Copyright 2010 by John T. Reed

No one has yet asked me if there is ANYTHING Obama has done that I agree with. But I’ll answer that question anyway.

There is one thing. I like his use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

They seem to work pretty well, not perfectly. What is surprising is that Obama is willing to settle for the imperfection. The standard line of the ultra left anti-military people is that the U.S. military has to be perfect to win their approval. Since they know perfection is not possible, they are just saying they hate all things military and could not care less about national defense without coming out and admitting it clearly.

I have read about drones and seen a number of documentaries about them. I am impressed.

Lack of encryption

There are problems and limitations. The news media recently reported that the enemy was watching the live TV feed from drones flying above them spying on them. That is just stupid. When I was a communications officer in Vietnam, we had encryption machines that attached to the radios. I had trouble getting my idiot fellow officers to use them. They thought the “land lines” were secure. In fact, the so-called “land lines”—black desk telephones that went through a switchboard—used microwave to reach other bases. And the Soviet Union had “fishing trawlers” off the coast monitoring all of those calls.

Anyway, if we had encryption technology in 1969, there sure as hell have it in 2010. But they decided the Afghans were so dumb they did not need to use it. No. It’s the American military that’s dumb. They will fix it belatedly.

Anti-aircraft weapons

Another issue I have not seen addressed is anti-aircraft weapons. This, I think is a poetic issue.

The drones are depicted in the media as ultra high tech. Nah. They are horse shit aircraft. Very slow moving and relatively low altitude. The 1942 German Army would have easily blown them all out of the sky in minutes. The 1999 Serbian Army did blow 42 U.S. drones out of the air “quickly” acording to a 2/22/10 Assoicated Press story.

Their main virtue is long flight time and no human pilot on board. Their cameras and lenses are probably better than anything we had in 1969, but otherwise, they sound like model airplanes

So why haven’t the Taliban and al Qaeda shot them down with old-time anti-aircraft weapons? It requires heavy machine guns like quad .50 caliber. Or 20mm anti-aircraft cannon. The Germans had 88’s (88mm cannons).

Why don’t they have those? Because their lives depend on getting away with claiming to be innocent civilians. They can dump small arms like AK-47s, RPGs, or hand grenades when you approach. But it’s hard to hide—or explain— a quad .50 or a 20mm. If the enemy ever used one, the U.S. would swarm the area with more drones or piloted aircraft, quickly locate and vaporize the enemy gun and gunners.

I thought the B-52 was the perfect weapon for Vietnam. The problem was our civilian bosses were too wimpy about using them. It was the only weapon that destroyed the enemy tunnel complexes. It was so powerful (2,000 pound bombs) that even survivors of such attacks were screwed up. By that I mean things like deafness and shell shock. I lived through one once. Our buildings all shook violently about every 6 seconds—so violently that they made a loud building-shaking noise. We heard no other noise like explosions, saw no flashes or smoke. Why not? The arc light (B-52 dropping 2,000-pound bombs) was 20 miles away! When you flew over Vietnam, you would see what appeared to be thousands of round swimming pools full of azure blue water. Those were B-52 bomb craters—the size of houses—with white-sand bottoms because the soil of Vietnam is white sand. The water was from the rain that is very plentiful there year round.

Perfect weapons for Iraq and Afghanistan

The armed drones may be the perfect weapon for Iraq and Afghanistan. They can see great distances in night and day. That video feed, on an enemy in Iraq or Afghanistan, goes back to the “pilot” of the drone, typically a formerly video-game-playing teenage airman sitting in a room at Nellis Air Force Base which is just north of Las Vegas, NV. I kid you not. He or she either watches and records a suspected enemy, or blows that enemy away with the rockets on the drone, or calls in bigger drones or piloted aircraft or artillery to take out the target. No U.S. casualties. Many enemy casualties. Ooorah! That’s is the way U.S. combat is supposed to go. They die. We don’t.

In the normal Iraq and much Afghan combat, we die by IED and the enemy does not even get shot at.

‘Predator porn’

Then there’s “predator porn.” When we first started fighting in the Middle East, ever outrageous Don Imus took to referring to the residents of that part of the world as “goat-humping rag-heads.” Drones flying above Afghanistan looking down on shepherds at night confirmed both parts of Imus’s description.

Even Obama has the guts to use drones

Obama, who seems terrified of hurting the feelings of Muslims or violating their civil rights, apparently has no qualms at blowing them away by the handfuls, along with any innocents who happen to be accompanying them. I regret the loss of innocent lives, but that’s on the enemy. They know they can protect those women and children and old guys by staying away from them. They want them dead to use their bodies for propaganda. So be it.

So Obama seems to be doing the right thing when it comes to drone use. I guess the out-of-sight, out-of-mind aspect enables him to fight at least that aspect of the war while he’s pussy-footing around trying to please the military-hating left in all other aspects of the wars.

Thank God for small military favors.

John T. Reed