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US drone lost over Iraq
August 27, 2001 5:44 AM   Subscribe

US drone lost over Iraq - It seems it's only a matter of time before they shoot down a piloted plane (even if by accident). What are we still trying to accomplish over there and what would the reaction be if they succeed?
posted by revbrian (15 comments total)

 
The point of the predator UAV is that it is MEANT to be shot down. It flies slow, but does not capture any local data (it sends it back in real-time) so there isn't an intelligence penalty associated with a downed drone. UAVs are cheap and effective for the data they collect. Especially when you consider the value of a pilot's life. While Iraq does have better weaponry today than their laughable equipment during desert storm, I'd venture a guess that we'll always be a step ahead of them when it comes to protecting our fighter pilots.
posted by machaus at 6:01 AM on August 27, 2001


[The point of the predator UAV is that it is MEANT to be shot down. ]

I'm not really taking issue with that. Out of shear luck they'll manage to hit one of our planes eventually. Didn't they almost shoot one down about a month ago?

I just don't understand what we are trying to accomplish over there anymore.

As for desert storm, most of what I've heard has said that superior tactics and training was what really gave us the edge. No doubt our technology is superior, but they couldn't even effectively use what they had.
posted by revbrian at 6:15 AM on August 27, 2001


Sad that we seem to lack anything regarding a consistent, clear policy on what the hell we are doing over there. Maxim (always the most reliable, insightful source for media coverage *smirk*) this month had an article on his kids. Anyway, that we waste all this money doing these pointless sorties (I have cousins who fly these missions) for a reason that is outdated (protecting the Kurds so they can revolt, etc.) seems so silly to me. If they shoot down a plane, expect that Dubya will put on his cowboy hat and launch a larger raid (visions of Dr. Strangelove running through my head). Which will incur the criticism of Russia and the Chinese.

Yes, we are a step ahead of them, perhaps more than a step, but it seems so pointless to me to keep flying these missions. If you don't want him to have a nuke, there seem to be better ways to make sure of this. I can't believe that 10 years later it is still the same story.
posted by adampsyche at 6:17 AM on August 27, 2001


Interesting name, Predator. Why does the US, a nation that says it needs huge armed forces and ultra-sophisticated weaponry purely for defense purposes, pick such aggressive names for its military hardware?
posted by beagle at 7:00 AM on August 27, 2001


One of these fell off the sky in Kosovo. They are not all that reliable. I doubt the Iraqis even shot this one. Saddam has always taken credit for accidental finds. Lest we forget that he was losing to Iran when he accepted cease-fire for his first Gulf war. Iraq and its army are more over rated than N*sync or Garth Brooks/Chris Gaines.
posted by tamim at 7:07 AM on August 27, 2001


"... sixty-nine billion in the last twenty years
spent on national defense but folks still live in fear"

- mos def, mathematics

kinda says it all for me...
posted by sawks at 7:10 AM on August 27, 2001


Resistance is futile.
posted by zanpo at 7:15 AM on August 27, 2001


Whatever you think of "W", Clinton or George Bush, there is a legitimate point to keeping an eye on Iraq, namely, nuclear, biological and chemical proliferation.

As for intelligence being gathered (arms, stuff crossing the border), don't expect that to be announced on the evening news.

Of course, most or all of much intelligence can be gathered by satellite. So employing drones is probably to test Iraq's defense defensive weapon systems.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:23 AM on August 27, 2001


I totally agree that we need to keep tabs on Saddam (whose name I was called during the Gulf War...S-Adam Hussein), but I don't particularly think the methodology (or what we are told about) can do a damned bit of good. If they know where the stuff is, take it out. Better than *only* flying around all day and launching missiles at fiber optic cables. It just seems like a half-measure to me. But I could be wrong. And since I am on MeFi, I probably am ;-)
posted by adampsyche at 7:40 AM on August 27, 2001


Whatever you think of "W", Clinton or George Bush, there is a legitimate point to keeping an eye on Iraq, namely, nuclear, biological and chemical proliferation.

Can we not just check our invoices? After all, we sold Iraq most of his kit.
posted by holgate at 8:24 AM on August 27, 2001


Can we not just check our invoices? After all, we sold Iraq most of his kit.

I doubt that's true, at least any more. We didn't sell them the weapons we're affraid of. They're home-brewed, or being sold by the "usual suspects."
posted by ParisParamus at 9:19 AM on August 27, 2001


revbrian, I guess my comment came more from an economic standpoint than a policy one. I feel that we will be keeping tabs on them regardless, and at least the predator offers a cost for gain ratio that is uniquely successful in today's military industrial complex. UAVs remind me a lot of similar efforts within NASA to use some common sense and produce smaller scale projects that do only what is required. I don't see why it is pointless to keep flying these missions. They have produced results in terms of giving us the latitude to destroy their radar systems. It's all a big picture that will never be made clearly public due to national security concerns. And to beagle's point, the US didn't name it Predator, General Dynamics did. Would you buy furniture from a store called Unpainted Huffheim's?
posted by machaus at 9:56 AM on August 27, 2001


I would imagine at some point in the next 20 years there won't be a reason to have human pilots (at least in the planes themselves). Same would go for tanks, etc.
posted by revbrian at 10:20 AM on August 27, 2001


Why does the US, a nation that says it needs huge armed forces and ultra-sophisticated weaponry purely for defense purposes, pick such aggressive names for its military hardware?

Yeah, like: Pave Penny, Seek Spinner, Penguin, Maverick, Sparrow, Magic, Durandal, Paveway, Have Lite, and Tacit Rainbow. (That last one is especially warlike, isn't it?)

A lot of weapon names are chosen by the vendors. They believe -- wrongly -- that professional warfighters will be influenced by a "fierce" name.
posted by joaquim at 3:01 PM on August 27, 2001


Yeah, I think that it will be OK.
posted by jaynesbit at 4:17 PM on August 27, 2001


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