Monday, February 04, 2013

Drones: "most brutal weapons of all"

It was announced on Friday that Germany is about to acquire armed drones.
From the full Associated Press report HERE
Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Friday that Germany would work with France to develop a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

"We have a gap in our capabilities that we would like to close," he said.

Germany already has unarmed drones, including the Israeli-built Heron 1 model, which it uses for reconnaissance purposes in places such as Afghanistan. Officials said Germany might consider purchasing an armed version of the Heron 1 for use after 2014, to bridge the gap until 2020 when the system being developed with France becomes available.
(Photograph from RP Defense blog)

I had been labouring under the mistaken idea that Germany would nevermore have the option to become fully militarised, after having been instrumental in lighting the blue touchpaper for two horrendously devastating world wars within a ridiculously short time span 1914-1918, 1939-1945. Some generations had the misfortune of living through both bloodbaths. I'm not sure where I got the idea in the first place - probably kidding myself. Wikipedia has a page outlining the real situation.

It doesn't take an over-active imagination to see where a potential drone-fest will end, as more and more countries acquire the technology. We used to think our greatest danger lay in nuclear weaponry. That supposition ought now to be updated to include armed drone use. Potential for human error has always been present, now an added possibility of techno-error - even without planned intention of attack. Can you imagine World War 3? Skies dark with competing drones over cities throughout the world....need I write more?

For any passing reader who still thinks drones are "a good thing", keeping the operator and "our heroic troops" safe and sound in underground bunkers far, far away - continents away - from the action, would do well to read an essay by a German guy, Dirk Kurbjuweit, translated into English by Christopher Sultan, and dated August 2012:
Fear the Reaper: 'Humane' Drones Are the Most Brutal Weapons of All

I'll copy some brief snips, but the full essay is essential reading:

....... According to the traditional concepts of combat, a war waged with drones is a cowardly war. The coward, in this equation, is the one who takes little or no risk to fight against those who take great risks........................

To date, the most humane of all weapons is the one that is potentially the most gruesome -- the intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with multiple nuclear warheads, which is capable of wiping out a city of a million people. It has zero victims, because no one has dared to use it.........................

The "good" drones, on the other hand, have a much more tragic track record. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London found that the United States used drones in Pakistan 337 times between 2004 and 2012, killing between 2,524 and 3,247 people. The casualties included 482 to 852 civilians, of whom 175 were children. Of the many evils of war, civilian victims are the worst.

The high rate of civilian casualties stems from the fact that the Americans are not using their armed drones in the battlefield, but in the vicinity of people who are considered to be terrorists. Of course, this means that there will sometimes be civilians nearby who, despite the precision of drones, will lose their lives.................

The most precise weapon for hunting down terrorists is still an intelligence agent like James Bond, but he has to risk his life during his missions, which is why the drone is preferred in real life.

A humane approach to war is a complex issue. Drones seem relatively humane, but that perception only increases the temptation to use them. They spare one's own troops, which is good, but they pose a great threat to civilians, which is terrible. As a result, the humane approach gives rise to a special form of inhumanity....................

A weapon also has a psychology, meaning that it affects the disposition of its users in its own, unique way. The drone is especially tempting for politicians of a gentle, humanitarian nature. Former US President George W. Bush, who does not fall into this category, used armed drones in Pakistan 52 times in the last four years of his presidency. His apparently gentler and more humanitarian successor, Barack Obama, has already deployed drones 285 times. Just as the drone suits Germany, it also suits Obama. Because it doesn't seem as terrible as other weapons, the barriers to its use are relatively low.


mike said...

PBS' Nova "Rise of the Drones"

Click the "WATCH THE PROGRAM" button.

The ease at which the Bush administration led us into two wars, unsanctioned by the UN, that we are still fighting a decade later, AND using drones as auxiliary weaponry, is far more concerning to me.

James Higham said...

Mechanized killing from a distance - exactly what Wells foresaw and the enemy has always hoped for.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Thanks - yes I think you recommended that prog. once before, and I did watch it - it's interesting and very informative.

Well - yes Bush's warmongering exploits factor strongly into the current issue - but they are done, past, written in stone - we cannot turn back time. But with strong popular protest in coming months about unchecked use of armed drones (and other types too) it'd at least be made clear that this newest weapon of war is not being developed in our name.

mike (again) said...

Your statement, "...with strong popular protest in coming months..."

Are you referring to Americans?

The following is from

"Sixty-two percent of Americans approve of the strikes, while 28 percent disapprove. Most Republicans — 74 percent — approve of the strikes, according to the survey. Britain and India are the only other two countries with less than 50 percent disapproval.

