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Thousands of miles away in air conditioned comfort....



- drone wars
- warmongering wales

  

The new mercenaries

It is quite extraordinary when you think about it. You the (possibly) hard pressed taxpayer are paying for some British lads, RAF pilots and personnel (warriors some would call them) sitting in an air-conditioned facility in the Nevada desert paid for by you. What’s more they are piloting American made drones, also paid for by you, flying over Afghanistan, and firing American made missiles, also paid by for you, at hapless Afghans. This is a very special relationship. UK taxpayers pay for the privilege of doing America’s dirty work.

For the British crews who fly these drones and the 90 strong support staff, the most dangerous part of their day is the drive between the air-force base and their homes in the suburbs of Las Vegas. It’s a hard life on the front line.

There is no risk to any of my crews at all,’ notes Wing Commander Andy Jeffrey, the head of the RAF's 39 Squadron – the Reaper unit.

How it works:
Suspicious types are spotted on the ground.
Sqn Ldr Brown explains: The crew went through the whole 'Kill Chain' process. That is 'find it, fix it, track it, target it and make the assessment'.
The bomb had a successful effect. They [the Taliban] were exhibiting hostile intent and after the bomb dropped they stopped exhibiting hostile intent. They had all been killed.

They call this going kinetic 'For that to happen, the mission must be legal, proportional and necessary – those are the tests and it can be a lengthy process. But if troops are in contact on the ground that process can be reduced to minutes.'

Cost:
Reaper £6 million each
Hellfire air-to-surface missiles some £50,000 a pop

Cost benefit analysis
1 IED = £30
1 Hellfire missile £50,000

The US government spent 10 times more on every sea otter affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill than it does in "condolence payments" to Afghans for the killing of a family member.