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Drone Wars: The End of History?

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AP
AP

"LONDON -- A prominent British human rights lawyer said on Thursday that a United Nations panel he leads would investigate what he called the 'exponential rise' in drone strikes used in counterterrorist operations, 'with a view to determining whether there is a plausible allegation of unlawful killing.'

He added, 'This form of warfare is here to stay, and it is completely unacceptable to allow the world to drift blindly toward the precipice without any agreement between states as to the circumstances in which drone strike targeted killings are lawful, and on the safeguards necessary to protect civilians.'" -- John F. Burns reporting for The New York Times


Awesome Engineering Co.

Memo To all Sales Staff:

Big News!

The Liquidator, our new unmanned aerial vehicle, is now in full production. But we're after far more than the U.S. market. More than seventy countries already have drones--armed and unarmed. That's just for starters. Every self-respecting head of state is going to want his own fleet.

And the Liquidator will be the flavor of the decade.

It can takeoff, land and hover for a week without need of a human operator.

And it can't be fooled. From six miles up, thanks to our new Awesome Laser Optical Scanner (ALOS), it can zoom in to photograph the face of anyone below, as well as capture the underlying bone structure, with amazing resolution.

This means there is no way the bad guys (or gals) can conceal their identity by growing beards, dyeing their hair, losing weight, or undergoing radical plastic surgery.

The next sales point is also sensational: The Liquidator can work totally on its own. The ALOS can instantly interface with a database of all known or suspected bad guys in any intelligence agency's files, or from the new global terrorist data base that we offer as an additional service. At the same time, The Liquidator can also assess the area around the target for risk of "collateral damage" (cd).

Note: For an extra $1 million per unit, we will equip the Liquidator with a CDR (collateral damage regulator) that permits the operator to dial in the degree of cd judged acceptable for any given assignment.

The operator then has an option: A. Let the Liquidator run on "auto-kill." That means that once there is positive confirmation of the bad guy target, and the cd is acceptable, the on-board missile is automatically fired. Absolutely no time-wasting intervention required from the operator.

Or option B. the operator can also make the kill decision himself, if there is, for instance, the need clearance from higher up the command chain.

Most of our clients follow the precedent established by President Barack Obama, who established his own terrorist kill list. This enables him to wipe out the bad guys without encumbering legal procedures, yapping congressmen, or public trials that provide a soapbox and cheap publicity for the "terrorists" or whatever and their hysterical rants.

We expect this system to continue spreading worldwide. [In fact, we know of one European country where the wife of the president gets to have her own kill list; and another state where the Prime Minister gave kill privileges to his 16-year-old mistress -- though she only gets to have five people on the list at a time.

As part of this presentation, we include a new interactive module: How the history of the world would have been totally changed -- maybe even ground to a halt -- if kings, czars, sheikhs, imams, tribal chiefs, presidents, and dictators-for-life, had had something like The Liquidator at their disposal in years gone by.

The Brits, for example, could have blown to smithereens early on Jomo Kenyatta -- no way he would have survived to become glorified as the founding father of Kenya. Ditto Robert Mugabe branded as a "terrorist" in what used to be known as Rhodesia. Ditto Michael Collins of the IRA.
In the 1940s, London also could have knocked off a couple of future Israeli Prime Ministers, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, who organized the bloody-minded Irgun revolt against England, bombing a hotel and murdering British police.

Going back even earlier, George III could have nipped the Boston Tea Party in the bud -- taken out Paul Revere before he'd even saddled up. Hell, America might still be British.

In the same way, the French would have dispatched Ben Bella, wiped out the FLN before most people even knew what FLN stood for, and Algeria would still be French. So, perhaps, would Vietnam, if they'd targeted Ho Chi Minh when they should have.

And the Germans, if they'd had the Liquidator the Warsaw Ghetto uprising would have been still-born, Jean Moulin and the French Resistance would have been turned into road kill. Same thing for the Soviets: No Hungarian revolution. No Prague Spring.

Best of all, they'd have shredded Osama bin Laden, long before he'd even thought about turning his bearded crazies against America.

Batista would have splattered Fidel and Che all over the Sierra Maestra in Cuba. Same story for jokers like Geronimo, Zapata, and Pancho Villa.

And Nat Turner's slave rebellion in 1861 in Virginia would also have been instantly squelched: No need to put him into the history books by publicly hanging the guy, then flaying and beheading the corpse.

The Liquidator would have accomplished all that, and more -- but discretely.

I mean, guys, when you think about it, what we're really offering our clients is a real shot at "The End of History."