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Meet the Men Who Deploy Airstrikes

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the these-guys-saved-my-butt-in-C&C dept.

The Military 311

Lanxon writes "Wired followed US Army Staff Sergeant Kevin Rosner into Afghanistan to see first-hand the tools, tactics, and pressures involved in coordinating military airstrikes. This lengthy piece explores the people and technology involved in high-risk airborne warfare, from their perspective. From the article: 'Strapped to his chest, Rosner carries a handheld video player called a "Rover," built by L3 Communications, a New York-based defense contractor. The device, the size and shape of a PSP game console and costing tens of thousands of dollars, reads signals transmitted by the camera pods strapped to the underside of all NATO fighter aircraft. With his Rover, Rosner can see everything a pilot sees, from the pilot's perspective. On his back he carries a radio programmed with secure frequencies that tie him directly to the pilots overhead and to his unit's headquarters, several miles away. At the headquarters, another JTAC monitors a bigger, more sophisticated video terminal that displays the same video Rosner sees, plus other data.'"

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Oh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065250)

So this is how they slaughter innocent people for western greed.

Re:Oh (1, Insightful)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065272)

You're going to get modded down desperately for that, but your statement is sadly oh so true, up until at least the "for". Whether it's just greed or a more complex mix of pride, greed, hubris and misguided hate and ambitions is another discussion.

Re:Oh (4, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065436)

It's much simpler than that.

The bullet points for why we invaded Iraq:

  • Iraq under Sadam after first Gulf war, wasn't producing oil at 100% therefore; the price of oil was historically (at the time) high.
  • When oil prices are high, US economy goes into the toilet because our economy is based on cheap oil.
  • Politicians get fired when economy tanks
  • Politicians wanting to get Iraq producing at 100% again and more importantly, not controlled by US haters, invade.
  • Politicians expected everything to go smoothly: people loving US, quick war, etc...
  • Expected result: Iraq democracy, 100% oil production, World oil prices decline, politicians keep cushy overpaid jobs.

What they didn't consider:

  • insurgency
  • exponentially increasing demand from Asia

Of course that's the simplified version but pretty much the way I see it.

Oh, the rest of the Bush Administration should have listened to Powell.

Re:Oh (3, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065930)

Politicians wanting to get Iraq producing at 100% again and more importantly, not controlled by US haters, invade.

It would be nice if the actual politicians would invade themselves, instead of sending young boys to do their dirty work.

Re:Oh (0, Troll)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066162)

It'd be nice if the young boys would stop enlisting to begin with.

Re:Oh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065460)

You're going to get modded down desperately for that, but your statement is sadly oh so true, up until at least the "for". Whether it's just greed or a more complex mix of pride, greed, hubris and misguided hate and ambitions is another discussion.

You're about to find yourself modded down desperately for that asinine comment too.

War is and always has been economically-driven. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065476)

War is always economically-driven. It always has been, and always will be.

The pride, hubris, and misguided hate that you speak of are merely tools that are used by those in power to trick fools into dying in distant lands.

BULLSHIT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065582)

Please learn just a little bit about military history before you spout off such complete, utter nonsense.

Re:BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065642)

Ohh learned AC, could you please enlighten us about the history you are talking about? Was war ever not economically driven?

Re:BULLSHIT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065778)

He's too busy crying over all those insults about his greedy, violent but so weak country.

Re:BULLSHIT (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065810)

Saying wars are always economically-driven is vague to the point of wrong. Wars are caused by disagreement, period. First-world countries don't go to war because of an economic factor, never have, and the burden of proof is on you to back your ignorant comment up.

Re:BULLSHIT (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065906)

Wait, what? Have you already forgotten the Iraqi War that started in 2003? The United States (considered by many to be a "first-world" nation, although that is debatable) invaded Iraq without provocation. There was no disagreement. In fact, history has shown pretty clearly that it was caused by nothing more than American warmongers wishing to make themselves and their acquaintances some easy money, taken from the American taxpayers.

Re:BULLSHIT (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32066220)

The United States (considered by many to be a "first-world" nation, although that is debatable)

You have no fucking clue what "first world" means do you?

Wrong (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066120)

First-world countries don't go to war because of an economic factor, never have, and the burden of proof is on you to back your ignorant comment up.

