Years ago there was a great Non Sequitur (or maybe it was The Far Side) cartoon in which the main character, a man, opens the door and looks up at the sky. The caption read something along the lines of “Bob likes to make sure whoever is watching him, thinks he is happy” (kind of like what Jim Carrey did in The Truman Show).
I would of course be able to locate the comic but alas, Google Images is basically blocked in China and I (smugly) out of principle – try not to use proxies and VPNs (otherwise it makes you feel too comfortable, distorts the reality of the adolescent geopolitics in this country).
Which brings you to the recommended weekend reading courtesy of Wired: Hidden History: America’s Secret Drone War in Africa
It is jam packed with good solid numbers about how many UAVs & UCAVs are being used in Somalia and elsewhere. If War Nerd was still around, he would surely be able to use it to (rightly) agitate F-22 and F-35 fanboys. After all, if less than a few hundred relatively cheap drones are able to do the work of dozens of manned airwings, there really is no military justification for spending $1.5 trillion building out the F-35 fleet. Let alone the $40-50 billion for a next-generation bomber.
If you’re looking for your fill on what drone warfare is shaping up to look like, be sure to check out the definitive repository from Reason. The ACLU also has a dedicated section on domestic drones.
My own thoughts: the civil libertarian in me shakes my head at this but government owned and operated drones are probably not going away, anywhere. In fact, they probably already operate – or will very soon – above every big metro in the G-20.
And as I mentioned yesterday, I think the surveillance panopticon both developing and developed countries are building is something that would have occurred freely and voluntarily anyways due to so many narcissists, land appraisal/land management, and to prevent insurance claims against negligence (e.g., apartment property owners building CCTV networks to lower their insurance premiums against vandalism, carjacking, etc.) In fact, here is a privately funded domestic drone you can by from Amazon for a mere $300.
Now back to the matter at one: one wonders if Bob in the comic strip was smiling at the new Eye in the Sky from the Army or Key Hole successors like Misty from the NRO. Maybe Alice knows (see this entry for the corny inside joke).