Murder, American Style
Outpost of Freedom
December 23, 2002
In the effort to make war harmless (at least, to the US soldier), the arsenal of offensive weapons has expanded to something you might have seen in a science-fiction movie, just a decade ago. An aircraft which flies without any on-board humans which has color vision, night vision and radar capabilities, each with phenomenal magnification enhancement.
Today, December 23, 2002, an Armed Forces press release begins with:
“WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2002 – An American Predator unmanned aerial vehicle was "assumed lost" today over southern Iraq, U.S. Central Command officials said.”
“A CENTCOM news release says the reconnaissance drone was reported missing after being fired upon by Iraqi military aircraft.”
Interestingly, this is the first “Predator” admittedly shot down by hostile fire. But, later in the morning, in a press conference, General Richard Myers, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, in response to a question:
“Q: General Myers, do you see today's action by an Iraqi aircraft to shoot down this drone, penetrating the southern no-fly zone, as an escalation of things we've been seeing in the no-fly zone with the recent firings?”
“Myers: Brett, I don't. They have -- I think we've lost two other Predators, I believe, to hostile fire in southern Iraq. They've been attempting -- they attempt to shoot down all our aircraft that fly over southern and northern Iraq in support of the U.N. Security Council resolutions. And they got a lucky shot today and they brought down the Predator. But I don't see -- I do not see it as an escalation. It's been something they've been doing for literally the last couple of years.”
So, now we have acknowledgement of three Predators shot down by hostile fire.
Recent reports indicated that we were bombing the heck out of Southern Iraq, destroying all of their anti-aircraft capabilities. Daily sorties have been reported for most of the past few weeks. This is the first discussion of Iraqi aircraft flying in the “forbidden Zone”. It makes one wonder what the truth really is.
Ironically, this report (admission) follows on the heels of Washington Post article (Casualties of an "Undeclared War", By Peter Baker, Sunday, December 22, 2002 – http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A23834-2002Dec21?) which details the casualties, targets and other aspects of the apparently unsuccessful effort of the US government to control the airspace.
Is the purpose of the admission to detract from the building concern over both the effect and damage caused by the UN No-Fly program? Surely, an attack on an American aircraft, even an un-manned one, would provide a feeble justification for the continuance of these deadly activities.
I’m sure that the admission was a difficult choice. After all, during recent Iraq and the more extensive Afghanistan operations, every time a Predator has gone down, it is suggested, at least preliminarily, that the failure of the aircraft was a result of mechanical problems. It is much more palatable to admit an occasional loss of $25 million as a result of mechanical failure than to admit its susceptibility to ground, or even air-fire. After all, the immunity from loss – the image that they are trying to project – must extend not only to personnel but to equipment, as well.
But, we can expect a continuation of the utilization of the Predator. Its first “really successful mission” was the assassination of six ‘suspected’ Al Qaida members in Yemen. The November 5, 2002 “remote murder” was another example of “Murder, American Style”, and we will surely have more of this in the future.
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