9/11 involved 17 Saudi Arabian hijackers. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by an Islamic leader. Saudi Arabia has a terrible human rights record, doesn't allow non-muslims to testify in court, and allows young girls to be raped by old men through arranged marriages. Hardly a democratic paradise. So, why did we decide to invade Iraq? First, they said it was revenge for working with Al Qaeda, which is pure bullshit. Then it was WMD, which is also pure bullshit. Now it's to spread freedom and democracy, which yet again pure bullshit, otherwise we would have invaded Saudia Arabia for reasons one and three.

Short answer: Saudi Arabia plays ball, does what we tell them, and Saddam Hussein did not. Iraq also happens to sit on unexploited oil resources. Consider the headline, "West Sees Glittering Prizes Ahead in Giant Oilfields," printed in the London Times in 2002. That pretty much says it all.

If you like, I can go back through the history of just the United States for our wars, fought either for power or economic reasons. We invaded many Latin American countries because they kicked out US corporations and tried to reaffirm ownership of their own resources. We overthrew the democratic government of Iran in 1953 in Operation AJAX to restore British and American access to their resources, mostly oil. We invaded the Philippines after they refused our attempt to annex them in 1898 after the war with Spain, which also involved Cuba.

We have denied the right of nations to self rule for hundreds of years, beginning with the Native Americans, and even as I type, we are denying the rights of Iraqis and Afghanis the right to determine their own future. Economically, we strive to destroy local economies in order to enrich our own, from opening up agriculture markets in Mexico to put millions of poor farmers out of work, or opening up "free trade zones" to allow manufacturers to create something akin to a slave labor camp to push up their profit margins, and ship local jobs overseas.

First world countries are usually first world countries because they have raped and pillaged the third world for labor and resources. This was true for the British Empire, where the sun never set, and the Irish said because God would never trust the English in the dark. We are the new empire. We have over 750 military bases around the world trying to maintain our empire. You, just like many other Americans, are simply in denial about it.

Re:BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065834)

Hahahahahahaha, are you one of those dicks who buys into the "awr soldiers is fightin' fer freedum" bullshit?

Re:BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065952)

YES SIR!

Re:Oh (5, Insightful)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065324)

you're forgetting that all this expensive technology was at least partially developed to avoid mistakes leading to civilian casualties.

Re:Oh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065356)

murder is murder.

Re:Oh (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066102)

murder is murder.

And killing isn't always murder.

Re:Oh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065382)

you're forgetting that all this expensive technology was at least partially developed to avoid mistakes leading to civilian casualties.

"Mistakes" and "casualties" in the same phrase... Hum... I think that "civilian" word is just pedantic.

Oh, and also that "avoid" word should be closer to "casualties", btw.

Re:Oh (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065496)

Not at all. Mistakes lead to the deaths of civilians and friendly forces.

Re:Oh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065688)

Deliberate violence also leads to the deaths of civilians. How is that rule again? The corpse with the accidental holes in it is the civilian, the one with the deliberate holes the insurgent (or journalist if nobody looks)?

Re:Oh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065750)

Not at all. Invading sovereign countries lead to the deaths of civilians and friendly forces.

ftfy

Re:Oh (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066166)

No, sadly enough, they are our are our eras baby "Vietnam". Haven't you been paying attention?

Yeah well. (4, Insightful)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065824)

Slaughter: I don't think that word means what you think it means.

A choice between the bloodbaths that WW1 and 2 were, and this, is an easy choice.
 

Re:Oh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065850)

can I drop the guy carrying the camera? Roger that, open him up.

The irony would have been huge if somebody airstriked Wired's field reporter for holding an RPG

Keybindings (4, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065364)

So, what's his key binding for deploying airstrikes? F5? S? shift-F?

Re:Keybindings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065372)

DELETE?

Re:Keybindings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065424)

Alt-F4.

Re:Keybindings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065490)

Alt-SysRq-n

Re:Keybindings (1)

mogul (103400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065426)

Better not use F5

  "ah damn, I just wanted to reload the image, and now look at that former village....."

Re:Keybindings (1, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065442)

So, what's his key binding for deploying airstrikes?

control-alt-delete

Re:Keybindings (5, Funny)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065624)

F-15

Re:Keybindings (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066230)

He just presses any key to continue.

A burning question. (5, Funny)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065380)

They didn't explain why I have to get 5 kills to get an airstrike :(

Another one (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066104)

Can they send nukes from orbit?

