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Monday, January 21, 2019

by Cora Currier, ProPublica.


Everyone is talking about drones. Also known as Unmanned Arial Vehicles, or UAVs, remote-piloted aircrafts have become a controversial centerpiece of the Obama administration’s counter-terrorism strategy. Domestically, their surveillance power is being hyped for everything from fighting crime to monitoring hurricanes or spawning salmon. Meanwhile, concerns are cropping up about privacy, ethics and safety. We’ve rounded up some of the best coverage of drones to get you oriented. Did we miss anything? Let us know.

A Little History

The idea of unmanned flight had been around for decades, but it was in the 1990s, thanks to advances in GPS and computing, that the possibilities for drones really took off, as the New Yorker recently recounted. While hobbyists and researchers looked for uses for automated, airborne cameras, the military became the driving force behind drone developments. (This history from the Washington Post has more details) According to the Congressional Research Service, the military’s cache of U.A.V.’s has grown from just a handful in 2001 to more than 7,000 today. This New York Times graphic shows the variety of drones currently employed by the military — from the famous missile-launching Predator to tiny prototypes shaped like hummingbirds.

This February, Congress cleared the way for far more widespread use of drones by businesses, scientists, police and still unknown others. The Federal Aviation Administration will release a comprehensive set of rules on drones by 2015.

The Shadow Drone War: Obama’s Open Secret

As the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the Obama administration has escalated a mostly covert air war through clandestine bases in the U.S. and other countries. Just this week, the administration’s drone-driven national security policy was documented in this book excerpt by Newsweek reporter Daniel Klaidman and a New York Times article.

Both the CIA and military use drones for “targeted killings” of terrorist leaders. The strikes have been an awkward open secret, remaining officially classified while government officials mention them repeatedly. Obama admitted the program’s existence in an online chat in February, and his counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, gave a speech last month laying out the administration’s legal and ethical case for drone strikes.

The crux of it is that they are a precise and efficient form of warfare. Piloted from thousands of miles away (here’s an account from a base outside Las Vegas), they don’t put U.S. troops at risk, and, by the government’s count, harm few civilians.

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18 responses to “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Drones”


    • Bill says:

      What will we not learn? Expand on your typical conservative crap!!

      • oldtack says:

        How can Barndung expand on what we will never learn if as it is apparent he has no concept of reality on anything. Look at his profile.

        • Bill says:

          That is one slanted profile but I would still like these right wingers to explain their statements or have some facts. I know this is a lot to ask of someone who believes in the trickle down theory of lowering taxes for the rich. The only trickle down that I know of is when I don’t shake it enough after peeing

          • ObozoMustGo says:

            Billy… keep your prostate business to yourself, please! 🙂

            Have a nice day!

    • dtgraham says:

      I’ve seen your posts here before. It’s amazing to me that you leave your full name and photo avatar. If this was the depths of my posts, I’d sure want to be anonymous. You guys in the caps lock brigade, on the right, actually believe you’re making good points don’t you?

    • Ford Truck says:

      And you Retardlicans will NEVER learn!!

    • ObozoMustGo says:

      Hey Barn! Welcome to the sea of leftist insanity that is The Memo. I am one of a few life rafts of truth floating around in this sea of leftist insanity. You will quickly learn that the leftist nutjobs on this site are not very welcoming to opposing views or conservatives. Funny thing is that they live in their own little bubbles and believe the rest of the world thinks like they do. Reality is a harsh master for most of them.

      Keep fighting the good fight.

      Have a great day!

      • shadeaux14 says:


        I think your raft has sprung a leak.

      • poppabear42 says:

        Please be as honest as you are stupid, Just what are republicans trying to prove? Why would any of you try to prevent another U.S. citizen from their right to vote?

        • ObozoMustGo says:

          How do you know they are a US Citizen?

          • poppabear42 says:

            These people have been voting for years, some probably before you were born. Also, why are you claiming top be so interested at this time? It hasen’t made any difference before. Thia is something that should have been done when Bush’s brother cheated him into a 2nd term. And I do not care, because it still a sickening reality that you people would even attempt to take this country backward a hundred years. But, that is the way of a repukeions. But, guess what, God is watching you antics, and he ain’t happy. And carma is a bitch. “Poppabear” Subject: [thenationalmemo] Re: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Drones

          • ObozoMustGo says:


            Are you discriminated against when you cannot get on an airplane without photo ID? Is this “travel disenfrancisement”?

            Are you discriminated against when you cannot get a hotel room without photo ID? Is this “hospitality disenfrancisement”?

            Are you discriminated against when you are stopped for speeding and the police ask you for your photo ID? Is this “vehicular disenfrancisement”?

            Are you discriminated against when you cannot pick up your prescription drugs without photo ID? Is this “pharmaceutical disenfrancisement”?

            What kind of idiot like you actually thinks that people cannot get an ID? Only the most hardcore useful idiot and leftist nutjob like you actually buys that crap.

            What kind of moron doesn’t want integrity in the voting booth? 80% of Americans supports voter ID laws. Not a moron like you, though. Unless you’re not a moron and you actually support the idea that illegals and non-citizens should be allowed to vote. If that is the case, you be honest as much as you are stupid and say so. But then again, you wont be getting around the moron trap, regardless of how you answer. You’re hopelessly an idiot!

            Wipe the drool from your chin, you slack-jawed retard.

            And have a nice day!

    • poppabear42 says:

      You are as pathetic as republicans are stupid. My proof of this is the undeniable fact, that anybody that would stoop low enough to blatantly try to prevent anybody from voting, are detrimental to anything that would make the United States of America the country They are just “Faking the Funk.” And if they buy this election, we will NEVER reach that status. Thanks for your assessment of the TRUE Americans, we’re not confused any longer.

  2. ObozoMustGo says:

    Here’s a new word for all you leftist nutjobs out there that describes Obozo’s tenure and his “fundamental transformation of America” quite well…

    Ineptocracy – (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) — A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

    There’s a lot in that definition, my leftist nutjob friends. Keep reading it. You may actually understand it at some point.

    Have a nice day!

  3. Don B says:

    If concservatives today had anything worthwhile saying I’m sure it would be agreeable to most people–but apparently the Nazification of the Radical Right leaves them with the impression that their world view is the only one worth having. As to “drones” I recommend that anyone who sees one flying over their yard or negihborhood give it the “one-finbgered” salue or drop your pants and give them a “moonshot”. I am……

  4. Don B says:

    The only loonies around are the Radical Right and its Nazified agenda. For one, if I see one of these drones overhead, I intend to give it the one fingered salute or drop my pants and give it a “moonshot”–that’s how much I think of this measure “protecting me and the security of our country”. Congress could have the government “go green” by recycling both the Patriot Act and the Dept. of Homeland Security into a big roll of Charmin…..

  5. DaMarci says:

    Drones, what could be better to make US one step ahead of her contemporaries. But when one was shut down at Iran, and it continued to sit their like a dummy, I began to wonder where the magic is.
    What drones should do as in the case of the one that dropped down at Iran, should be part of the plan of the construction. If it cannot disappear in such a case, let it explode at the first contact with human, or a technological object. The drone will not be a great achievement if the science should be re-employed by other people it gets incontact with.
    Remember what made America a super power was Atomic bombs, but when USSR copied it, America began to negotiate issues that it should not have, with Rusia.
    I love drones.

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