Assassination Drone Warfare

Whiteman Air Force Base - Knob Noster, MO
Military Drone Training & Navigation

On Feb. 1, 2010, the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base became part of the newly created Air Force Global Strike Command. In February 2010, the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron, a ground control station for unmanned aerial drones, began operation at the base.  The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle UAV (drone) used primarily by the United States Air Force and Central Intelligence Agency. Initially conceived in the early 1990s for reconnaissance and forward observation roles, the Predator carries cameras and other sensors but has been modified and upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other munitions.

Following 2001, the RQ-1 Predator drone became the primary UAV used for offensive operations by the USAF and the CIA in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas; it has also been deployed elsewhere. Because offensive uses of the Predator are classified, U.S. military officials have reported an appreciation for the intelligence and reconnaissance - gathering abilities of UAVs but declined to publicly discuss their offensive use.  - Wikipedia

"The Predators in the CIA program are “flown” by civilians, both intelligence officers and private contractors. Once the drones are aloft, the controls are electronically “slewed over” to a set of “reachback operators” in the States. Using joysticks that resemble video-game controls, the reachback operators - who don’t need conventional flight training - sit next to intelligence officers and watch, on large flat-screen monitors, a live video feed from the drone’s camera.  People who have seen an air strike live on a monitor described it as both awe-inspiring and horrifying. Cut off from the realities of the bombings in Pakistan, Americans have been insulated from the human toll, as well as from the political and the moral consequences." - The New Yorker 10/26/09

“Drones are a technological step that further isolates the American people from military action, undermining political checks on . . . endless war.”
- Mary Dudziak, University of Southern California Gould School of Law

The United States kills 50 unintended targets
for each intended target of a drone attack.


Total reported killed: 2,373 – 2,997
Civilians reported killed: 391 – 780
Children reported killed: 175
Total strikes: 309

“Even one child death from drone missiles or suicide bombings is one child death too many. Children have no place in war and all parties should do their utmost to protect children from violent attacks at all times.” - Sarah Crowe, UNICEF

"There is a huge margin of error, often because of faulty intelligence, and civilian casualties are mounting. According to Pakistan bodycount, 2867 people have been killed or injured by drones in Pakistan alone, with a 2.5% success rate against Al-Qaida. Figures for Afganistan and Iraq are unknown.  There is also no measure for the terror and psychological damage being done to the millions of children and adults who are in the constant sights of these unmanned systems."

“Under what code does the C.I.A. operate? I don’t know. The military operates under a legal code, and it has judicial mechanisms."  He said of the C.I.A.’s drone program, “There should be a limited, finite group of people who are targets, and that list should be publicly defensible and available. Instead, it’s not being publicly defended. People are being killed, and we generally require some public justification when we go about killing people.”