The Empire’s Dog Feces: Droning on

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Decline and Fall at 9:17 am by George Smith

In the news, yay:

Despite reports that Iran hijacked a United States stealth military drone early this month and forced it to land in hostile territory, not everyone is buying the hype.

“Some kind of mechanical malfunction” is probably what caused the unmanned drone, a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel (nicknamed the “Beast of Kandahar” by Afghans who’d seen it), to go down 140 miles inside Iran on Dec. 4, according to John Pike, director of the Alexandria, Va.-based think tank GlobalSecurity.org.

George Smith, a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity, echoed his colleague’s assertion.

“Stuff goes wrong,” Smith told SecurityNewsDaily. “It’s certainly an embarrassment to the United States, as advertised. The bragging on the part of the Iranian government is unsurprising.”

It’s all about us-US-US!

Competing for this year’s long list of produced news stories and factoids of unintentional bleak hilarity: Overstretched U.S. drone pilots face stress risk.

From Reuters:

Flying drone aircraft over Afghanistan from the comfort of a military base in the United States is much more stressful than it might seem, even for pilots spared the sacrifice of overseas deployment and separation from family and friends.

America’s insatiable demand for drone technology is taking a heavy toll on Air Force crews, according to a six-month Air Force study, with just under a third of active duty pilots of drones like the Predator reporting symptoms of burnout and 17 percent showing signs of “clinical distress.”

That’s when stress starts undermining their performance at work and their family lives …

[The] biggest factor wearing down drone crews were things like long hours and inadequate staffing.

Inadequate staffing. One associates stress due to inadequate staffing to jobs where corporations have mercilessly downsized the labor force to increase short term profit.

In other words, drone crews suffer stress of the same nature as that of cubicle workers in corporate America. Letting Hellfire missiles off the hook on small groups of people, always poorer and smaller, on the other side of the world, is a smaller component of the job.

This is described as “bothersome.”

Really. Not joking, here. It’s what the man said.

“We try to select people who are well-adjusted … We select family people … People of good moral standing, background, integrity,” [Air Force] Lieutenant Colonel Kent McDonald, a man who worked on the study, told Reuters.

“And when they have to kill someone, and when they’re involved with missions when they’re observing people over long periods of time, and then they either kill them or see them killed, it does cause them to re-think aspects of their life and it can be bothersome.”

Stressful in Somalia

“The U.S. has used drones to hunt down al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia and Yemen, among other countries,” reported the AP last week. “Their humming is a constant feature in the sky in many of the major towns in southern Somalia, especially the capital city and the militant-controlled southern port of Kismayo.”

Notable quote after recent news story after Iowa locals get all atwitter about Northrop Grumman shipping a shrink-wrapped naval aviation drone on a flatbed. (They thought it might be a UFO, seriously.)

“It’s difficult to fly an unmanned drone through commercial airspace,” a company man told the local news agency.

Easier to fly them in airspace over countries where we don’t give a s—
about the natives, except as targets, and whatever they do or don’t have flying around.

Stephen King donates money for heating oil assistance to poor

“Horror author Stephen King’s efforts to raise money to help low-income Maine residents pay their heating oil bills this winter have exceeded goals,” reported a Boston newspaper.

This was after it was widely reported the US government would reduce home heating oil assistance by over 50 percent this year, from $55.6 million down to $23 million.

Cost of stealth drone, the Beast of Kandahar, lost over Iran, based on estimation from price of prototype: over $24 million.

Cost of Predator drone, lost over the Seychelles: $4.5 million

Cost of misallocation of national resources and immorality in decision making: Priceless.

Nominated as best new electric folk song to sing, ever. “Predator loans, iPhones, and drones … Plus we got lotsa really crazy people!”

1 Comment

  1. Christoph Hechl said,

    December 21, 2011 at 1:09 am

    During my time at school and in University i have met quite a number of Iranians. One thing they all had in common, was that they were absolutely brilliant at maths. Today maths translates to computer science. I guess that Iran can rely on some of the best programmers on this planet. The described GPS spoofing attack is at least very plausible.
    But whining about how bothersome it is to kill people is so incredibly cynical and pervert, that i am at loss for words to describe how i feel about this being.