure trove of intelligence it yielded. Drones do not capture hard drives, organizational charts, strategic plans, or secret correspondence, and their tactical effectiveness is entirely dependent on the caliber of human intelligence on the ground. And if the unpopularity of drones makes it harder to persuade locals to work with U.S. intelligence services, then Washington will have less access to the kind of intelligence it needs for effective targeting. Yes, killing would-be terrorists saves American lives. But so does interrogating them, and drone strikes make that impossible.Finally, the drone campaign presents a fundamental challenge to U.S. national security law, as evidenced by the controversial killing of four American citizens in attacks in Yemen and Pakistan. The president’s authority to protect the United States does not supersede an individual’s constitutional protections. All American citizens have a right to due process, and it is particularly worrisome that a secret review of evidence by the U.S. Department of Justice has been deemed adequate to the purpose. The president has gotten personally involved in putting together kill lists that can include Americans -- a situation that is not only legally dubious but also strategically unwise.PASS THE REMOTEThe sometimes contradictory demands of the American people -- perfect security at home without burdensome military engagements abroad -- have fueled the technology-driven, tactical approach of drone warfare. But it is never wise to let either gadgets or fear determine strategy.There is nothing inherently wrong with replacing human pilots with remote-control operators or substituting highly selective aircraft for standoff missiles (which are launched from a great distance) and unguided bombs. Fewer innocent civilians may be killed as a result. The problem is that the guidelines for how Washington uses drones have fallen well behind the ease with which the United States relies on them, allowing short-term advantages to overshadow long-term risks.Drone strikes must be legally justified, transparent, and rare. Washington needs to better establish and follow a publicly explained legal and moral framework for the use of drones, making sure that they are part of a long-term political strategy that undermines the enemies of the United States. With the boundaries for drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen still unclear, the United States risks encouraging competitors such as China, Iran, and Russia to label their own enemies as terrorists and go after them across borders. If that happens -- if counterterrorism by drone strikes ends up leading to globally destabilizing interstate wars -- then al Qaeda will be the least of the United States’ worries.

Link to comment
  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
The Air Force's Drone Base in a Box from Foreign Policy by John Reedpredatorlanding.jpgDrone bases, they can pop up anywhere nowadays. The U.S. Air Force's special operations command now has mini bases for drones that can be packed in a cargo plane and transported anywhere in the world, launching unmanned missions within four-hours of arrival at their destination.A typical base includes two partially dismantled MQ-1 Predator drones, plus the Hellfire missiles and fuel the planes need to fly and shoot. The base also has two tents: one to shelter the drones and another to house the bank of computers that serves as the drones' cockpit. (That second tent also comes with a bit of extremely Spartan living space for the crews and aircraft mechanics.) All told, 18 cargo pallets and 32 people constitute the base in a box that Brig. Gen. Albert "Buck" Elton, Air Force Special Operations Command's (AFSOC) chief of requirements, described as a "rapid reaction fleet.""After we unload this capability wherever we're at, four hours later we have a flying, armed [drone]," said Elton during a speech at the Air Force Association's annual conference just outside of Washington. And that gives special operators the "speed so that we can respond to certain crises."Drones have, of course, become a central component to U.S. military operations worldwide. But they're especially important on missions to hunt and kill militants in remote corners of the world. That's when the drones' ability to conduct 24/7 surveillance and to strike from a distance come in especially handy.Hence the base-in-a-box. The command has deployed the tiny bases twice since 2012, according to Elton, who showed a picture one of the aircraft taxiing along a plywood ramp at an undisclosed "international airport" in a dusty corner of the world."I won't get into specifics on where we went, but we had something happen and we needed ISR so we launched on very short notice and we set up in another country to support an operation there," said Elton, describing a six week-long deployment for the drones.AFSOC provides the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones used by the U.S. special operations community.While the command only has the ability today to deploy its MQ-1 Predators in a hurry, it is trying to develop a way to pack up its fleet of larger MQ-9 Reapers in "the next couple of years," Elton said.This comes as AFSOC is working to station its fleet of several dozen small, civilian-looking propeller planes at remote airstrips in every corner of the globe."We've got aircraft that, for the most part, stay forward and we rotate through our crews and maintainers," said Elton.These planes, often painted in civilian-looking livery, are used to move U.S. military and intelligence operatives to small airports around the developing world without attracting the attention that would come with the arrival of a large U.S. Air Force cargo plane.AFSOC uses twin-engine, Dornier 328 propeller planes to get operatives to little regional airfields across a place like Africa, for example. It then uses even smaller M-28 Skytrucks to bring operators to places in the countryside that don't have real airports, often landing on small dirt strips or clearings in the brush. Think of it as a hub and spoke system for spies and special operators."Some of the little ones, like the M-28 go about 120 knots, so it takes a couple of weeks to get them forward where the need to go," said Elton after his speech. "We swap them out for heavy maintenance when we need, but for the most part they go forward and stay there for 80 to 90 to 270 days and we'll swap ‘em out and bring them back.""Being forward based has certain advantages," said Elrod who pointed out that the little planes are located in "nodes in every geographic combatant command," a referral to the term the U.S. military uses to describe how it divvies up regions of the globe among its battlefield commanders.AFSOC, along with the rest of the U.S. special operations community, is focusing on growing its permanent overseas presence.Special Operations Command commander Adm. William McCraven's "vision through SOCOM is to push more to the theaters so we can do more, more staffs, more people, more capability on a rotational as well as a forward presence," said Elton. "We're looking at putting more aircraft in Europe and the Pacific."Including, apparently, some drones on very short notice.
Link to comment
  • 9 months later...

Drones vs. Granny 1:0


Grandma repeatedly protested drones at base, now faces a year in jail
Protests reportedly peaceful; judge won't let her "thumb her nose at the law once again."

by Nathan Mattise - July 13 2014, 8:00pm CEST


Mary Anne Grady-Flores, a 58-year-old Ithaca, NY grandmother of three, faces a one-year county jail sentence after being charged with second-degree criminal contempt. The punishment comes after her repeated participation in peaceful anti-drone protests at the Hancock Air Base in DeWitt, NY (located in Central New York near Syracuse).


Link to comment

Neki dan su me silno nasmejale dve ptice koje ovde zovemo galah (neka vrsta papagaja). U parkicu se neki tip igrao sa avionom na daljinsko upravljanje (leteo je krugove od 100-tinak metara oko sebe). Kad su krenule ove 2 ptice da se fajtaju sa avionom! Nisu uspele da ga stignu, brz onaj mali zujavac. Ali su ga dobro "proganjale" par minuta.  

Link to comment

Neki dan su me silno nasmejale dve ptice koje ovde zovemo galah (neka vrsta papagaja). U parkicu se neki tip igrao sa avionom na daljinsko upravljanje (leteo je krugove od 100-tinak metara oko sebe). Kad su krenule ove 2 ptice da se fajtaju sa avionom! Nisu uspele da ga stignu, brz onaj mali zujavac. Ali su ga dobro "proganjale" par minuta.  






Meni je ovo super. Kako bih smarao ptice sa tim chudom!


Edited by Agni
Link to comment

Igrali se malo danas....RdsM0yw.jpg

 drugar ima nešto slično,ne razumem se najbolje,verovatno nije slično tome ali je tako nešto :D

i gopro nakačen na njega i displej kod sebe da vidi šta snima,jako dobro zezanje..


evo npr


Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...