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More Predators Over Pakistan
Obama and Pakistan Agree
If there is a single US weapon that is akin to Sci-fi or Buck Rogers proven to be effective it is the pilot-less Predator drone aircraft. Nearly silent and small, its size makes it invisible flying at 10,000 ft. above the ground. It is undetectable to those on the ground and controlled by a few men many miles away. Its cameras can zoom in and observe\ID a person's face, weapons, movements. When terrorists are located they are zapped with its Hellfire missile, so fast and not subject to jamming, the kill is nearly instantaneous. This creates a unique weapon that not only is deadly but creates paranoia among the terrorists in the Pakistani mountains. The drone makes the use of US ground troops less urgent in areas that could be traps for foot soldiers. They can fly for up to 40 hours. In Pakistan, they are based at Shamsi Airfield, far away from the front.
The drawbacks are each one costs about $4 million and weather can make them useless. The US has about 195 of them, of which 55 have been lost. They can be shot down by skilled personnel as was the case in Bosnia. This is rare, most losses have been a combination of human and weather. Errors in targeting also occur usually when the terrorists mix with locals to seek protection or at a Mosque, in a guerrilla war, it is sometimes impossible to know who the enemy and friends are. As bad as it is, that is simply the name of this game so the Taliban and al-Qaida play that hand. They may lose a few men but the attention in the world press about the 20 other civilians overshadows it in the media. This was the exact case during the Vietnam war-its a strategy. Win the war in the media.
In the first quarter of 2009, Pakistan was furious about the Predator attacks on their soil and use of their airspace, seems things are changing. A more common sense approach to keep the combat losses down now prevails. Of course, Pakistan is to receive over one billion dollars of infrastructure relief and aid from the USA, to stablize the country and its people by builidng roads, businesses etc. Allowing the Predators to seek and destroy in the mountains hiding the terrorists is a small concession.
Money always seems to talk.