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From birthers to drones

Drone aircraftThe latest popular conspiracy theory about Barack Obama is that he is planning drone attacks against his opponents in the US. People who believe this are popularly called “drones.” Rand Paul has popularized this idea with his recent filibuster before the Senate.

Like all good rumors, it starts with a fact, that the Obama Administration has not ruled out the use of drone attacks in the United States in extraordinary situations. The fuel of conspiracy theories is highly implausible things that can’t be 100% ruled out. Of course, administrations generally don’t want to tie their hands by ruling things out and if Obama really intended mass drone attacks on American citizens, wouldn’t he just lie about it?

burial vault photoThis theory follows on a long line of ideas floating around among the more paranoid-styled folks. The FEMA Camp Coffins story is going around again; I just saw it in an ad at WND.COM. You also see ima­ges of FEMA detention centers (surprisingly located in North Korea). That well-known debunking organization Popular Mechanics magazine has even gotten involved in the story. Yes, it’s old news, but in the world of Internet rumors and chain emails, old stuff is as current as today’s tabloid newspaper.

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41 Responses to From birthers to drones

  1. avatar
    donna March 9, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    there seems to be some “droning on” among the ranks and rants in the GOP

    from the WSJ

    Calm down, Senator. Mr. Holder is right, even if he doesn’t explain the law very well. The U.S. government cannot randomly target American citizens on U.S. soil or anywhere else. What it can do under the laws of war is target an “enemy combatant” anywhere at anytime, including on U.S. soil. This includes a U.S. citizen who is also an enemy combatant. The President can designate such a combatant if he belongs to an entity—a government, say, or a terrorist network like al Qaeda—that has taken up arms against the United States as part of an internationally recognized armed conflict. That does not include Hanoi Jane.

    Such a conflict exists between the U.S. and al Qaeda, so Mr. Holder is right that the U.S. could have targeted (say) U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki had he continued to live in Virginia. The U.S. killed him in Yemen before he could kill more Americans. But under the law Awlaki was no different than the Nazis who came ashore on Long Island in World War II, were captured and executed.

    The country needs more Senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324128504578344700320290068.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    the quote about “political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms” was reiterated by mccain on the senate floor

    lindsey graham on the senate floor: “I don’t remember any of you suggesting that President Bush was going to kill someone with a drone,” Graham said, addressing fellow Republican senators. “What are we up to here?”

    expect more of this – this am i heard they are working on drones containing sniper rifles to aim at targets

  2. avatar
    Paper March 9, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Well, at this point, droners will have to fall back on saying the Administration is lying, because Holder clarified with a new letter to Senator Rand explicitly ruling it out:

    “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”

  3. avatar
    Paper March 9, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Nevertheless, I know my family is eating this up for their conspiracy breakfast. It fits completely with the scenario I have been told to expect. I haven’t heard anything yet (been too busy to touch base on this), but, regardless of Holder’s explicit “no,” I am expecting an email or phone call saying “I told you so.”

  4. avatar
    Paper March 9, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Senators McCain and Graham also highlighted historical examples of military action, such as in World War II, against American citizens on US soil who had been collaborating with the enemy at the time.

    donna:

    lindsey graham on the senate floor:…

  5. avatar
    Suranis March 9, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Yeah, I mean if some idiots do something on American soil that requires calling in the Army, then of course Drones could be used. Or is using tanks and gunships against Americans moral while somehow using drones are not?

  6. avatar
    Scientist March 9, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    I have to confess to mixed feelings about this. I think there are valid concerns that have been raised by non-crazy people on the right and the left about how far the powers of the executive extend to targeted killings. For example, laws forbid the US intentionally assassinating foreign leaders, even one like Kim, who has recently threatened nuclear attack (doubtless a bluff, but still disturbing). Yet, there were bombing attacks clearly aimed at Gaddafi and Saddam. Were those technically illegal? Maybe. Al-Awlaki was certainly targeted killing of a US citizen, but under circumstances where an arrest may well have been unfeasible. I don’t see the difference in that case between using a drone vs a manned aircraft or Seals on the ground.