Anonymous Cowards (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065390)

No need to meet them, let them keep being anonymous and cobards

Re:Anonymous Cowards (5, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065466)

Not fair to attack the individuals. They're regular people just doing what they're trained (and ordered) to do.

If, on the other hand you want to go after the political policies that put the individuals in that position in the first place, be my guest. I'm with you on that.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065630)

Not fair to attack the individuals. They're regular people just doing what they're trained (and ordered) to do.

What they have volunteered to do.

While I am also uncomfortable with singling out the individuals who actually push the buttons which cause death, at some point we have to remember that the same "volunteer" military that has given the sons and daughters of wealth and privilege the ability to avoid being put in harm's way has also created a "warrior class" of people who for one reason or another, have chosen to participate in what are often the ugliest sanctioned acts that our society perpetrates, necessary or not.

It was the draft that created generations of Americans who each (except for the Dick Cheney's of the world, who will always find a way to get out of it somehow) have a direct connection to the defense of the country. It makes wars harder to start, when everyone is involved in a direct, physical way. The notion of a "professional" military class is in conflict with the beliefs of every single Founding Father, nearly all of whom believed that the US must never have a standing army, and that the kind of international adventurism which has defined all of our military actions since WWII should be avoided at all costs.

While it makes me uncomfortable to connect the faces of young American men and women with the sort of remote-control violence that much of our "wars" have become, it also makes me uncomfortable to say that those young men and women somehow had no moral involvement at all.

It's ugly business and I believe compulsory national service, like that of Israel or some European countries, is preferable to having professional soldiers who get "bonuses" for joining up and then get to wash their hands when innocents are killed.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (5, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065754)

You do have a point. I guess I'm worried about the veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars experiencing the same demonization that happened to Vietnam vets. Speaking as someone who was actively involved in the anti-war movement of the Sixties and Seventies, that's the single aspect of the entire endeavor I'm not proud of.

You're right that they volunteered, but they did it either out of a sense of patriotism--possibly misplaced patriotism, but patriotism none the less--or economic necessity. I know a number of young people who joined up because they had no other prospects. BTW, I agree that some sort of compulsory national service is called for, but only if there's an option for non-military service allowed.

As far as young American men and women having no moral involvement, that's a tough call. The thing is, there's a reason beyond mere physical strength and endurance that compels the military to chose young people and that's the fact that human brains aren't fully developed until about age 25. Young people haven't yet acquired either the life experience or synapses to make wise judgements on fine points of morality. That's why young people do the dumb stuff they do, and why they deserve at least a little bit of slack in this case.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (3, Insightful)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066036)

Thanks PopeRatzo and gyrogeerloose for having calm, rational, and civil points to make about this. My opinions are somewhere near or between you two and it's tough for me to grasp the complexity and the ethics of the battlefield. Clear, concise, and reasoned discussions are very much needed today.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066282)

Clear, concise, and reasoned discussions are very much needed today.

For reasoned discussions you need objective, accurate data, of which isn't an abundance of in the battlefields, as it's mainly chaos. It's the same chaos that fuels injustice and revenge.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

oh2 (520684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066046)

Considering the american love affair with guns in general, why not just round up some random gun-toting militiamen and call that the US army ?

Re:Anonymous Cowards (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32066184)

they did that, it was called the american revolution. we beat the best equipped and most well trained army in the world. dick.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065758)

Now the only thing left is to make the worker class, the religious class and the warrior class work together before the shadows come. As Valen has predicted.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065798)

Oh, and by the way, are you sure you're not just saying this because I wouldn't visit your farm, then dumped you on Facebook? Like I I told you, it's not you, it's me.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

Message (303377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065942)

While it is true some volunteered after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, others were already in the service and though they may not agree with the policies of the administration, they still have a contract to fulfill. And then you have the other that are 15 years into their 20 year career, would you have them just throw that all way?

