Not A Silver Drone…

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Air Force photo / Tech. Sgt. Chad Chisholm

Not So Fast: An MQ-9 Reaper drone returns to its Afghan base following a mission

All this recent reporting on drones and robots might lead one to think the U.S. is nearing the sweet spot, where remote-control war clicks firmly from science fiction to reality. Not so fast, cautions Bill Roggio in an analysis over at The Long War Journal:

Nine years into the drone program, it is now clear that while drones are useful in keeping al Qaeda and its affiliates off-balance, the assassination of operatives by unmanned aircraft has not led to the demise of the organization or its virulent ideology. During both the Bush and Obama administrations, US officials have been quick to declare al Qaeda defeated or “on the ropes” after killing off top leaders, only to learn later that the terror group has refused to die….Instead of being defeated, al Qaeda has metastasized beyond the Afghan-Pakistan border areas, and has cropped up in Yemen, Somalia, North Africa (including in Mali), and even in the Egyptian Sinai…What happens if al Qaeda cells become established in Cairo or Tripoli? Does the US intend to drone its way out of this problem by conducting strikes in major Arab cities?

Full thing here.