In Germany, 59 percent disapprove of the strikes, while 38 percent approve. In Egypt, a whopping 89 percent disapprove, and 6 percent approve. In Brazil, 76 percent disapprove, and 19 percent approve. And in Japan, 75 percent disapprove of the strikes, compared to 21 percent who approve."

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ H.G. Wells was amazingly prescient - entertaining writer too - his War of the Worlds and The Time Machine were the first two "grown-up" books I read, when quite young. (Note to self: re-read them, and his others).
Wells had natal Moon in Aquarius by the way. :-)

mike (again) said...

Most Americans aren't too concerned about drones being used right here in the US, except for speeding violations! (from

"The poll asked a national sample about four potential uses of unmanned drones by U.S. law
enforcement. An overwhelming majority of Americans support the idea of using drones to help with
search and rescue missions (80%). Two-thirds of the public also support using drones to track down
runaway criminals (67%) and control illegal immigration on the nation’s border (64%).

One area where Americans say that drones should not be used, though, is to issue speeding tickets. Only 23% support using drones for this routine police activity while a large majority of 67% oppose the idea."

Twilight said...

mike ~~ SIGH!! That's sickening!
People in the USA have never suffered the horror of war going on in the skies over their their own homeland - that is why so few oppose armed drone strikes abroad.

The British should be ashamed of their approval rating of drones.
PISH!!! Of course, most people who lived through World War 2 are now either dead or unlikely to be taking part in surveys.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ I have to keep going back to my thoughts of the USA as an adolescent or early teenage country - self-absorbed, selfish, careless.
It'll grow up, one day - maybe.

I hate to feel like this because I love the land itself - it deserves better!

mike (again) said...

Here's a Washington Post - ABC News Poll from this time last year, February, 2012:

(Question 13c) 83 percent approved of the use of drone strikes against terrorist suspects abroad.

mike (again) said...

Twilight, Americans are kooky balooky when it comes to weapons, security, patriotism. I like Ben Franklin's line:
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin, Memoirs of the life & writings of Benjamin Franklin

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Oh my! I find myself on the fringe (maybe beyond the fringe!) once again.

I do try to understand the mindset here, but fail.

I've just been reading an article about Henry Wallace ( re Oliver Stone's series, which I haven't seen because it's on showtime channel I think). It seems even back then, after FDR, the US was afraid to look even slightly leftward.

It's an interesting piece, link below, with some "what ifs" (I like "what ifs".)

mike (again) said...

Sounds like a good wonder he lost out! Here are a few "Henry says":

“If we put our trust in the common sense of common men and 'with malice toward none and charity for all' go forward on the great adventure of making political, economic and social democracy a practical reality, we shall not fail.” Henry A. Wallace

“If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States.” Henry A. Wallace

Twilight said...

mike ~~~ We need his reincarnation - NOW! He had Sun conjunct Uranus by the way (in Libra).

Here's a nice quote of Henry Wallace on the subject of vision - or being visionary:

"I've always believed that if you envision something that hasn't been, that can be, and bring it into being, that is a tremendously worthwhile thing to do."

"Our utopias are the blueprints of our future civilization, and as such, airy structures though they are, they really play a bigger part in the progress of man than our more material structures of brick and steel. the habit of building utopias shows to a degree whether our race is made up of dull-spirited bipeds or whether it is made up of men who want to enjoy the fill savoring of existence that comes only when they feel themselves working with the forces of nature to remake the world nearer to their heart's desire."

"What we approach is not a new continent but a new state of heart and mind resulting in new standards of accomplishment. We must invent, build and put to work new social machinery. This machinery will carry out the Sermon on the Mount as well as the present social machinery carries out and intensifies the law of the jungle."
— New Frontiers 1934

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Have just seen this on topic of "Cyber War".... and the President's new power:

and the Washington Post's version

Nice, eh?

Imagine what errors, human or otherwise might cause.

From another on the same topic by Matthew Rothschild

Most troubling, U.S. cybersupremacy—and that is Pentagon doctrine—will also raise fears among nuclear powers like Russia, China, and North Korea that the United States may use a cyberattack as the opening move in a nuclear attack.

For if the United States can knock out the command and control structure of an enemy’s nuclear arsenal, it can then launch an all-out nuclear attack on that enemy with impunity. This would make such nuclear powers more ready to launch their nuclear weapons preemptively for fear that they would be rendered useless. So we’ve just moved a little closer to midnight.

