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    South Asia
     May 3, 2012


THE ROVING EYE
Confessions of an angry young drone
By Pepe Escobar

PARIS - These are tumultuous times in Droneland. Some bewildered United States drones are actually mired in second thoughts about their god-given mission - as expressed in detail to author and blogger David Swanson. [1] They even founded their own awareness group - DAWN (Drones Against War Now).

Others, meanwhile, remain downright defiant. Like this hunter/killer Predator, equipped with Hellfire missiles and sat-guided bombs who, on a strategic partnership visit to Paris, escaped to the chic cabinet of renowned Lacanian master Dr Bernard-Henri Puant in Saint Germain, not far from the Cafe de Flore of Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir fame, where they engaged in an impromptu psychoanalytic session.

The Predator was in Paris to manifest his support for extreme right-wing National Front leader Marine Le Pen ahead of Sunday's French presidential election run-off. He was trying to impress to

 

Madame Le Pen his competence as a trusted ally able to target the Islamicization of French society.

Now Dr Puant may claim a world first; he managed to put a drone on the divan. No one would ever be aware of the contents of their sensitive conversation had the Central Intelligence Agency - which had Dr Puant under surveillance - not intervened. But then the file was conveniently leaked to Medialand as an effort by the embattled Nicolas Sarkozy campaign to discredit the heavily politicized drone. The tactic may yet backfire.

What follows is a rough transcript.

Dr Puant: - Relax and drone downstream. What's on your mind?

Drone patient: - Doc, I'm swingin', big time. I'm a lean, mean, killing machine, the Almighty Predator, unleashing the Will of the Lord from on high. I got 10 million likes in my Facebook page - and counting. Check my infrared, my radar, my thermal ... Nowhere to hide, baby! Enemy insurgents, beware, 'cause I'm coming to get ya! All over. Even in the good ol' United States of America.

We got 63 secret, well, now not so secret, sites already - and counting. We are already one in every three US warplanes; by 2020 we will be an army of 30,000! We are a $30 billion-a-year industry - and counting. No less than 56 government agencies - and counting - depend on us.

Lobbying is swell - we got our 507 corporate members of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International raising major hell. Congress set up a caucus especially for us! Congress opened up all US airspace to us!

And my steel brothers, wow! Catwalk pros, Doc Shadowhawk's outfit now sports grenade launcher or shotgun, not to mention tear gas and rubber buckshot. Soon we will be nuclear! So everybody out there, better behave - and keep your eyes on the skies!

Dr Puant: But there must be a problem, otherwise you wouldn't be here.

Drone patient: That's right, Doc. And that concerns all those miscreants saying we're sort of, like, illegal killers. C'mon, we are model workers! We never complain. We never sleep. We don't engage in commie protests. These people don't seem to have listened to my mentor Mr Brennan [White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan]. [2]

He said that war is hell, and that, I quote, "Sometimes you have to take life to save lives."

C'mon Doc, we're good, clean, law-abiding citizens serving a higher purpose. If these people could just find some time to hang out with us, we could all share some trust and understanding. No beers, no, I don't drink.

And talk about our handlers! Such a hard life in those climate-controlled trailers ... They all love quality time with the family and a good night's sleep. Because next will be another tough day in front of the monitors, the console, the joystick. So many terrorists, so little time ..

Dr Puant: This means you're very proud of what you're doing.

Drone patient: Of course I'm proud! I'm proud that we are in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen. Got all those nice secret bases in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula - and the Seychelles as well, for our MQ-9 Reaper brothers. Gotta fight all those evil al-Qaeda spin-offs in Somalia and Yemen!

So what if we are targeting countries where technically the US isn't at war? The White House says we gotta do Yemen - so we do Yemen! Master Petraeus [CIA director general David Petraeus] fought hard to relax the rules of engagement. He's right. We answer to no one and we never say we're sorry.

Dr Puant: Yet you must admit there is a problem with these, how do you call it, "targeted strikes". What is known as "collateral damage". Schools in Pakistan hit by Hellfire missiles. Or the 16-year-old son of al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki; he was a US citizen.

Drone patient: What about our "collateral damage", Doc? We also have a heart! It hurts me so bad to think that one of our brothers crashed in Iran - and those evil mullahs eviscerated his body, instead of burying him in the sea, like we did with Osama bin Laden, and then showed it to the Soviets and the Chinks, and then went all out for reverse-engineering. They cloned us,

Doc! And then they say they are religious people ...

Doc, the president is a constitutional lawyer. He knows his shit. Our 2010 National Security Strategy says we "reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend our nation and our interests". So the White House has every right to go beyond "targeted" assassinations all the way to "signature strikes".

My masters at the Pentagon and the CIA have every right to call me to duty based on, I quote, "Patterns of behavior that are detected through signals intercepts, human sources and aerial surveillance, and that indicate the presence of an important operative or a plot against US interests."

Dr Puant: Tres bien. Now, tell me about your dreams.

Drone patient: Tell you what, Doc, what's with the women in this town? Are they hot or what? No burqas! No chadors! Legs! Lots of legs! Damn that AfPak hell, damn that Arab Spring, gimme Paris spring anytime!

To answer your question, I don't dream of electric sheep, Doc - that's sooo 60s. But I do freak out about rogue or frenemy states adopting stupid parliamentary resolutions blasting me and my brothers. Why, just because we fly in packs and buzz like bees, biding our time before we hit them with everything we got? God, I can't wait for the future of signature strikes. The whole thing would be so much easier if these dudes didn't all wear the same bloody pants and turbans and shit. Why don't they dress like us?

Dr Puant: Any particular enemies come to mind?

Drone patient: That one-eyed Taliban leader creep Mullah Omar. We should have signature-struck him a long time ago. Everybody knows he lives in Quetta [in Pakistan]. Now we also know he's been in cahoots with al-Qaeda terrorists all along - with Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, right under our radars.

Dr Puant: Do I sense a feeling of regret?

Drone patient: Oh yeah, Doc, regrets, I had a few. Ceasefire in AfPak? Will never work. Unless we target-kill all of them Taliban. Thank god the president signed the strategic partnership agreement with the Afghans. We'll keep at least 20,000 troops over there, and of course me and my brothers we will be signature-striking any misbehavin'.

But what I really regret, Doc, is that the president didn't trust me to do the OBL [Osama bin Laden] job. They say he wanted to be sure we actually got the real OBL, not a body double. But then they are face to face with the top HVT [high-value target] of all time. He's alone, he doesn't have a gun, he doesn't resist. And they shoot him in the head. Twice. Why not me? I would have performed a much more cinematic job. And we would all have the movie to prove it.

Dr Puant: So you are experiencing feelings of being rejected?

Drone patient: No, Doc, no, because there's still the final frontier. Africa, Doc! Can't wait to engage in a closer partnership with AFRICOM. All that virgin land - crammed with the most precious minerals anywhere, we gotta take it before the Chinese do. The battle for Africa is just beginning, Doc.

Sure, they all look the same, like those donkeys in Pakistan and Yemen, but what the hell, we only do precision strikes anyway. And then, outer space! We will crush insurgents in outer space, wherever they are. Achtung, baby - here we come!

Dr Puant: Your time is up. It's 1,200 - devalued - euros, s'il vous plait.

Drone patient: [Flying out of the window]- Doctor, doctor, gimme the news! I got a ... bad case of targeting you!

Notes
1. See here.
2. See here.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com

(Copyright 2012 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)





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6. US strikes a military pose for Iran

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(24 hours to 11:59pm ET, May 1, 2012)

 
 



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