An essential and page-turning narrative on the history of drone warfare by the acclaimed author of Rumsfeld, exploring how this practice emerged, who made it happen, and the real consequences of targeted killing
Assassination by drone is a subject of deep and enduring fascination. Yet few understand how and why this has become our principal way of waging war. Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story; its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs that made UAV operations possible, the ways in which the technology works and, despite official claims, does not work. Taking the reader inside the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests - military, CIA and corporate - that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy -- and the multi-billion dollar contracts they spawn -- have been put to the test. Drawing on sources deep in the military and intelligence establishments, Andrew Cockburn's Kill Chain unveils the true effects, as demonstrated by bloody experience, of assassination warfare, a revelation that readers will find surprising as well as shocking.
To military planners, drone warfare makes a lot of sense and embodies the "enduringly desirable attributes of speed, range, precision, and lethality'": it requires fewer troops on the ground, has the opportunity to kill only targeted individuals, and theoretically doesn't require a lengthy campaign. Yet as national security specialist Cockburn (Rumsfeld) shows in this history of the practice, the grim reality is often anything but. Cockburn's contacts in the military apparatus allow him to describe a program rooted in emotional button-pushing over the war on terror that was riddled with egos, overzealous commanders, dead civilians, and lucrative government contracts for a weapon whose performance was often less accurate than promised. Troublingly, Cockburn says, taking out a high-ranking target a primary goal of drone warfare often creates a power vacuum. As an intelligence officer noted of the situation in Iraq: "We kept decapitating the leadership of these groups, and more leaders would just appear from the ranks to take their place." The program and its effects both intended and not are ripe for a takedown and Cockburn admirably explains the strategies, intentions, and emotions that continue to surround the program. As he says in the book's closing chapter, whether it's working or not, "the assassination machine is here to stay."
Open Your Mind to the Lucrative Transformation of America’s Defense Spending
Follow along from the Vietnam War, to Kosovo, to IRAQ and now Yemen, the defense industry's slow yet deliberate development of, every defense nerds wet dream, the a super network of robotic surveillance. What can be described as the modern day Manhattan project, and showered with code names to provide the illusion of security, the United States Defense industry has systematically, and often times against better judgment, adopted the network or networks, a weapons system ultimately aimed against whole populations, unable to distinguish civilian from military aged males, *I mean enemy fighter* but as you will read, who really can tell the difference anyway, a drone's video feed is equivalent to 20/200 vision. Suspect military bookkeeping and exaggerated weapons testing results have allowed the defense industry to do away with valuable weapons such as the A-10 fighter and replaced them with faulty drones such as Global Hawk. A must read!