    As far as within the US, there is no question that an arrest is the proper course of action, and targeted killings are forbidden, whether the party is a citizen or not. That’s what happened with the Germans on Long Island-they were arrested. Yet, sometimes armed suspects resist arrest and are killed. In that respect, I don’t see the difference between cops on the ground, in helicopters or drones. Dead is dead. Anyway, Holder has said there will not be targeted killings on US soil, which is good.

    But this isn’t birtherism; it’s an area where reasonable people can disagree. And the concerns are not limited to Obama; the same applies to any President.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 9, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    This article marks perhaps a slight shift in direction for this blog. Until now, it’s been pretty much restricted to birthers. While I don’t plan to personally debunk the broader range of conspiracy theories, I will report on some and link to the debunking of others.

  8. avatar
    Gabe March 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Paper:
    Well, at this point, droners will have to fall back on saying the Administration is lying, because Holder clarified with a new letter to Senator Rand explicitly ruling it out:

    “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”

    There is this rather tongue in check movie called, “The Dinner Game”
    most of the writers on this blog, would be ideal candidates as one of the guest they seek out to invite to dinner. A line in the movie directed at a very likeable character who was chosen to be a guest is, “does he every stop” with the answer being, “no”. It is comical in the movie the way the “guest” interprets life, applied to reality such as the postings, hereabout, it is sad.

  9. avatar
    SueDB March 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    I would imagine that until the declaration of Martial Law…Americans stateside would be off limits. Possibly without Martial Law but only if the posse comitatus laws were negated/repealed etc. That would have to be by the Congress….Good eff’en luck with Congress.

  10. avatar
    Paper March 9, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Remade as Schmucks.

    Gabe:

    There is this rather tongue in check movie called, “The Dinner Game”

  11. avatar
    Paper March 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Right, but by the military, and tried in military court.

    As you say, there are important questions throughout. The problem with conspiracy thinking, to my mind, is that it short circuits the important questions in favor of nonsense.

    Scientist:
    That’s what happened with the Germans on Long Island-they were arrested.

  12. avatar
    justlw March 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    If I were choosing from among the people who post to this blog, I would ask, “Has he ever figured out how to use the ‘Quote’ function correctly?”

    It wouldn’t be the only question, but it would be a useful first one.

  13. avatar
    Scientist March 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Paper:
    Right, but by the military, and tried in military court.

    As you say, there are important questions throughout.The problem with conspiracy thinking, to my mind, is that it short circuits the important questions in favor of nonsense.

    Because they were agents of a hostile state and their actions fell under the established laws of war. Had they been in uniform, they would not have been tried at all, but would have been held as POWs. Being out of uniform, they were spies, subject to execution. Al Qaeda and affiliated groups fall into a grey area that 12 years after 9/11 still hasn’t been definitively sorted out.

    I frankly didn’t hear more than a tiny bit of Rand Paul’s marathon, so I really can’t say whether he strayed into conspiracy territory. I have my doubts whether he would have done the same if it were the Romney administration, but even though there were clearly partisan motivations, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t legitimate questions. A couple of Democrats voted no and one supported the filibuster. I do like that Paul actually did a real, as opposed to the silent, filibuster that passes for legislation these days.

  14. avatar
    Majority Will March 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Gabe: applied to reality such as the postings, hereabout, it is sad.

    Actually, the steaming pile of blatant lies and birther bigot bullsh1t you’ve posted is more pathetic and despicable than just sad.

  15. avatar
    Kiwiwriter March 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    I’m not happy with the idea of drones being used to target people on American soil…if you commit a crime on American soil, even espionage, the goal should be arrest and trial, not shooting, unless there is a “clear and present danger.” I would rather drones be used to guide human beings with powers of decision to the scene of a situation, such as an armed bunch of renegades, or a Buford Furrow, to apprehend him.

    This doesn’t relate to birthers, unless they bring it up in their whining…I don’t think it goes here.

  16. avatar
    Paper March 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Not just those who landed here, but the American citizens who lived here who were helping them. They got caught, and the American citizens, nit just the foreign agents, were tried in military court.

    The gray area you mention is the heart of the problem here and now. It’s not like al Queda is a state/government. It has the potential to be quite indeterminate in time. And that raises a lot of issues about endless war.

