Predators: The CIA's Drone War on al Qaeda by Brian Glyn Williams
Predators is a riveting introduction to the murky world of Predator and Reaper drones, the CIA's and U.S. military's most effective and controversial killing tools. Brian Glyn Williams combines policy analysis with the human drama of the spies, terrorists, insurgents, and innocent tribal peoples who have been killed in the covert operation—the CIA's largest assassination campaign since the Vietnam War era—being waged in Pakistan's tribal regions via remote control aircraft known as drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles. Having traveled extensively in the Pashtun tribal areas while working for the U.S. military and the CIA, Williams explores in detail the new technology of airborne assassinations. From miniature Scorpion missiles designed to kill terrorists while avoiding civilian “collateral damage” to prathrais, the cigarette lighter–size homing beacons spies plant on their unsuspecting targets to direct drone missiles to them, the author describes the drone arsenal in full. Evaluating the ethics of targeted killings and drone technology, Williams covers more than a hundred drone strikes, analyzing the number of slain civilians versus the number of terrorists killed to address the claims of antidrone activists. In examining the future of drone warfare, he reveals that the U.S. military is already building more unmanned than manned aerial vehicles. Predators helps us weigh the pros and cons of the drone program so that we can decide whether it is a vital strategic asset, a “frenemy,” or a little of both.
BRIAN GLYN WILLIAMS earned his first master’s at the Central Eurasian studies program at Indiana University and a second master’s in Russian history and a PhD in Central Asian history from the University of Wisconsin. Among his published works are Afghanistan Declassified: A Guide to America’s Longest War (2011) and the upcoming The Last Warlord: The Life and Legend of Dostum, the Afghan Warrior Who Led US Special Forces to Topple the Taliban Regime (2013). A tenured professor of Islamic history at the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth, he lives in Boston.
Table of Contents
1 The Death of a Terrorist 1
2 A History of the Pashtun Tribal Lands of Pakistan 11
3 Enter the Predator 19
4 Operation Enduring Freedom 27
5 Manhunt 39
6 The Drone War Begins 65
7 Who Is Being Killed in the Drone Strikes? 89
8 Spies, Lawyers, Terrorists, and Secret Bases 121
Predators: The CIA's Drone War on Al Qaeda 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
If you buy just one book on drones, this is the one. It is a very well researched, deep dive written in fast paced language that takes the reader into the history of the drone war, from the Air Force test runs to CIA targeting panels to the Obama White House to the tribal lands of Pakistan where the drones ply their deadly trade. It is not a propaganda piece or boring book on ethnics like some of the other works out there. It is an unbiased journey into this world that allows you to make up your own mind whether or not drones are good or evil. The author has worked for the CIA, is a professor on the topic and has been to the tribal zones to do his research. It is unique on this level and is an eye opener.
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