November 6, 2002
ONE WAY OUT OF WAR:
Predator: silent and deadly
(MATT KELLEY, November 6, 2002, Chicago Sun-Times)
Remote-controlled Predator aircraft armed with Hellfire missiles have become a deadly tool in the war on terrorism, killing top al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan and Yemen.
Missiles fired from lurking Predators have killed Osama bin Laden's operations chief and, earlier this week, a top al-Qaida operative in Yemen.
The deadly drones give the CIA a way to track and kill suspected terrorists without putting U.S. pilots at risk--though with the possibility of unintended civilian casualties.
As effective as the Predator is as a killing machine, it can also be a powerful psychological weapon, showing terrorists that a fiery death can come seemingly out of nowhere.
One has to wonder if it is really so hard to find Saddam Hussein that we couldn't send him some hellfire. It would seem an economic and humane alternative to war.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 6, 2002 10:29 AM
These UAV's have strategic mobility, but tactically they cannot see much in a wide scanning mode. You literally have to target them using other, coarser, types of target acquisition sources. These ragheads simply made the mistake of using the same road too many times, and the CIA found out. They then confirmed the target using the UAV cameras and then used the homing missile to destroy the car.
Tom! I'm scandalized, such epithets are beneath you...
Helllfires can't penetrate bunkers.
Tom brings up a great point that the media seems to be ignoring. This kill could not have been made without someone on the ground calling the shot. God bless them, every one.
Orrin: That wasn't an epitaph. From what I read, that's all that was left.
Just the facts, ma'am
-Sgt Friday, "Dragnet"
I really do wish the media would simply shut up (and we stop gloating) about the hows and whys and wherefors of these particular successes (though I suppose that's not really possible, is it, us being human and all). Seems to me, we've got to keep the enemy guessing.
This is just hypothetical, but the living remnant of that al Qaeda cell are probably right now trying to guess which of their "friends" got turned by the CIA so that the Predator was flying in the right place at the right time.