    I liked it being a real filibuster, too. As I did when Bernie Sanders did it.

    In Rand’s case, the overall issue does need addressing, and it is nice for pressure to come from all sides.

    But Rand’s question in its specifics was conspiratorially minded, and somewhat childish in its egging on. It isn’t really a seriously honest question to ask if the president can target American citizens here who are not acting as combatants. That was Rand’s question, not even about Americans who are acting as combatants. (Some of the confusion arose over that distinction, so that Holder was first discussing a potential extreme case of a combatant, which has its own concerns, but is different and not as shocking.)

    I was more interested in the next day’s critique by McCain and Graham, where they pointed out the obvious that targeting a non-combatant American would be murder, and where Graham pointed out that no Republicans had questioned George Bush about his use of drones. So, asked Graham, what are we doing here? Graham repeated over and over how much he disagreed with Obama on many matters, but basically he was asking why this president, what is different with this president? A question we here know all too well.

    Scientist: Because they were agents of a hostile state and their actions fell under the established laws of war.Had they been in uniform, they would not have been tried at all, but would have been held as POWs.Being out of uniform, they were spies, subject to execution.Al Qaeda and affiliated groups fall into a grey area that 12 years after 9/11 still hasn’t been definitively sorted out.

    I frankly didn’t hear more than a tiny bit of Rand Paul’s marathon, so I really can’t say whether he strayed into conspiracy territory.I have my doubts whether he would have done the same if it were the Romney administration, but even though there were clearly partisan motivations, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t legitimate questions.A couple of Democrats voted no and one supported the filibuster.I do like that Paul actually did a real, as opposed to the silent, filibuster that passes for legislation these days.

  17. avatar
    Steve March 10, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    The thing is the RWNJs are saying that anyone who opposes the Obama administration may be considered “enemy combatants.”

  18. avatar
    Suranis March 10, 2013 at 1:41 am #

    If they actually believed that they would be as quiet as mice. These guys are loud bullys and cowards, and yelling stuff that would get them killed is not in their nature.

  19. avatar
    Steve March 10, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    Suranis: If they actually believed that they would be as quiet as mice. These guys are loud bullys and cowards, and yelling stuff that would get them killed is not in their nature.

    A few weeks ago, I read a piece that listed several tweets that included threats to kill President Obama if he took their guns.
    The article pointed out that those tweets made a pretty good case that those people were too unbalanced to be allowed to own guns.

  20. avatar
    Paper March 10, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    Best discussion on the topic was on Saturday morning’s Chris Hayes. Just catching up on my DVR.

    Scientist: … that doesn’t mean that there aren’t legitimate questions….

  21. avatar
    Scientist March 10, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    Paper: Not just those who landed here, but the American citizens who lived here who were helping them. They got caught, and the American citizens, nit just the foreign agents, were tried in military court.

    The World War II precedents are not necessarily what most people today would support. For example, I doubt you would argue that the interning of Japanese-Americans, which the Supreme Court approved, would justify interning Islamic-Americans today. I think anyone on US soil aiding Al Qaeda can be very adequately dealt with in civilian courts. There are quite a few examples who are serving life or decades-long prison sentences.

    Even for those abroad, as long as arrest is feasible, I think the courts can deal with them. I support the decision to try the recently arrested bin Laden son-in-law in Federal Court. I supported that for KSM, whose trial at Gitmo may still be awaiting the working out of procedures while the son-in-law serves his time in the Super Max. The arguments about a security nightmare in Lower Manhattan were overblown, in my opinion. No one is going to spring KSM from the courthouse.

    I believe that treating these people as criminals, rather than as some super group of warriors, is the best way to damage their image in their own eyes and those of their supporters and potential supporters. Nothing would make KSM look more like the seedy POS that he is than to see him in court like a common crook, yet getting a fair trial from the nation he attacked. Unfortunately, even if they do ever get around to that at Gitmo, no one will see it.

  22. avatar
    Keith March 10, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    Scientist: I believe that treating these people as criminals, rather than as some super group of warriors, is the best way to damage their image in their own eyes and those of their supporters and potential supporters. Nothing would make KSM look more like the seedy POS that he is than to see him in court like a common crook, yet getting a fair trial from the nation he attacked. Unfortunately, even if they do ever get around to that at Gitmo, no one will see it.

