Friday, October 21, 2011
US Drone Kills Gaddafi
Published: 21 October, 2011 (RT)
Libyan rebels did not kill Gaddafi. They executed him, dazed and hapless – medieval style.
A hellfire missile fired by a US drone hovering some five miles above in the skies of Libya made the kill – now, that's how it's done in the 21st century – clinically precise and from far away.
Much as Obama and Hillary Clinton were trying to defer the honor of deposing Gaddafi to their NATO allies, Britain and France – and "the armed people of Libya fighting oppression" – in the end Uncle Sam had to step in and wave his big stick.
Somebody somewhere at the White House or the Pentagon or at Langley Virginia made up his mind: enough is enough, "letting the people of Libya decide their own future" is going nowhere. Gaddafi enjoys too much support and there's too great a risk of prolonged civil war – and, most importantly, as long as Gaddafi lives the Libyan oil supply won't be safe.
KABOOM! Hellfire hits the ground and Libya starts a new chapter of its history.
Let's leave aside the highly questionable moral and legal issues -like what UN mandate authorized the aerial killing of a sovereign foreign leader, deposed or otherwise?
Let's talk about something that affects everybody – money.Here's one big and unquestionable winner in the whole Libya debacle.The World's United Military Industrial Complex.
One does not need to be a fortune teller to predict that tomorrow the generals of any self-respecting country will mob their politicians with one demand – funds, funds and more funds.
Some of them want to be like the Americans, with all their technological gizmos – others to protect themselves from unsolicited visits by American drones and Tomahawk missiles.
Amongst many quotes attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte one sounds ominous, “The people who don't want to feed their own army will have to feed a foreign one.”
Let's see how much that lunch would cost:
General Atomics MQ-1 Predator – the one that, most likely, hit the Gaddafi convoy leaving Sirte – costs some US$10 million apiece in 2011 dollars. That's excluding ground control operations, maintenance and the cost of the actual Hellfire missiles it carries.
The MQ-9 Reaper, the more modern version – and another potential “Gaddafi killer" – already goes for $30 million. Both rely heavily on the US-developed and operated GPS.
The whole strategic drone development and procurement program runs into hundreds of billions of dollars – each of which the US taxpayer will be expected to cough up, crisis or not. The program is a current favorite baby of the Pentagon (and the CIA – the other operator of drones) and will be spared in even the most radical budget cutbacks. The US is so far ahead of everybody else on the development and use of the unmanned attack vehicles that it is seen as some kind of Wunderwaffe, a German word for "wonder-weapon".
The only other country that has drones of similar size and capabilities is Israel with its Eitan, otherwise known as Heron TP. Those are already exported to Brazil and Turkey, with Russia negotiating contracts.
For the NATO allies the Libyan campaign is one of humiliation. Despite every PR effort made to convince the public that it was France and Britain, who led Operation Get Rid of Gaddafi, it became blatantly clear that without the big American brother they couldn’t win the war against even the antiquated Libyan defenses. The task of convincing politicians to spend more on offensive military toys at a time of austerity seems daunting – but not impossible. Who said the drones can't be produced in Europe, creating jobs, huh?
With attack drones being the "sword", something has got to be the "shield" to that sword. Since they’ve never been used in any country that bothered to spend on its air defenses, it is unclear how much needs to be spent on interceptors able of knocking them down. With one exception – when NATO was using drones over Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the Serbs were pretty capable of knocking them down with fairly sophisticated (read – expensive) Soviet missiles. But that was some 15 years ago…since then the weapons have become much fancier – and much, much more expensive.
Not everybody in the world happens to see the US and NATO as a default force for good. For them the issue is the opposite – how to make sure Pentagon planners won't risk an invasion?
Gaddafi's fate will help them along – the man was awash in petrodollars in the last decade, but never bothered to seriously upgrade his military machine, putting much trust into his newfound love affair with the West. "See what happened to him? You choose.”
That reasoning would not be without a point. But that would cost the taxpayer all the same.
Since we are on a Bonaparte-uoting streak today, here's another one of his maxims: "War is the business of barbarians."
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