US crew faulted for 21 civilian drone deaths

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by tubbs1970, May 30, 2010.

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  1. The deadly attack occurred on February 21 after the unmanned Predator drone, controlled by a crew at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, spotted three vehicles on a main road in Uruzgan province about 12km from where US Special Forces and Afghan soldiers were tracking suspected fighters, the report said.

    Suspecting the convoy contained fighters, the ground commander ordered an
    airstrike, and US helicopters fired missiles at the vehicles, it added.

    But the attack order was based on inaccurate information from the Predator
    crew and a flawed analysis of the situation by US commanders, according to Army Major General Timothy McHale, the author of the report.
    Fox News - no reporting of story found
    CNN - no reporting of story found
  2. FP mounts a defnce of Drone Wars. By C.Christine Fair
    My bold. This is an interesting point that's not statistically wrong. The repeated application of air strikes in close proximity to civilians is liable to kill some innocents. This is especially true in an undermanned COIN campaign which is what we have even now.

    Very expensive USAF strikes may hammer in 500lb laser guided bombs but have been subject to pretty strict SOPs. They are a necessary consequence of having too few soldiers on the ground and being careful of their lives. In any case fighting a war amongst the people will get some of them killed and maimed no matter how delicate you are.

    Properly used with precise well verified intelligence Hellfire bearing Drones may be a lesser evil. Incidents like the one mentioned above tend to undermine this argument. Mistakes happen of course but this one looks plain sloppy.

    I wonder a little about economic and psychological factors. Drones are cheap, the pilot is at no risk and may well be extremely remote from the carnage created in more than one sense. A politician does not face the career risks that come with putting men in harms way. Barry immediately embraced the technology. The USAF is now training more chaps to fly Drones than costly manned planes.

    HUMINT is a finite resource. As Drone use inevitably escalates precise target selection is likely to be reduced. Not saying that's what happened here but that's likely to be the future.