    I think that is the most correctest thing you’ve said, ever. And you have said a hell of a lot of correct things on here.

  23. avatar
    Gabe March 10, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    Majority Will: Actually, the steaming pile of blatant lies and birther bigot bullsh1t you’ve posted is more pathetic and despicable than just sad.

    Majority Will, “The Dinner Game” would like to have you as a guest.

  24. avatar
    Paper March 10, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    I actually agree with you 100%. Indeed, I have been an active proponent of all those considerations, and don’t get me started about the internment camps. I also think the current Congressional military authorizations should be repealed, the 2001 terrorist authorization and the Iraq 2002 authorization. The 2012 National Defense Act doesn’t help either.

    What I support and what is legal are separate matters.

    For all the talk of how Obama, in these aspects, is the same as Bush, I note a key difference: Obama proceeds legally, with laws passed by Congress (see the aforementioned 2012 National Defense Act as one example) while Bush (and by Bush I mean Cheney, at least in the beginning) just did x, y and z claiming a unitary privilege.

    Thus, what I note is that Rand’s conspiratorial misdirection is about blurring the issue rather than really grappling with it. (He turned a measured theoretical response about an American combatant, however troubling, into Jane Fonda at a cafe being bombed by a drone). He’s bragging now, but the relevant memos were released before his filibuster.

    I think it is all good to get discussion going however it gets going, but not if it remains on the ground Rand offers. Despite a few side forays into some of the more important aspects, which no one will even know about unless they are a policy geek listening to everything, he is taking credit for getting the Adminstration to draw a line over the most obvious, least likely, most conspiratorial point.

    We all are concerned, but to inflame the conspiratorial demons over whether or not *this* president (not the previous president, who also used drones) would kill unarmed, peaceful American citizens on American soil with a drone from the clear blue sky? It is satisfying to get a clear “no” in response, but really? This is your (Rand’s) big reason to filibuster Brennan’s nomination, when there are more important and real and pressing matters involving the same conflict (terrorism) right at hand? Really? Your (Rand’s) biggest worry is that the President wants to retain the right to assassinate innocent Americans at home?

    If that can be one goad among many to a real conversation, great. But how many get past the conspiratorial sound bite? We may, if we can set Rand to the side.

    The issues are not about some conspiratorial abuse. They are about us as a society, especially as focused and/or refracted through the lens of our government.

    In a clear war or insurrection, Americans should be aware that war is war, that dealing with even American citizen combatants wherever they may be in such a war is perfectly legal. I mean, as long as we go to war as a race, no society or government is going to give up that right. We can hope to ameliorate the issue, but war is nasty for a reason. That is not conspiracy, however much we may not like it.

    But given this conflict with a certain brand of terrorists, yes, while it may be all legal, there are, in my opinion, shared with you, huge benefit and ramfications to dealing with these terrorists as criminals, rather than elevating them be treating them as combatants in a war.

    As much as I appreciated McCain’s and Graham’s clarity about the fine-grained sopcific legalities of military intervention, I am 180 degrees opposite in their commitment to treating ongoing terrorism as a war.

    But you wouldn’t even get started with any of that, if you just stayed with Rand’s big “point.” To put it as one our friendly natural homegrown conspiracy theorists might put it: watch out, the government wants the right to kill you.

    Scientist: The World War II precedents are not necessarily what most people today would support.For example, I doubt you would argue…

    …I think anyone on US soil aiding Al Qaeda can be very adequately dealt with in civilian courts….

    I believe that treating these people as criminals, rather than as some super group of warriors, is the best way…

  25. avatar
    Majority Will March 10, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Keith: I think that is the most correctest thing you’ve said, ever. And you have said a hell of a lot of correct things on here.

    Seconded.

  26. avatar
    justlw March 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    For a little while I was wondering if Gabe was a sock puppet for Apuzzo, as he exhibits the same tendency to beat a specific boilerplate ad hominem attack to death when he’s on the losing side of a discussion.

    But Mario actually knows how to format replies — even when it’s “late in the day,” so to speak.

