Okay, my feelings about this war haven't changed. But as an unapologetic technogeek and aerospace enthusiast, a headline like that grabs my attention.
What, you got car bombs? Suicide bombers? Exploding camels? Fuck you! We got giant flying robots! You got any of those? Yeah, I didn't think so!
The actual aircraft they are refering to, the MQ-9 Reaper, isn't quite as impressive. Looks a bit ungainly, actually. But I wouldn't want to be on the business end of one.
"BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq - The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It's outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.
The Reaper is loaded, but there's no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada."
Speaking of which (in case this hadn't already occurred to you), you know that it is only a matter of time before domestic law enforcement starts adapting this technology (just like they have all other military weaponry - go watch a SWAT team train) and fills the skys with Predators, Reapers and Global Hawks. They will compliment street corner cameras with microphones to triangulate anything that sounds like gunfire (or subversive speech), red-light cams and GPS tracking of your cellphone.
If the United States survives the self-inflicted wounds of the last 6 years, it will do so as a robotic police state where there is no privacy, no anonymity and no freedom.
And that really sucks ass.
But, hey, if you aren't doing anything wrong that shouldn't bother you. Right?