Thursday, March 14, 2013
At dusk as I circled Ali Air Base, Iraq, on my bicycle I would first hear the model-airplane buzz and then see a Predator drone wobbling its spindly wings and landing gear as it descended slowly to the airfield. Predators are completely unimpressive aircraft on an airstrip taking off and landing C-17 and C-130 cargo ships and every helicopter in the Army.
Buzzing slowly at take-off and landing they do not look like the best anti-terror weapon, but they are.
Cruising at 84mph with a top speed of 135mph they barely seem to move as they hover over a target area, scanning with cameras and waiting to launch a HellFire missile. It is just that slow moving scan and precise targeting that makes Predator attacks the opposite of terror strikes.
Terrorists choose a target that will get attention, not caring who is killed. American terrorist Timothy McVeigh killed babies in a nursery in order to strike back in his demented way against the government. Arab terrorists wipe out markets full of women and children--Arab women and children.
Against this indiscriminate horror, the Predator waits to find and identify the cowards who send kids to blow themselves up. The leaders of Al-Qaeda and other terror groups get targeted where they live. When the terrorist gets into a car the Predator is cruising in the air, the pilot (far away on the ground) waiting for his target to move away from other people to give him a clear shot.
When the target is clear of other people, the pilot launches a HellFire missile. The HellFire travels at Mach 1.3, faster than the speed of sound. The target never hears the missile as it flies into his Toyota Land Cruiser at nearly 1000mph. Everyone for miles around the target heard the missile break the sound barrier as it flew on its one-way mission. The terrorist and his entourage are dead. Everyone in the area knows who got killed and why.
The man who killed randomly is killed precisely. The man willing to kill innocent people and hide among other innocent people is killed precisely and instantly. I have heard ill-informed drone critics say HellFire missiles "Rain down" on a target. They don't. The missiles don't rain down, they strike like Zeus hurling a thunderbolt--precise and deadly.
Our government is responsible for where and when drones are used and I trust our government to use them wisely. And when I hear that one of our enemies is killed by a drone, I think immediately of how many American soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen could have risked their lives to do the same job.
You Go Drones!!!!