Vanilla Rose said...

:( Depressing.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~~ 'Tis too!
Can't make up my mind whether ignorance of it all would be bliss - or just burying head-in-sand. :-(

mike (again) said...

At least cyber attack is being discussed somewhat openly. Did you know that previous to this disclosure, the CIA had the secret authority to use at its discretion?

The US has been increasingly experiencing cyber attacks. The media reports them as malicious attempts to cause havoc. There are reports that these attacks are simple "foot-soldiers" testing the waters, with the big guns being positioned, if needed. China and Iran are reported to be the prime suspects.

There are many new, high-tech weapons...many more are in development. "Intense Magnetic Pulse" technology has the ability to:
1) Used with drones, produces intense microwave beams to knock-out large areas of digital communications and are not considered cyber attacks, though that is the net result.
2) Can be used to produce intense sub-dermal pain (heat) for crowd control. There is anecdotal evidence this type of device WAS employed by the US in Baghdad several years ago.
3) Large-scale production of IMP, by nuclear detonations in sub-space, can destroy all equipment using electrons by causing tremendous electrical surges over large land areas.

There are sonic and laser weapons that are reputed to render conventional weapons passe. Many of these can be used for crowd control and-or military applications.

Drones, while despicable, may be small peanuts soon.

Wisewebwoman said...

This constant state of war on our tiny planet has me sickened, T.

I'm avoiding posts on the topic because of my feelings of anger and helplessness.

Just so delighted Daughter marches and dances for IdleNoMore.

Another generation takes over.

We are in one hell of a mess.

Drones not being the least of it.

Murdering innocent foreign children while mourning Sandy Point. Having the surviving children sing of America the beautiful?

Reminds me so much of Nazism.



R J Adams said...

Not only is Germany acquiring these accursed weapons, it's also developing the ability to shoot them down:
Incidentally, the PBS Nova program, "Rise of the Drones" was sponsored by Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest drone manufacturers in the US. So much for independent public radio!

DC said...

I agree.
Here's an article (here) of interest you may have seen.
Note the Sgt's comment on what a great Christmas "toy" it would make. Oh brother!

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Groan!! I wasn't aware of much of that - I'd read about the crowd control devices.

Yes, we're at the "thin end of the wedge" of all this new war techology.

Now's about the right time for a time machine to be developed so that those who desire to could travel back a few decades (would there be anyone left in the 21st century?)

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman~~ Unsettling isn't it!?
I try not to think on these things too much, but they are there - and sometimes simply will not be ignored.
I'm glad I'm not young any more. I hope the youth of today can rise to the challenges ahead for they will be huge.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ Independent radio and TV are things of the past - they are the tools of corporations and a mild form of brainwash for the masses. Sounds like tin-foil hat stuff, but it isn't.

The thought of Germany catching up seems somehow extra chilling - but I know I'm wrong, and the country isn't what it was in the 1930s and 40s. My feelings are coloured by old experiences.

Twilight said...

DC ~ I did read about those micro drones yesterday - thanks, yes.
I commented elsewhere that things are now getting eerily close to what frank Herbert imagined in his novel "Dune" with the Hunter-seeker.

Double groan!!!!

DC said...

Knowing you I will assume you saw this today also (sigh)

Twilight said...

DC ~~Thanks. I hadn't seen the Salon version but have just read that at Common Dreams + comments

A "profoundly disturbing" Justice Department document obtained by NBC News outlines when the U.S. can put its own citizens on a "kill list" to be targeted in drone strikes.

As one commenter there asked:"How many more 'profoundly disturbing' documents do we need before the shit hits the fan?"

And...when said fan is hit, the powers that be can use all they'll ever need, and more, to sort it. Yes They Can!

Triple groan!

mike (again) said...

Re: killing of American citizens by drone

Hey...where have you all been for the last decade? Didn't you know that the US Congress passed resolutions to allow this over a decade ago? Part of Homeland Security National Security Council reform. The only "news" here is that the use of drones for killing Americans is NOW being discussed and formalized. The Bush administration asked for this allowance and it was granted. It's a little late for the outrage!

mike (again) said...

The duty to approve or reject putting an individual on the kill list was granted to this small group at the CIA by President Bush, and the responsibility was extended by President Obama. The agency’s approval process was orderly, vetted by legions of lawyers in the White House, the National Security Council, and the CIA, and then affirmed without much discussion or controversy by eight members of Congress, known as the Gang of Eight. They included the House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders and the chairmen and vice chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. The CIA did not seek Congress’s approval for the program or to kill a particular individual on the list. But once the covert drone program began, the agency kept Congress informed of those who had been killed.