  27. avatar
    Daniel March 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    The question that the wingnuts should be asking is not “would he”, but rather “why would anyone bother?”. Of all the ways available on US soil to target and remove an individual group, the drone is likely the least efficient and least likely to succeed, and hardest to cover up.

    Drones don’t make very good conspiracy weapons, compared to an assassin with a suppressed firearm, or brake line cutters.

    Why do wingnuts, when presented with multiple unlikely scenarios, always pick the most outlandish and most unlikely?

  28. avatar
    sfjeff March 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Daniel: The question that the wingnuts should be asking is not “would he”, but rather “why would anyone bother?”. Of all the ways available on US soil to target and remove an individual group, the drone is likely the least efficient and least likely to succeed, and hardest to cover up.Drones don’t make very good conspiracy weapons, compared to an assassin with a suppressed firearm, or brake line cutters.Why do wingnuts, when presented with multiple unlikely scenarios, always pick the most outlandish and most unlikely?

    Exactly- this focus on drones when there are so many ways availible to kill people- frankly people have drones on the brain.

    I think the Obama administration was being too honest. They should have just said “Of course we wont’ be killing Americans on U.S.” rather than trying to give a nuanced answer.

    We all know that they would drop a bomb or snipe- or kill by any means necessary to prevent nuclear attack or a bio attack or something similar.

    I know I would.

    But nuanced doesn’t work well in today’s atmosphere.

  29. avatar
    Thinker March 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Drones, pfffft. People should be worrying about disintegrating heart attack darts. 😛

  30. avatar
    Greenfinches March 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Majority Will: Keith: I think that is the most correctest thing you’ve said, ever. And you have said a hell of a lot of correct things on here.

    Seconded.

    and (as it were) thirded.

    if what he did was a crime (and it was) then treat him like a criminal!

  31. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG March 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Drones seem to make the birthers especially nervous.
    I think they fear that all of their cries for sedition and their talk of lynchings and murder earned them a place in the cross hairs.

  32. avatar
    Thomas Brown March 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    I can see a drone killing a citizen.

    Say an informant provides last-minute notice that Tim Mc Veigh’s nephew in a vendetta against the gubbmint is driving a truck bomb from Boise to Seattle.

    The administration decides to minimize the casualties by authorizing an unmanned drone attack while he’s still on sparsely-trafficked highways.

    Objections?

  33. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    I’m not that comfortable with the particular scenario. In general you don’t kill someone when you think they are about to commit a crime. Minimizing the number of casualties has a goal of zero, not one.

    If I understand the concept, drones are used in places and situations where it is difficult to project other kinds of force and where the population may be hostile, creating a high-casualty situation if ground forces are used. The situations in the United States are generally not like that.

    I agree that the goal should be to minimize casualties and I think that in most plausible scenarios, conventional techniques will work better. But I grant that a scenario could be constructed where a drone makes sense; I just don’t know how plausible they would be.

    Thomas Brown:
    I can see a drone killing a citizen.

    Say an informant provides last-minute notice that Tim Mc Veigh’s nephew in a vendetta against the gubbmint is driving a truck bomb from Boise to Seattle.

    The administration decides to minimize the casualties by authorizing an unmanned drone attack while he’s still on sparsely-trafficked highways.

    Objections?

  34. avatar
    Keith March 11, 2013 at 12:30 am #

    Thomas Brown:
    I can see a drone killing a citizen.

    Say an informant provides last-minute notice that Tim Mc Veigh’s nephew in a vendetta against the gubbmint is driving a truck bomb from Boise to Seattle.

    The administration decides to minimize the casualties by authorizing an unmanned drone attack while he’s still on sparsely-trafficked highways.

    Objections?

    Yeah. You ever try to kill a mosquito with a 12 gauge shotgun?

    How would the situation be handled if drones didn’t exist?
    How much does a drone cost?
    How much does an Apache helicopter missle cost?
    How much does a road block cost?
    How much does a sniper’s bullet cost?

  35. avatar
    The Magic M March 11, 2013 at 5:18 am #

    Keith: How much does a drone cost?