Yes it is a volunteer force... doesn't mean we agree with the wars.

when you complain about the men (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066042)

who order truck bomb after truck bomb against iraqi civilians, killing many orders of magnitude more than the us (and on purpose, as oppposed to mistake), and now increasingly in pakistan and afghanistan, then i will listen to you

or more exactly, when you develop an ability to actually stop those guys, then i will listen to you

and i already known your answer: its all the fault of western imperialism, neocolonialism, oilthirst, etc

fella: if the usa turned into a giant lake tomorrow, the madmen bombing in the middle east would not celebrate and turn into pastoral sheep farmers. they would step up their aggression, and they would sow more suffering and destruction, because now there is nothing to hold them back

recognize that the fight going on the middle east is a lot larger than your small and simple recriminations

and recognize that the madmen in the middle east are not some cartoonish reflection of what the west does. they are their own original manifestation of all that you detest, but, for some reason, only see in western actions. you suffer from a form of blindness, you see only menace in one direction, when the menace in the other direction is the real enemy of your values

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

brs336 (903049) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066174)

I agree with most of what you have to say, but there are some who volunteer for the military because they want to ensure that if in the unlikely event the United States does face some sort of external threat, there is a force in place to defend against that threat. The standing army also provides a means for deterring threats like that from coming up in the first place. These people dislike the "international adventurism," but are willing to put up with it for the reasons given above.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

SirVirtual (1802698) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066190)

compulsory national service? No - no - no and again NO! Service for a country is full of people that cry and moan about taxes yet doesn't have a problem with a political system "of the rich, by the rich and FOR the rich"? A country that makes me pee in a bottle to keep my livelihood? A country that protects greedy CEO bastards? Not my sons!! Come and try to get them, I'll show you the second amendment. I support the young men and women that put their life on the line but if we had an HONEST government (run with a common sense), they wouldn't be there. We have Raygun Ronnie Retard to thank for the mess in that country.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066266)

What they have volunteered to do.

They didn't volunteer to fight in Iraq or Afghanistan.

and then get to wash their hands when innocents are killed.

That's military top-dog's responsibility. And the politicians' who don't push for "change". (In Vietnam a lot of people got away with fragging. Where was the hand of the law then? You know there aren't a lot of witnesses in a war zone, it's not the same as a crime in a city street.)

Hey, how did the draft prevent killing 4 million Vietnamese civilians?

Re:Anonymous Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32066302)

It was the draft that created generations of Americans who each (except for the Dick Cheney's of the world, who will always find a way to get out of it somehow) have a direct connection to the defense of the country. It makes wars harder to start, when everyone is involved in a direct, physical way.
Bull. The decision to wage war has always been in the hands of those who would not be affected by a draft. If you are saying that those who were affected by a draft are less likely to wage war in the future, that's also bull. Look how many conflicts the US has been involved in in the past 25-30 years, when the Vietnam generation has been in charge.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065916)

Jeee-Zeus, Godwin'ing thread already? Give it a rest, the Nuremberg defence failed for your Nazi comrades and it isn't any better here.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066060)

That would have held a lot more weight with me if you'd been brave and certain enough of your convictions to post without hiding behind anonymity.

And, if you'd actually, you know, read my comment, you would have noticed I'm not defending them being there in the first place. Also, if you weren't a troll, you would have been aware that there's a difference between what the Nazis did and a lawful order in combat.

Mistakes happen in war, which is one of thousands of very good reasons not to engage in it. I will match my life-long opposition to war with anyone else's.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066024)

Not fair to attack the individuals. They're regular people just doing what they're trained (and ordered) to do.

Why did the Allies/Soviets/and Post-Nazi-German government try and convict concentration camp guards [wikipedia.org] ?

Weren't they just "doing their jobs"?

No sir. If you doing something morally wrong... It makes it even worse if you are doing it for the money. Its a volunteer position after all.

Albeit, I don't think what these guys in the story are doing is wrong, but the "I was following orders" was used by many German and Japanese war criminals who swung on the gallows.

So please don't defend our troops with the same methodology. In fact, the US Military has rules to say our soldiers are supposed to disobey unlawful orders. Find something else to defend them with.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066098)

In fact, the US Military has rules to say our soldiers are supposed to disobey unlawful orders.

Erm, what happened in Germany was legal on their laws at that time. Laws can be changed.

Re:Anonymous Cowards (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066208)

Not fair to attack the individuals. They're regular people just doing what they're trained (and ordered) to do.

I seem to recall that defense working surprisingly well at the Nuremberg Trials too!

from experience... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065410)

As an Army qualified and certified JFO, let me just say that Air Force JTACs are some very highly trained individuals, many of which who could easily work for the FAA (as airspace deconfliction is one of their primary jobs and they're damn good at it). Close Air Support, or any sort of Fires Support for that matter, are very stressful and complicated tasks, and if your calculations or designation are wrong, 2000lb JDAMs can easily end up coming down on the heads of either friendlies or non-coms.

