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Sunday, January 31, 2010
Robots Will Soon Do All Our Killing for Us | | AlterNet
"January 25, 2010 | LIKE THIS ARTICLE ? Join our mailing list: Sign up to stay up to date on the latest headlines via email. Advertisement One moment there was the hum of a motor in the sky above. The next, on a recent morning in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, a missile blasted a home, killing 13 people. Days later, the same increasingly familiar mechanical whine preceded a two-missile salvo that slammed into a compound in Degan village in the tribal North Waziristan district of Pakistan, killing three. What were once unacknowledged, relatively infrequent targeted killings of suspected militants or terrorists in the Bush years have become commonplace under the Obama administration. And since a devastating December 30th suicide attack by a Jordanian double agent on a CIA forward operating base in Afghanistan, unmanned aerial drones have been hunting humans in the Af-Pak war zone at a record pace. In Pakistan, an “unprecedented number” of strikes -- which have killed armed guerrillas and civilians alike -- have led to more fear, anger, and outrage in the tribal areas, as the CIA, with help from the U.S. Air Force, wages the most public “secret” war of modern times. In neighboring Afghanistan, unmanned aircraft, for years in short supply and tasked primarily with surveillance missions, have increasingly been used to assassinate suspected militants as part of an aerial surge that has significantly outpaced the highly publicized “surge” of ground forces now underway. And yet, unprecedented as it may be in size and scope, the present ramping up of the drone war is only the opening salvo in a planned 40-year Pentagon surge to create fleets of ultra-advanced, heavily-armed, increasingly autonomous, all-seeing, hypersonic unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Today’s Surge Drones are the hot weapons of the moment and the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review -- a soon-to-be-released four-year outline of Department of Defense strategies, capabilities, and priorities to fight current wars and counter future