Talking about US air power in Afghanistan on Thursday's ATC Tom Bowman informs us,
"Those Predators can carry two 100-pound bombs. There's also a jumbo version, the Reaper, which holds three 1,000-pound bombs."What he modestly failed to mention is that - when it comes to carrying water for the Pentagon - nothing can compete with the Tom Bowman drone (except maybe Mary Louise Kelly).
According to Bowman drones are going to be VERY important in Afghanistan:
"...it's not just helicopters that commanders are demanding, they also want more drone aircraft — the kind President Bush bragged about in a speech this week at West Point." We actually get to hear the Bragger-in-Chief say, "We're arming Predator drones. We're using them to stay on the hunt against the terrorists who would do us harm."As Bowman notes, "Besides hitting targets, the drones also see the battlefield, which in this case is the entire country of Afghanistan." I think we can all guess that there will be a few civilian casualties when the entire country is the battlefield.
Civilian casualties? Not to worry with the super-vision, high resolution, extra-humane Reaper. According to Air Force Col. Eric Mathewson, who works on a special task force at the Pentagon, the Reaper is so precise that "from five miles away I can pick out what color clothes you're wearing." (I wonder if that means they'll be able to tell when folks are dressed up for a wedding...) If you're still not convinced, the NPR website of the story has a little snuff video of the US "on the hunt" which you can watch - compliments of the Department of Defense.
Unfortunately, this hawking of the Afghanistan air war is just "the second of a three-part series on the American military strategy in Afghanistan." Yesterday it was the buildup of ground troops, today the ramped up air war, and tomorrow will be about supply routes. Dronin' Tom Bowman is working overtime to spiff up and sanitize the bloody, ugly "aimless absurdity" of the Afghanistan war and sell it to us from the Pentagon's perspective. What he'll never tell us is how this rattle-trap, illegal junker of a war is just the latest retread of a Soviet retread of an fine, old British wreck of imperial map stabbing:
Seriously, on Wednesday Bowman talked to Brig. Gen. Mark Milley, a senior American officer in Afghanistan, who said that the incoming US troops "will change the nature of the game in the particular areas we're going to employ them." Bowman noted that "Milley stabbed at a point on a map — a spot near Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, where Taliban forces are blowing up bridges and attacking buses and trucks heading to the city."NPR's three part series so far has done nothing to indicate the moral cesspool that the US effort in Afghanistan has been from the beginning and the quagmire that it may well become. One only hopes that the incoming Obama administration will have more sense than Team NPR....