High Tech Drones: The perception and capability of the finest artificial intelligence combined with satellite visual links saving thousands of military lives.©Natalie Keshing
NBC News Dateline goes on assignment, S1/Ep04, 05/29/16: KeepingUInformed with Natalie Keshing.
“You feel like you’re in the airplane, flying a mission, and you’re there.”
“With one key difference, you’re not.”
A hundred years ago, looking into the future of today, you would probably say this is true science fiction. Never mind the Twilight Zone and all the coverage of space stations encountering a potential enemy, an alien from another galaxy and planet. The enemy here, is just on the other side of the globe. Drones have arrived with fierce capability and as deadly as F16’s carrying the missiles to destroy the exact target in a matter of seconds with more efficiency and precision.©Natalie Keshing
The main difference is that the fighting pilots don’t have to come into harms way. The man or woman at the controls panel are systematically controlling the deadly drones and doing their jobs. These men and women carrying out their orders with the execution of precision to do their job. They are our heroes in the beginning of a futuristic society furthering our capabilities well into the next century. Exciting times and not without drawbacks.©Natalie Keshing
Richard Engel, NBC News Reporter is in the desert outside Las Vegas, where the top secret war on terror is really being waged. Drones are targeting terrorists with deadly efficiency and precision. Now ISIS is on their path to break this terrorizing extremists group apart. There is no NATO influence, no sanctions to put ISIS under pressure. No sanity of common sense imposed by ideals to communicate with and find a solution and stop the terrorizing bombings on soft target people around the world.©Natalie Keshing
It’s war by remote control. The US army has said it’s drone warfare program has saved American lives, by hitting countless terrorists targets. Just this past week the leader of the Taliban was struck and killed in Pakistan. Richard Engel, news reporter was sitting as a passenger with the drone pilot who is about to engage in war, fighting ISIS from a United States location. He asks the pilot, “Does it feel like you’re going to war?”
“We do go to war everyday.”
Will, is a US Air force Captain at Creech US Air force base. The epicenter of President Obama’s secretive military drone operations. Will, trains 2500 other air men at this location. They control drones launched thousands of miles away, over seas, flying them 24/7, in shifts; by satellite link.
“When I’m flying a mission, I am for all intense and purposes there, fighting the war. You’re so involved in what’s going on, that you feel like you’re in the airplane flying the mission, you’re there, with one key difference, you’re not.”
“Using high powered drone cameras, and electronics tens of thousands of feet aloft. Operators often keep watch over US troops on the battle field. We’ve asked the pilot of a predator drone flying above us right now, to zoom in on me, so we can get a sense of the resolution, and it is pretty clear. But there other capabilities, that government agencies don’t want to reveal like the ability to recognize voices, faces, or even someone’s individual gait. All from thousands of feet above. Drone operators also gather intelligence, sometimes spying on terror suspects for weeks, or months, getting to know intimate details of their lives, before killing them with an exotic array of on board bombs and missiles. We were talked through drone videos declassified of successful strikes on ISIS. You can make out a moving white dot on the screen, that’s a missile following drones laser beam right into the window. The reporter noting a particular advanced move of the missile through the satellite screen demonstrating the missile going into an arc curve; then exploding. Another drone strikes another hidden ISIS mortar position, the weapon leaving most of the building in tact. A third clip shows a drone strike on a moving ISIS vehicle. The occupants obliterated.”
“We’re saving people or helping our troops on the ground. When would I ever feel bad about taking care of our guys.” said Will.
It’s a commuter war. Pilots get in the car go to area of national security control centers, wage war and hit their targets with extreme precision. After eight hours, not a normal day in the office, they go home to their families and continue with normal life.
The Commander of Creech Air Force Base, distinguished combat fighter pilot Colonel Cunningham: “Drones are decisive weapons, key to US military dominance. “There is no one in our air force that is more deliberately engaged against those that would do us harm then the men and women of this community. I think it would be fair to say the American tradition is not work towards a fair fight. So I will never apologize that we are not in a fair fight.”
Peter Singer, a senior fellow with the new America think tank and a leading drone expert, “Drones are now part and parcel of war.” In the eight years of President Obama’s term in office, drones have changed the way America wages war. “You’re telling the story of American foreign policy of this period. Obama is the President that takes drones as being seeing as abnormal to the new normal of national security policy.”
One of the architects of this national security policy is John Brennan, Director of the CIA. “I take great pride in being part of a national security team that has done some great things to protect this country.”
The drone revolution can be traced back to this moment when a CIA drone picked up a figure in white, believed to be Osama Binladen, no one took a shot, because back then drones weren’t armed. That was a year before 9/11. Soon drones went from intelligence gathering to killing. Peter Singer said, “Counter terrorism professionals always would prefer to capture individuals and devices they might have with them. Taking kinetic action against the target or individual is usually a last resort.”
Peter Singer said “I’m sure they prefer to, if both were equally riskless, the reality is there not. So we have consistently chosen kill rather than capture.” With no American troops at risk, under President Obama drone strikes surge sharply. The main target were the September 11 plotters. John Brennan, Director of CIA, said, “Al Qaeda organization, as it existed then, was very methodically dismantled with this capability.”
NBC has obtained a top secret list of 285 terrorists targets, President Obama’s so called kill list, of all the names about half our gone, including seven potential successors to Al Qaeda leader Osama Binladen, all seven killed by drones. “The organization has been hallowed out in many respects.” said John Brennan. It’s because drones are so effective that we use them more than we should critics say.
There are among a dozen former and current air force and CIA operators and technicians speaking out against drones. There here with their lawyer because they fear prosecution for breaches of security as they describe the US drone use as immoral. Here are their testimonials regarding the use of drones.
