Sunday, April 22, 2012
President Barack Obama’s fixation with drones is well known. Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred as drones, go back to at least 1916. However, the U.S. military application of drones didn’t accelerate until 1959 when the Air Force, concerned about losing pilots over hostile territory, began planning to use drones in combat.
Mr. Obama’s goal of $487 billion in defense cuts over the next decade means a leaner Pentagon budget will mean the military will rely increasingly on special ops, cyber warfare and drones to protect the U.S. and American interests.
No president has embraced the use of drones more than Barack Obama. As a point of comparison, in the five years leading up to the Mr. Obama’s presidency, the U.S. had launched 44 drone attacks, all of which were focused on Pakistan and which killed 400 people. Since taking office in January, 2009, that number has soared to more than 240 strikes with at least four times as many people killed.
In December, 2011, with much media fanfare, Iran announced to the world they had captured an American RQ-170 stealth spy drone that recently crashed in Iran. While the Obama administration tried in vein to walk back the importance of the event, today Iran stunned the west by announcing they had reverse-engineered the American drone and began building its own copy.
If true, Iran’s announcement marks a significant propaganda and military set-back for the U.S. and Israel.