Living in the age of drones

The last few days we have seen the media and national security experts have a minor nervous breakdown over the recent news that Iran is in possession of one of our RQ-107 drones.  Everyone seemed shocked, just shocked, that this could happen.  Well guess what?  We spy on Iran, constantly.  We have satellite taking pictures and we have drones flying in and around the Islamic Republic.  CBS news quotes U.S. officials as saying that we have been flying drones from Afghanistan into Iran for years now.

With all of the rhetoric that we here from politicians and pundits about the “threat” that Iran is, it really should come as no surprise that we are flying spy planes over the country.  It should also come as no surprise that we are going to lose drones; most likely a lot.  We lose drones all the time.  The Margin of error for drones is much higher than a manned aircraft.  A drone takes off in Afghanistan, is piloted  in a remote base somewhere in the U.S.; do the math and there is a tremendously high chance that something is going to go wrong.  Everyone need to take a deep breath and understand that this is going to happen again, and again, and probably again.

Secondly, to everyone that is terrified Iran is going to reverse engineer the RQ-170 and figure out classified military technology, your probably right.  But, the second that they do, we will have five new state of the art drones that will make the RQ-170 obsolete.  This is the age of the drone right now.  Every defense contractor on the face of the earth is developing new and better drones.  This is not some sort of novelty peice of military hardware; this is the new face of warfare and intelligence gathering.

If we are terrified of this happening again perhaps we should stop spying on Iran and talk to them.  We violated their sovereignty and airspace and must now pay the price.  Once again we will see a heightening of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, at a moment when our relationship is at its lowest in years.  With no foreseeable change in how we conduct our foreign policy with Iran this will become the norm.  Get used to it.

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