Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

The leader of the Taliban in Pakistan has been killed by a missile fired from a U.S. drone. Probably the most significant success story of the Predator drone program since it began years ago, this significant capability is now likely to grow – in ways intended and also in ways not intended.  The Predator is not the only remote controlled aircraft the U.S. operates; however, it seems to get the most publicity.  Originally intended as a spy platform, the needs of war spurred its use as a weapons platform.  Able to be piloted from remote locations in the U.S., and able to carry a certain amount of missiles and who knows what else, the Predator has suddenly joined the ranks of America’s most lethal and most feared weapon systems.

You know what this means.  This is the beginning of a new type of warfare, warfare by remote-controlled robotic systems, some of which fly, but certainly others could be built for water use – floating or submerged – and others could be built for use on land.  It’s really just a matter of imagination and mission requirements.  In years to come, the Predator will look as old-fashioned and frail as the Wright brothers plane that flew at Kitty Hawk.  It’s easy to imagine upgrades for the Predator. How about a high speed jet version?  How about a stealth version?  How about a heavier version capable of carrying bombs – lot’s of them?  How about fleets of these aircraft operating in the dark skies over enemy lands – all controlled by operators trained more in video games that in piloting skills?  Why not go further and simply have them controlled by computer programs and GPS systems – wouldn’t they be more accurate than human pilots anyway?

Perhaps though, our friends at the Air Force and the CIA have misnamed their little plane. While “Predator” is a fearful name and does call to mind birds of prey like the hawk or the eagle, I wonder if a better name would have been “Pandora”?  How long will it take other countries to begin development of their own remotely controlled aircraft that have similar capabilities?  In fact, isn’t it more than likely, given the success of the Predators, that several countries are well on their way to developing such capabilities? Of course – we are not the only ones with creative minds.

Are we about to enter an age of pilotless, stealthy, attack vehicles?  Yes, we are, because it doesn’t take a great mind to envision the next step, and it is really the obvious thing to do.  Imagine aircraft capable of flying very fast, maybe supersonic,  and very low that have the latest stealth technology.  Imagine them capable of carrying very powerful weapons – maybe even nuclear weapons.  Isn’t that the next logical step?  Imagine having a fleet of such aircraft where you don’t have to worry about pilot safety and you can take whatever chances are needed because the pilots (assuming they are human – but even if they are not, come to think of it) are safely tucked away under a mountain somewhere in the American west.  Doesn’t it make you feel safer? Sure, unless you think our potential adversaries have them too. Then what we do? Ah! The game starts all over again then, doesn’t it? A defense contractor’s delight! Unending contracts, billions, maybe trillions spent on a whole new class of weapons!  A game changer!

Meanwhile, somewhere in the hills between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Osama bin Laden or his successor (in case Osama has already been taken out by a missile fired by a Predator) is sitting quietly in his cave and thinking, “I have to get me one of those”.

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About two weeks ago, the USS George H.W. Bush was commissioned at the Norfolk Naval Station.  Construction on the ship began about eight years ago by Northrop Grumman and cost about $6,200,000,000.  She’s the last of the Nimitz class, nuclear powered, supercarriers, built out of the desire to keep us safe from the Russians.   According to Northrop Grumman, this ship will now pave the way for a whole new class of aircraft carriers, just in case, as Sarah Palin so succinctly and convincingly stated, “As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go?”  Indeed, where do they go? Thus our need for a whole new generation of hyper-super aircraft carriers.  It’s like John McCain said after Russian troops invaded Georgia to protect ethnic Russians from persecution in South Ossetia, “We are all Georgians”.  Indeed.  Anchors Aweigh!

Meanwhile, having concluded that there weren’t any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after all (other than the U.S. military itself) let us turn our attention to that irritating issue of Osama bin Laden and his Taliban buddies, hiding out in the hills of Pakistan for these past eight years.  It seems that our occasional potshots, taken by remote controlled Predator aircraft, are upsetting our staunch allies, the Pakistan government. On the other hand, would sending in the USS GHW Bush really make sense in this case? I mean, what do the Pakistanis expect us to do, send in the 10th Mountain Division?  What a silly idea.  How could we possibly find Al Qaeda with specially trained mountain soldiers? It’s like Sarah said, “Where do they go?”

Wait a minute, I just found out that one of the Division’s soldiers once famously said, “We don’t do mountains”.  Oh…. Really? No, they don’t.  But aren’t they called the… Never mind.

Today, Pope Benedict hammered Barack Obama for supporting abortion rights.  This comes a day after the Pope reinstated a Roman Catholic Bishop who had been excommunicated.  It seems that the Bishop, Richard Williamson of Britain, claims that Hitler never gassed the Jews, and denied the Holocaust ever happened.  It’s good to know the Pope has his ethical priorities straight.

Meanwhile, as the U.S. faces a rapidly crumbling economy and refuses to give credence to the extremely dire predictions of leading economists like Paul Krugman and Nouriel Roubini.  President Obama is putting forth a stimulus plan that costs about $825 billion – about 3% of our gross domestic product. Meanwhile the Chinese are allocating about 14% of their gross domestic product for a stimulus package in their country.

So what does this all mean?  I have no idea.  Anyway, I think I’ll go out and get an ice cream cone because my car needs an oil change.  Then maybe I’ll head over to Starbucks and get a cup of coffee and just think for a while about something Sarah said that is still really bothering me: Where do they go? Indeed.

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