He, “Being able to press a button from the opposite side of world and kill another human being or multiple human beings at once is way to easy. It is the skill set that you use for video games is the exact same skill set that you have when operating a drone.”
She, “I actually deployed overseas and the drone program for me was worse. I lost a piece of my humanity.”
Different He: “I supported 2,400 close air support missions and 200 plus enemy kills. I asked to see the civilian casualties and nobody would give that to me.”
He, “I killed thirteen people directly with missiles, three of them were enemy combatants. The other ten people, I don’t know who they were.”
Well a critic would say, what did you think you were going to do, you were in the air force. Your in a military organization that fires from afar.
He, “Ok, integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do. If we don’t have integrity in what were doing then what’s the point. There’s no honor in drone welfare.”
Colonel Cunningham said, “This fight is above honor, I think it is without reproach. It is so far from a video game, it is laughable, honestly when that comparison gets used. War is an ugly thing. I can guarantee you that every effort is made to make sure civilians are not being injured on the ground.”
International human rights organizations say hundreds of civilian have been killed overseas, including children. Criticism that has forced the President to defend his use of drones.
President Obama said, “There is no doubt that innocent people have been killed by drone strikes. It is not true that it has been this sort of willy nilly let’s bomb a village, that is not how these folks have operated. He went on to say the rate of civilian casualties from drones is far lower than a conventional war.”
Richard Engel, Reporter, “There is an enormous discrepancy over the number of civilian casualties. Who’s right and why such an enormous gap?” Peter Singer replied, “You have this kind of two poles of argument and the reality is probably somewhere in between, and much of it turns on how people are defining civilian verses combatant.” Peter Singer said, “Those murky definitions contribute to an overall lack of transparency. That’s especially true of the CIA, which unlike the air force, can carry out covert operations never publicly acknowledged, including so called signature strikes, where a person is not known to be a terrorist is killed because he behaves like a terrorist, or what’s called a double tap. You strike the target, people gather around, and you strike the target again.
Peter Singer said, “It’s that dark hidden side of drone warfare that does critical potentially long term damage to the US. It’s in a huge amount of push back when it comes to anger at America, public attitudes across the Muslim world and worse, it has also been effective in inspiring other people to join terrorists groups.”
CIA Director John Brennan insists, “The US is safer now than fifteen years ago, but acknowledges the number of terrorists has grown. “What we still see is that this very strong anti western, anti US dimension of these terrorists groups continues to propagate in a number of areas.”
President Obama said, “For the same progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power or risk abusing it.
Three years ago, the President pledged more transparency and oversight over US drone warfare programs. Peter Singer said, “One example would be moving the operations over from the covert intelligence community world to the military site.” But so far he said there is no sign CIA operations are under military control. “Not happened”, said Peter Singer. Meanwhile as the President prepares to leave office the power of US drones has been seen by the world. They are now being developed and flown by 86 countries.
Asked by Richard Engel, Reporter: “What happens to the United States when our enemies have these as well and know how to use them.”
Colonel Cunningham said, “Then we will adapt we won’t rest on our laurels and wait for our adversaries to catch up.”
Richard Engel asked CIA Director Brennam, “The drones are part of President Obama’s legacy and are a part of your legacy.”
CIA Director Brennan, “It is very very difficult to make decisions that result in the loss of life. When I see the extent of evil and the number of individuals who wantingly murder innocence the obligation of government, is to do what it needs to do, in order to protect it’s citizens from that type of violence.”
There is no doubt in our minds that drones have done there job well. CIA Director Brennan pointed out military covert operations have been able to hollow out the worst and evil in these terrorist groups that have continually threatened the lives of innocent people. No sane person wants to go to war. Times have changed and this is a very different war. Terrorists have the capability to be mobile and carry out their lethal bombings on soft targets anywhere. A congregation of people gathered in a public place enjoying their life, innocently not aware of the danger as in Paris, Brussels, Iraq, Pakistan, Asia, UK, Spain, etc. ISIS is manipulating, coercing, and recruiting those to join them on behalf of evil and destruction.©Natalie Keshing
The United States brinkmanship has combined sophisticated artificial intelligence with the use of high tech satellites giving the CIA and the US Air Force the capability to perform their jobs with extreme precision and safety. ISIS remains a persistent pervasive threat with their ubiquitous mobile capability to continue to threaten the safety of people throughout this world. It seems very clear, we have no other choice but, to continue to fight this war with ISIS.©Natalie Keshing
The one potentially dangerous drawback and question, is what happens to the United States when our adversaries have this capability and know how to use them? I can guarantee you that at this point there are engineer’s, scientists, and CIA intelligence officials that are working on this projected potential threat. Intercepting adversaries drones who come into our radar of safety and threaten our lives. Perhaps a sophisticated aerial intelligence net, sophisticated enough to detect within 100 feet or less, of this country’s borders. Implementation of detecting another drone is already used monitoring the safety of the White House and the President. As Colonel Cunningham said, “We won’t rest on our laurels and wait for our adversaries to catch up.”©Natalie Keshing
But before all this sophisticated intelligence comes into play there are commercial type drones that have already shown and demonstrated by a citizen of the United States attached a firing weapon to a drone demonstrating the weapon continually firing. These kinds of individuals have to be monitored closely; a background check may not suffice. Drone rules, regulations, and policies have to be implemented to prevent dangerous use of their potential.©Natalie Keshing
For some, who have had the experience in real life and in real-time as an operator technician or a US Air Force pilot to control and fire a missile from a drone, I wish them the best. I understand that they have real feelings and their conscience cannot allow them to continue to do a job that comes with enormous responsibility and intention to destroy the enemy.©Natalie Keshing
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©Natalie Keshing, Editor-in-Chief, natswritings.com or nataliekeshing.com
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