How Drone Warfare Creates Terrorists
MQ-9 Reaper in flight.
No matter how much anyone talks about "surgical" strikes and precision bombing, air power and civilian deathsare inextricably bound together.
When men first made war in the air, the imagery that accompanied them was of knights joustingin the sky. Just check out movies like
,which won the first Oscar for Best Picture in 1927(or any Peanuts cartoon in which Snoopy takes on the Red Baron in a literal "dogfight"). As lateas 1986, five years after two American F-14s shot down two Soviet jets flown by Libyan pilots
over the Mediterranean's Gulf of Sidra, it was still possible to make the movie
. In it,Tom Cruise played "Maverick," a US Naval aviator triumphantly involved in a similar incident.(
shoots down three MiGs.)Admittedly, by then American air-power films had long been in decline. In Vietnam, the US hadused its air superiority to devastating effect, bombing the north and blasting the south, but go toAmerican Vietnam films and, while that US patrol walks endlessly into a South Vietnamesevillage with mayhem to come, the air is largely devoid of planes.Consider
an anomaly. Anyway, it's been 25 years since that filmtoppedthe box-office —and don't hold your breath for a repeat at your local multiplex. After all, there's nothing left to base such a film on.To put it simply, it's time for Americans to take the "war" out of "air war." These days, we need anew set of terms to explain what US air power actually does.