...Being a U.S. citizen, native-born or naturalized, did not disqualify anyone from being on the list.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Where have I been for the last decade? Here for the past 8 years of it, but the country I assumed I'd gone to the trouble, frustration and expense of negotiating their crappy immigration system, being made to feel like a criminal at times, as though I was being admitted to some kind of utopia - is not the country I'd naively expected to find.

I'm stuck with it now. I'll say it again - this beautiful land deserves much better.

The news is hardly surprising that Obama has extended Bush's plans, given his record since 2008. You know my opinion though.

mike (again) said...

Twilight, I didn't intend to be offensive with you. Comment number one way above, my comment regarding the origin of this mess, was intended to provide a basis for this continuation of war perversion this nation is endeavoring.

I am fascinated that the killing of an American by drone is drawing such scrutiny by the public and, more particularly, Congress itself. This on Huffpo this morning stating Congress is considering limitations:

"Three days after 9/11, Congress approved a law authorizing the military to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against al-Qaida and other groups believed to be helping or harboring the global terror network, including the use of drone strikes."

We Americans lost many freedoms that day by virtue of the Congressional sanctions. Congress authorized our government to essentially DO ANYTHING REQUIRED to fight terrorism. There were many Americans that protested this authorization, as it gave the government unlimited, undefined power. Congress has continued to extend and actually broaden the scope of the original authorization.

This authorization also allows the government to secretly search my or your home as they wish with no search warrant required. Did you know that, if your home is searched and you complain to anyone about it, the government has the right to confine you? Same for any of your correspondence, whether handwritten, digital, or verbal. Shocking, eh?!

There has never been public discourse regarding the PATRIOT Act and its implications. It was considered unpatriotic to dissent from the desires of the Bush administration and Congress' directive. This public debate is sorely needed. The PATRIOT act allows for ANYTHING desired.

I have no patience for anyone crying foul right now (OK, maybe not you since you weren't here!), as these are the same people that were so concerned about their security that they allowed Congress to sign-away their freedoms. What were they thinking?!

As much as most people seem to be horrified by Obama formalizing on paper the "kill list by drones", no one seems to understand that he is actually allowing this to come out of the dark. The following is from Wiki:

"Facing the possibility of defeat in the 2012 Presidential election the Obama Administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures. The work to codify U.S. drone policy began in summer 2011. “There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one unnamed U.S official. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said."

I am glad that the use of kill-drones on an American citizen is causing a's about time...the authorization has been in place for over a decade. Why are US citizens NOW acting horrified by this? There is much more that needs to be addressed by the shame of starting two wars in the name of "war on terrorism" with no evidence, without UN permission, disregarding Geneva convention regulations, and completely burning the US Constitution in the process...not to mention the shame of killing thousands and thousands of innocents.

Sorry, I won't respond to this posting again.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ This is a place to "let off steam", Mike we need somewhere to do it these days - we all have equal rights to do so, so please do not apologise. I do it and expect others to do so if they need to, as long as individuals are not insulted or attacked for their views.

9/11 was a tragedy, I cried for you all from my home in England, watching it unfold on TV. But 12 years of killing in Iraq and Afghanistan by whatever means is way over to top in retaliation.

Why didn't people oppose the Patriot Act? I cannot know for sure but I'd surmise that the people of the USA were in a kind of traumatic shock condition for long, long after 11 September. This was a totally unknown phenomenon for people of the USA - being attacked on their own soil.

Maybe it has taken many this long for them to come out of that shock.

DC said...

check this out..(sigh)

DC said...

Twilight said...

DC ~~~ DANG! But that is truly sickening. "a laurel wreath that circles the globe" more like a noose around the neck of the world!

DC said...

I couldn't help but be reminded of your post and how it related to the child victims of drone I just thought if anyone could relate to this video it would be you. It will turn your stomach when you hear how the killing of sixteen year old Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki (Anwar al-Awlaki's son)was referred to as a "mistake".
Maybe you've seen this....but if not it's just more confirmation of what I can only describe as an ongoing erosion of the fabric of American ethics in this country's leadership.
The video is well worth watching imo.

Twilight said...

DC ~~ Thank you for that - I hadn't seen the video before.

It's looking more and more as though nothing can stop these kinds of "mistakes" - or more accurately cold blooded murders of innocent people, whether they be US citizens or citizens of other nations. The president is committing murder in our name.

Time for another post on the subject - to let off more steam, later in the week.