The Joint Service Joint Fires Observer course itself is no joke, and I can only imagine what type of training the JTACs themselves go through, but I have a very good idea.

Re:from experience... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065486)

Most of the spanish inquisition was made from the most educated, god-fearing, well-behaved and intelligent "priest-soldiers" of that age.

they were mass murderers nonetheless.

Re:from experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065504)

Most of the spanish inquisition was made from the most educated, god-fearing, well-behaved and intelligent "priest-soldiers" of that age.

they were mass murderers nonetheless.

From someone who's been to war and the poster of the above JFO comment "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6". Debate the politics all you want, but in a warzone it's YOUR ass on the line and the asses of those around you against the other guy. I hope the "other guy" gets to go home too, but if he's going to try and stop me from getting back to my wife and kids with all of my limbs and sanity intact, then the hell with him.

War is an ugly sport.

Re:from experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065636)

I'm not here to argue regarding the morality nor choices of anyone.I'm pretty sure that most of the american soldiers are on their duty because they really believe thery are defending their home country from a possible menace.

And surely won't criticize you for trying to get back in one single piece from Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever you were deployed.

the point is, when we returning from a warzone instead of talking of it as something horrible, yet necessary, start talking about it as something honorable and somewhat "glorious", we're no really different than some spanish inquisitor.

Re:from experience... (0, Offtopic)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065670)

In all honestly I'm not the most fully versed person on the Spanish Inquisition and the like; however, I've read a number of historical texts in regards to the Spanish Inquisition and the use of torture in general and it's not that uncommon to come across temperature letters that were written questioning the use. Also, it was usually well observed that there were those that did torture because they had to for any of a number of reasons and those that relished the thoughts of being able to torture someone. In some cases you find that the people attracted to certain roles would be the ones that where the most willing to preform torture.

Re:from experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32066034)

(spanish inquisition guy here)

that's exactly my point.

just to give some context. I've lived in Bosna and Hercegovina till the mid of the war in the '90. And from what i've understood in the recent years, I were on the "wrong side" (nobody between the civillians had a bloody idea of what was going on. Nobody. If you have been deployed there during that time, I'm sure you can understand what i'm saying. For everyone else, stuff like "behind enemy lines" could be considered as realistic as a "surreal comic" movie)

most of the USA soldier were pretty friendly chaps, despite i was on the "wrong side".most of them were just bored to death.

but some of them were sick fucks.

and most of the "rebels" were just people that before were just plain minor criminals, druglords or people with affiliations with east-europe criminals. (Onestly from what I've seen regarding the status of drug-smuggling from mexico and part of South America to United States, in pratical terms there's not that much difference.)

in those two group, I've seen people almost enjoying the general climate of violence, both physical and psychological. And by reading in such elaborate and "honorable" terms about what basically are extremely advanced "push-to-kill" machines, i just see the same pleasure, just in a more intellectual form.

my 2 €c, no offence to anyone....

Re:from experience... (0, Flamebait)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065514)

And if they calculate right, the only difference is who it comes down on, and who you are murdering.
Frankly, doesn't make much difference to me whether the people you murder are the ones you intend to or your co-conspirators. You are wasting my tax dollars either way, as far as I am concerned.

When enemy boots are on US soil, thats one thing, anything else is just senseless murder. I find it disgusting that anyone is willing to fight and murder for congress, the body that less than 25% of the country even trusts.

-Steve

Re:from experience... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065564)

So, the entirety of the US participation in WWII was "just senseless murder" to you?

Re:from experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065730)

He may be saying that. Remember, WWII had a declaration of war from congress. All the wars since then have not and therefore are unconstitutional. Whether it is right or wrong to send troops to other countries doesn't matter, without a declaration of war it is unconstitutional and just another instance of the federal government overstepping its bounds. It doesn't matter if you are for or against the war, having a government overstepping its bounds and taking power is a very very bad thing.

Re:from experience... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32066300)

When enemy boots are on US soil, thats one thing, anything else is just senseless murder.

Your preference is to have the conflict in Times Square instead of Pakistan? I'm gonna go with "not in my backyard".

