Look out below!
“The Unblinking Stare” by Steve Coll in the New Yorker for November 24, 2014, is a chilling reminder that there are places in the world where the United States is an angry god — sending death from the skies to those sinners who have incurred its wrath. As described by Coll in the article:
“Being attacked by a drone is not the same as being bombed by a jet. With drones, there is typically a much longer prelude to violence. Above North Waziristan [Pakistan tribal area], drones circled for hours, or even days, before striking. People below looked up to watch the machines, hovering at about twenty thousand feet, capable of unleashing fire at any moment, like dragon’s breath. “Drones may kill relatively few, but they terrify many more,” Malik Jalal, a tribal leader in North Waziristan, told me. “They turned the people into psychiatric patients. The F-16s might be less accurate, but they come and go.”
The idea of a pilotless aircraft able to attack enemy forces is not new. It was shown in this page from the January 9, 1956 Life magazine. Despite being attached by a wire, even the wingless craft shown here seems fairly sophisticated. I don’t know how far this particular project went, or if there were other projects before it that led to the one in the photo. I can surmise that for decades the American military has been working on just such a project. Right now a pilot can sit at a location in the United States and fly a craft halfway around the world. It then can be then used to bring death and destruction. As with all weapons, sometimes it takes out the innocent as well as the guilty.