The American Drone Empire
They increasingly dot the planet. There’s a facility outside Las Vegas [Creech Air Force Base] where “pilots” work in climate-controlled trailers, another at a dusty camp in Africa formerly used by the French Foreign Legion, a third at a big air base in Afghanistan where Air Force personnel sit in front of multiple computer screens, and a fourth at an air base in the United Arab Emirates that almost no one talks about.
And that leaves at least 56 more such facilities to mention in an expanding American empire of unmanned drone bases being set up worldwide.
Run by the military, the Central Intelligence Agency, and their proxies, these bases — some little more than desolate airstrips, others sophisticated command and control centers filled with computer screens and high-tech electronic equipment — are the backbone of a new American robotic way of war: Remote-controlled strikes anywhere on the planet with a minimal foreign “footprint” and little accountability.
Washington Post journalists Greg Miller and Craig Whitlock reported that the “Obama administration is assembling a constellation of secret drone bases for counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula as part of a newly aggressive campaign to attack al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen.”
Within days, the Post also reported that a drone from the new CIA base an unidentified Middle Eastern country [Saudi Arabia?] had carried out the assassination of radical al-Qaeda preacher and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
An analysis by TomDispatch determined that there are more than 1,000 U.S. military bases scattered across the globe — a shadowy base-world providing plenty of existing sites that can, and no doubt will, host drones.
Even if the Pentagon budget were to begin to shrink, expansion of America’s empire of drone bases is a sure thing in the years to come. Drones are now the bedrock of Washington’s future military planning.