U.S. Air Force Sergeant, Not U.S. Army (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065452)

From TFA, Staff Sergeant Kevin Rosner is in the U.S. Air Force, not the U.S. Army.

Re:U.S. Air Force Sergeant, Not U.S. Army (-1, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065814)

Some of us still don't recognize the "Air Force" as a real force. The Army Air Corps pioneered things like close-in ground support, earning the respect of all the services. Today? Army Air still outperforms the "Air Force", not to mention that the Navy and Marines can outfly any "Air Force" pilot. I'd rather have a sister in a whore house than a brother in the reserves or the air force.

Re:U.S. Air Force Sergeant, Not U.S. Army (3, Insightful)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065918)

Your historical perspective and current understanding of the situation are both deeply flawed. I've met pilots in all divisions of the military, and none of them are bad at what they do. Going around saying "everyone" is better than the airforce, the UNDEFEATED airforce, is a little bit disingenuous. Can you fly a F15? How about a F22? Can you even fly a Cessna? Then what makes you qualified to even judge these pilots?

Granted, Airforce pilots are a lot more likely to be flying Air tankers and transports, than anything else, but that doesn't make them inferior. In fact with out them, you'd find you are in a totally different war. Firepower blows stuff up, logistics win the war.

Re:U.S. Air Force Sergeant, Not U.S. Army (-1, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066038)

I didn't say "everyone" is better than the air force, did I? I did infer that "everyone" in the US military is better than the air force - but that's not exactly "everyone". Have you looked at Iran's air force, or France's, or Zimbabwe's? Crap - anyone who can put a stealth bomber or stealth fighter into the air HAS to be moderately competent. That doesn't make you "the best" though. Naval air is the best - despite what cjstone seems to imply below. Navy and Marine pilots are the best, and the Army is the closest second. Air force? Phhht.

Oh yeah - the "undefeated" bit? Did the Air Force win in Vietnam? I didn't think so. We all got our asses handed to us there. But, I blame that on politicians, not on the armed forces.

Re:U.S. Air Force Sergeant, Not U.S. Army (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066222)

I don't know how you're defining "the best," or why. Certainly, taking off from a carrier is more difficult than taking off from a runway, but after that what's the difference? Each service's air branch has its strengths and specialties.

USMC pilots support USMC ground troops, USN pilots support USN missions (and fly against ground targets, when it's practical), the USAF does, well, everything else. (Airlift, refueling, global strike, air superiority... etc.)

Re:U.S. Air Force Sergeant, Not U.S. Army (0, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066306)

Uhhh - you seem to see a difference between marine and navy pilots. There is none. The marines are part of the navy, and any marine pilot is pretty much interchangeable with a navy pilot. They fly the same planes, they go through the same training, they fly the same missions, they use the same support infrastructure.

"Best" means, we can do it all. We can deliver payloads anywhere in the world, under any conditions,and that is the bottom line. We don't make mistakes and fly nuclear ordinance halfway across a continent where they don't belong, or any of a number of other mistakes made by the Air Force. Which of the services has recently had it's chief executive replaced for what amounts to incompetence?

But - those with stars in their eyes won't understand my reasoning. Just go on believing that the Air Force is equal to the rest of the services. Maybe, just maybe, when the Air Force acquires a meaningful quantity of attack craft, and puts them to real use, and join the rest of us down in the real battle fields, THEN they might mature and take their proper place among America's fighting men.

Re:U.S. Air Force Sergeant, Not U.S. Army (1)

Cjstone (1144829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065972)

Air Force pilots are typically better at air combat than the Navy pilots because, while the Navy pilot will have more flight hours, the AF pilot will typically have more air combat training. That's because the Navy spends a much larger percentage of their time practicing for carrier landings, while the Air Force spends almost of their time practicing air combat. Also, since the retirement of the F-14, and especially since the introduction of the F-22, the Air Force will typically have better equipment. There aren't many forces I can think of that can match the USAF in an air war.

Re:U.S. Air Force Sergeant, Not U.S. Army (-1, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066064)

You must be Air Force. How many attack craft does the Air Force have? And, why is that? Oh - and how many times has the Air Force mishandled a nuclear warhead? The Air Force is a political construct, as opposed to the rest of the armed forces which are - uhhh - FORCES. Phht.