    Are you suggesting the drone would fly a Kamikaze attack and be destroyed in the process? I don’t think that’s how they work…

    Keith: How much does a road block cost?

    An unmanned road block? The scenario is about minimizing casualties among the police, too.

    In the above scenario, the only other solution I can come up with is this:

    Pick a section of the road where it runs through a tunnel or small canyon. Close the far side with a road block, and after the truck has moved in, the near side with another. Then wait until the guy runs out of food/water or kills himself.

  36. avatar
    Thomas Brown March 11, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I’m not that comfortable with the particular scenario. In general you don’t kill someone when you think they are about to commit a crime. Minimizing the number of casualties has a goal of zero, not one.

    If I understand the concept, drones are used in places and situations where it is difficult to project other kinds of force and where the population may be hostile, creating a high-casualty situation if ground forces are used. The situations in the United States are generally not like that.

    I agree that the goal should be to minimize casualties and I think that in most plausible scenarios, conventional techniques will work better. But I grant that a scenario could be constructed where a drone makes sense; I just don’t know how plausible they would be.

    I guess I was assuming the intel was high-confidence and no other forces could stop the truck in time.

    So you actually don’t like the idea of stopping a crime that hasn’t been committed? I mean, isn’t preventing it the point? We’re not talking about punishing a ‘thought crime’ here. This would be a crime in progress, wouldn’t it?

  37. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy March 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    I think the difference is in the details. If lethal force is the only option and the lethal crime is otherwise inevitable, then I could see using a drone. I guess my reservation is how often legal force is the only option to stop an inevitable crime.

    Thomas Brown: So you actually don’t like the idea of stopping a crime that hasn’t been committed? I mean, isn’t preventing it the point? We’re not talking about punishing a ‘thought crime’ here. This would be a crime in progress, wouldn’t it?

  38. avatar
    Daniel March 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Is there a drone in the area? Can it get there faster than the police? Is the drone equipped with negotiating software? Is putting a hellfire missile into a truck filled with explosives better than putting a bullet in the tire, or using a spike-belt?

    Drones are highly specialized pieces of equipment that are difficult and expensive to operate, and prohibitively expensive to keep on stand-by. They are designed for a specific set of circumstances which don’t happen very often in domestic theaters. Keeping hundreds of Drones on standby for decades on the off chance that somebody might put together a truck bomb is pretty foolish use of public funds, and difficult to hide. Especially when even in that situation they are not the best solution.

  39. avatar
    Keith March 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    Daniel:
    Is there a drone in the area? Can it get there faster than the police? Is the drone equipped with negotiating software? Is putting a hellfire missile into a truck filled with explosives better than putting a bullet in the tire, or using a spike-belt?

    Drones are highly specialized pieces of equipment that are difficult and expensive to operate, and prohibitively expensive to keep on stand-by. They are designed for a specific set of circumstances which don’t happen very often in domestic theaters. Keeping hundreds of Drones on standby for decades on the off chance that somebody might put together a truck bomb is pretty foolish use of public funds, and difficult to hide. Especially when even in that situation they are not the best solution.

    Thank you. That’s what I tried to convey and failed miserably.

    A shotgun is not an effective mosquito control device.

  40. avatar
    aesthetocyst March 11, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Keith: A shotgun is not an effective mosquito control device.

    Drones could be equipped to spray for mosquitoes.

    More fun would be tiny, hunter-killer drones, built to dogfight moquitoes … sniff out breeding pools and target them for larger drones to bomb …

    ______________

    Drones are already tested domestically, and drone pilots already train domestically. Look up and wave sometime. 😉

  41. avatar
    Keith March 12, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    aesthetocyst: Drones are already tested domestically, and drone pilots already train domestically. Look up and wave sometime.

    Privately operated drones are getting a lot of pub in Australia, people are really pissed off that the invasion of privacy. Not all drones are big and supersonic and carry missles; some are small and carry cameras. A honeymooning couple was woken up by one buzzing outside their hotel room window a while back and they spent 3 weeks trying to track down its owner. Nobody owned up, but it was probably a TV guy practicing because TV stations are already deploying them and police, and city governments are working on the idea.

    Somebody is going to shoot down a TV drone one of these days and then its really going to hit the fan.