Monday, October 19, 2015

"She kills people from 7,850 miles away"

From the Daily Beast:

..."Sparkle" started as an imagery analyst, scouring satellite images for signs of militant activity. Then she got transferred to the remotely piloted aircraft program. She earned the call sign because her headset has bedazzled jewels running along the headband and earpieces. “I use it to emasculate the enemy in the afterlife,” Sparkle said. “Many radical jihadists believe that being killed by a woman means they will not enter heaven. Considering how they treat their women, I’m OK with rubbing salt in the wound.”

...The whole shot was choreographed down to the second. They knew from watching him for weeks that it took the man 12 seconds to get on his motorbike and drive to the edge of his compound. The plan was to hit him on a barren stretch of road between his compound and the cemetery... 

“By collecting all that information, we can make sure that it is a legal target and we minimize collateral damage,” he said, using military jargon for civilian casualties. “We wanted to shoot him between Point A and B so there was no collateral damage. There was no way anyone good can get hurt and the bad guy dies.”

...It is not unheard of for crews to track a target for two to three months. The constant surveillance creates an intimacy other fighter pilots and even soldiers don’t have with the target. The crews get to know the target’s family. They know the family’s mosque, the kid’s school.

“I understand there is an intimacy you get with your target,” Sparkle said. “However, you’re a bad guy and you’re doing bad things to the people I am here to support. We just don’t go out there and shoot stuff. There is a reason. They are always associated with some part of hurting our friendly forces. At the end of the day, when you boil it down to that one point, the rest of it goes out the window”...



At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Vince said...

How can we not feel great about America's war on terror now that Sparkle is leading the charge!

What psy-op bullshit. If you're serious about a real war on terrorists, thank the Russians.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Because, like our right-wing says, Putin is smarter/stronger than Obama? I don't think so. Putin has already damaged Russia's economy with this Crimea/Ukraine invasion. What makes you think he'll have any more success in Syria? Maybe Iran will bail him out with enough boots on the ground to save Assad. More likely: Russia will squander billions in another unsuccessful venture.

Sparkle and her colleagues are doing an excellent job.

At 9:08 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

At least Putin has his heart in it, and he does play to win. The USA, not so much in the war on ISIS. I wonder why.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"At least Putin has his heart in it, and he does play to win. The USA, not so much in the war on ISIS. I wonder why."

You're suggesting that the US send troops to defeat ISIS? Obama understands that there's absolutely no political support for that in the US, except for a few Repugs like Senator McCain:

"I'm talking about 10,000[US troops] in Iraq," said McCain. "Then we need to say that our objective is to eliminate Bashar Assad as well as ISIS in Syria, and we recruit other Arab nations with Americans, but not too many, to fight against ISIS and Bashar Assad in Syria and coordinate those movements with air power guided by air controls."

Right. Nothing to it, like what we achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan. What exactly can Putin "win" in Syria? At the most, he'll help the Syrian regime survive---a dubious achievement---and I bet he won't put Russian ground troops in Syria to achieve even that. Putin shot himself in the foot in the Ukraine, and his involvement in Syria is not exactly risk-free.

At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

I don't know how lauding Russia's anti-terror effort suggests sending in American troops, but to get back to my original point: Putin's bombing campaign has been way more effective than the mythical Sparkle's. Obama and McCain both see Assad as the main enemy, whereas Russia sees ISIL as an existential threat. Russia and Egypt have proposed an international coalition to tackle terrorism and resolve the Syrian crisis to no avail. Europe will rue the day it didn't join; ISIL is now there and more are coming.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The implication of the praise for Putin's neo-fascist leadership is that Obama and the US have been weak and feckless about Syria. Way too early to judge whether Russia's bombing has been effective. Of course the US sees ISIS as an enemy, but Obama is right to limit the US commitment. What exactly do you propose the US do in Syria, besides helping Russia save one of its client states? That's not the same thing, by the way, as defeating ISIS.

This post is about the US drone program, which of course by itself can't defeat ISIS, but I'm always happy to see some of those assholes killed.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Vince said...

Since ISIL is the threat here, I would propose that the US embrace the idea of political compromise for Syria and accept that Assad is, at the very least, a player in the game. That is Putin's proposal, so let Obama call him on it and see where it all goes. It's not a matter of loving or hating Putin, Obama or Assad, just knowing who the enemy is.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I agree it's not about love. ISIS is our enemy but neither Assad nor Putin is a friend. I like Obama, because he believes in democracy, unlike Assad and Putin. Of course Assad is "a player," since he's still in power, albeit in a much diminished country. The US is presumably talking to Russia now about a possible endgame for Syria, but it's hard to believe that Obama will agree to a deal that leaves Assad in power. If Putin is ready to throw the Assad regime under the bus, maybe they can make a deal.


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