Amy Davidson asks, “The Obama Administration worried about how Romney might use its targeted-assassination program: but was the problem Mitt or the “kill list” itself?” Continue reading.
In legal battle against drone strikes, she’s on the front lines: A law professor at Notre Dame leads a lonely campaign to stop the targeted killings in Pakistan and elsewhere, insisting they violate international law.
Photo: Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell is a leading critic of the U.S. targeted-killing program against Al Qaeda militants. Credit: Ken Dilanian / Los Angeles Times
From his computer console here in the Syracuse suburbs, Col. D. Scott Brenton remotely flies a Reaper drone that beams back hundreds of hours of live video of insurgents, his intended targets, going about their daily lives 7,000 miles away in Afghanistan.
Sometimes he and his team watch the same family compound for weeks. “I see mothers with children, I see fathers with children, I see fathers with mothers, I see kids playing soccer,” Colonel Brenton said.
When the call comes for him to fire a missile and kill a militant — and only, Colonel Brenton said, when the women and children are not around — the hair on the back of his neck stands up, just as it did when he used to line up targets in his F-16 fighter jet.
Afterward, just like the old days, he compartmentalizes. “I feel no emotional attachment to the enemy,” he said. “I have a duty, and I execute the duty.”
A few years ago, the Border Patrol started buying unarmed Predator drones. By the end of 2011, they had 10 of these $18 million machines, and very little idea of what exactly they wanted to do with them.
That’s my takeaway from a new report released by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security. The drones only flew 37 percent as often as they were supposed to, logging 3,909 hours in the air in a 12-month period that should have seen them in the air for more than 10,000 hours.
One big problem, according to the report, is that there weren’t enough ground stations and support. This is like signing an expensive free-agent running back but forgetting you need offensive linemen. Drones are sexy! The ground control stations that run the drones, not so much.
— Nick Mottern, a 73-year-old Westchester-based activist and chief organizer of the Drones Tour, which aims to increase awareness about the pilotless planes that drop bombs. Mottern and his group have set up three models by Borough Hall. (via capitalnewyork)