The Octogenarian: the U.S. drone program

I am against war. I also recognize that we, as a nation, have enemies and that it sometimes takes lethal action to stop the danger from those enemies.

There are many who are against the American Drone Aircraft Program because of civilian deaths. In the short history of air warfare, the United States was a late-comer into the saturation-bombing aspect of warfare but as in many things we perfected it and caught up.

Today, a single aircraft can deliver the payload that took a fleet of bombers to deliver in World War II, so air strikes can be more deadly. This week, it was announced that two hostages held by terror organizations were inadvertently killed in a drone strike that was one of two that also killed many terrorist leaders, including two American turncoats who were known terrorist leaders.
War is wrong and throughout history civilians or non-combatants have died and suffered in war. Sad but true. I come to you in this article with my personal reason for being in favor of the U.S. Drone Program.

You may not have noticed but for the first time in the lifetime of most of my fellow students, we are not getting weekly reports of the names of American Service Members killed in action in foreign countries. But we are still at war. There are nation-backed groups and organizations around the world who want to kill you as an American or as a Christian or as a Jew or as a Sunni or as a Shite or because you are a non-subservient female or maybe even because you have blue eyes.

So, if we have to fight those groups, why do I like the drone? Well, it’s personal. In 1952, I was sitting in a U.S. Air Force Trailer late at night on a mountain called Schwarzenborne in Germany involved in communicating with the crew of an RB26, a World War II, old B26 converted two-engine bomber with a three-man crew and, according to the control information I was following, that airplane and crew was at some 6,000 feet over Czechoslovakia some 16 miles behind the iron curtain taking pictures of Soviet military activity.

Suddenly we had a May Day call from the plane. He was in trouble. We had no idea what the problem was, but we gave the plane an immediate vector (change of direction) toward Rheine Mein Air Base in Germany and turned him over to their control. We were out of the picture and had our own work to do. I have always been curious as to the fate of the three-man American crew of that airplane and have always assumed that they made it into the U.S. Air Base but if they hadn’t then three American families would have been visited by men in blue uniforms to inform them that their government was sorry, but their loved ones wouldn’t be coming home.

The great thing about a drone mission is that if the mission goes wrong and the drone goes down over enemy territory, the three man crew on an aircraft carrier or in Nevada packs up their gear and goes about their normal existence, even home to their family.

Human beings die in war. Innocent people suffer. If a terrorist blows himself up and kills unsuspecting humans along with him it is horrible. If a drone kills that terrorist and his cohorts before he gets to act but winds up killing innocent civilians along with him it is horrible. There is a choice. Is there a preference?


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