Rosner's Neat Trick (2, Informative)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065560)

Hello, Pedantic Man here...

reads signals transmitted by the camera pods strapped to the underside of all NATO fighter aircraft. With his Rover, Rosner can see everything a pilot sees, from the pilot's perspective

emphasis mine

Um... no, not quite the pilot's perspective. (Arguably, it's actually a better picture of the terrain beneath the nose of the aircraft than the pilot sees. But it's not the pilot's perspective- at least, I hope not!)

Re:Rosner's Neat Trick (3, Informative)

chinakow (83588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065618)

If the pilot has access to the same video in the cockpit, then they both see the same thing on their respective screens. So he would in fact, see what the pilot sees. It is just that the scope of what is seen is narrow and ambiguous in the summary.

Re:Rosner's Neat Trick (1)

throughwithit (897185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065992)

Yes, I am sure that is the case. The JTAC's screen probably contains the same images and telemetry the pilot is using to identify, track, and engage the targets in question + perhaps aircraft position, heading, altitude, and groundspeed. But the JTAC won't see the readouts the pilot is using to navigate, and otherwise fly the aircraft.

Conveniently timed propaganda (-1, Troll)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065610)

Anyone else wondering why Wired found it so necessary to run this article now, attempting to defend these men and their actions as empathetic and moral?

Rosner saw innocent farmers working their fields along the valley floor; he doesn't want to add them to the rolls of the dead.
...
Are any civilians in harm's way?
...
"Everything is so critical," Chandler says. Any mistake "can cost you a life."

Gee, this couldn't be Pentagon PR after the recent revelations of US slaughtering innocents, could it? No, I'm sure it's simply Wired keeping us up-to-date on interesting technology.

Perhaps Wired will also do a story on the technology the people in Afghanistan use to bury their dead.

Re:Conveniently timed propaganda (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065838)

Those recent revelations? You are referring to the video from wikileaks? I only saw two innocents - and they were dragged into a battle site by the opposition. Nice try at making villians of our guys though.

Really? Only two? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32066148)

Let me guess, that's the highest you can count?

Or are you just a racist asshole that doesn't consider unarmed civilians innocent unless they are WASP Americans?
Not to mention journalists, people trying to help the wounded and kids.

Re:Conveniently timed propaganda (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065842)

Please draw a moral distinction between: the side who goes to great pains to avoid casualties, versus the side whose stated goals are the massacre of innocents. Analyze the goals of each side and tell us why intentionally killing innocents helps or hinders each side. Bonus points for including the phrase "Bu$hitler".

Re:Conveniently timed propaganda (4, Insightful)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065910)

I doubt the soldiers on the ground, the JTAC or the pilots are trying to hurt civilians (maybe a few really are, you can never really know). When the soldiers on the ground are in danger, the stress and need for quick action can easily make it hard to coordinate these airstrikes properly. If anyone is to blame, it is the higher-ups who set the policies and training procedures, and decide who should be piloting or calling in the strikes.

Using an engineering analogy, it's like an engineer designing a brake system that has unexpected failures (Toyota's specific problem is too rare to be a good analogy). The drivers who get people killed aren't at fault- they did as they were trained (through driver's ed/experience), but the system failed and people die. While no one was malicious about it, if anyone you have to blame the engineer for designing a faulty system, and to a lesser extent the government for not training drivers to better handle exceptional circumstances. The engineer has the responsibility to fix the braking system and ensure the faulty braking system is no longer used.

We make a huge deal out of civilian casualties- and we should- but I expect our military is putting more effort into balancing saving soldiers lives and saving civilian lives than any previous effort by any military since the development of long-range artillary. If we assume the military loves blowing things up as much as they can (which you seem to imply), they would still want to minimize civilian casualties. The better their track record is, the more freedom they have to keep using bombs at will. Unless you've performed these airstrikes yourself you shouldn't assume it's as easy as video games make you think.

Re:Conveniently timed propaganda (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065994)

*Disclaimer: I know what I'm talking about as much as the average slashdotter (not at all), so I defer to anyone with real knowledge on this should they disagree with any/all of my points.

Wrong military branch (1)

jas0np (1802672) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065626)

Please correct the military branch. Its US Air Force Staff Sergeant Kevin Rosner, not US Army!

Ender Wiggin: reporting for duty, sir! (1)

AppleTRON (669357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065644)

Seriously. All students, please report to the battle room; or play more Modern Warfare.

Re:Ender Wiggin: reporting for duty, sir! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32065672)

Except that Ender is not in the field. The JTACs, FAOs, and CCs are all in the field. And in the case of Staff Sergeant Rosner, he is also getting shot at and running the same risks as anyone else. Possibly more, as he has a heavier weight of equipment, and as previously stated, a mis-spoken word or error in calculations made while under fire could lead to pilots dropping a bomb on HIM.

Hi risk? (0, Troll)

mescobal (1516701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065654)

"High risk airborne warfare" ???? Are you afraid that an afghan made A4-paper-plane may shot down a N-billion dollar (tax-payer-paid) fighter?? Wake-up first-world guys!! And jokes about civil casualties are easy if you're 10 steps away of your full fridge and 10 minutes away from a super-if-you-have-the-money-market.

Re:Hi risk? (1)

throughwithit (897185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066146)

I don't think it was a reference to the high risk taken on by the aircrew, but to everyone on the ground (friend, foe, and civilian).

Re:Hi risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32066240)

Clearly, but it's so much more difficult to troll when simple logic and/or common sense is applied.

Why do I bother anymore (1, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065744)

From TFA:

The device, the size and shape of a PSP game console and costing tens of thousands of pounds, reads signals transmitted by the camera pods strapped to the underside of all NATO fighter aircraft.

From TFS:

The device, the size and shape of a PSP game console and costing tens of thousands of dollars, reads signals transmitted by the camera pods strapped to the underside of all NATO fighter aircraft.

This kind of shit is totally insulting. This isn't even the old sawhorse of /. being a US site - this is just plain outright vandalism of TFA

Re:Why do I bother anymore (4, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065782)

Well to be fair, it is possible that both are true...

Re:Why do I bother anymore (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065828)

Well to be fair, it is possible that both are true...

For Pound Sterling amounts less than (about) £66,666 .. but given the cost of military hardware, that may or may not be a reasonable assumption of the price.

Re:Why do I bother anymore (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065840)

Yes. Honestly I'm surprised it's in the sub 7-figure range at all.

"Secure" frequencies? (4, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065748)

I love all the self-promotional talk about how awesome these weapons are, I'd love to see what would happen when they deploy their unencrypted video streams and "secure" radio transmitters against an enemy that at least have weapon systems designed in the last 20 years. These "secure frequencies" would be like a huge flashing beacon when fighting an enemy that doesn't rely on AK-47s and blending in with the civilian population.

Re:"Secure" frequencies? (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066070)

So you think you know something about signals intelligence? Intercepts, decryption, code-breaking? I doubt it. Sure, you can use a modern "radar" detector to spot UAV control link frequencies, but that isn't going to get you any closer to breaking whatever control scheme is in place. It is naive at best to think that modern military hardware isn't using crypto hardware that out paces anything you've ever heard of.

Could another modern military force find, intercept and maybe understand or at least interfere with military communications? Maybe. I wouldn't count on it.

Re:"Secure" frequencies? (2, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066094)

1) A large number of UAVs were found to be transmitting their video streams completely unencrypted.

2) I didn't mention cracking the encryption, I did however use the description "huge flashing beacon" which implied that when facing an enemy that's not stuck in the middle ages it may not be such a good idea to have troops in the field use radio communication at all unless absolutely necessary since the radio signals will be "like a huge flashing beacon" to the enemy who will be able to figure out where the troops are.

Re:"Secure" frequencies? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066274)

when facing an enemy that's not stuck in the middle ages it may not be such a good idea to have troops in the field use radio communication at all unless absolutely necessary since the radio signals will be "like a huge flashing beacon" to the enemy who will be able to figure out where the troops are

So you deploy decoys - other beacons to smoke them out. Shouldn't be impossible to make the illlusion convincing. Firing on the decoy exposes their new position.

Where are the JAGs? Where are the UN? (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32065788)

Why does every offensive action not have a JAG assigned to levy penalties upon criminal personnel? Where is the UN to prosecute them for war crimes? Seriously, WTF? The prisons of The Hague should be full of American soldiers who made even so much as a tiny mistake. Why is this not happening? When Bu$hitler was in charge, maybe we could understand this deliberate genocide, but now that Obama is in office, is he also an accessory to genocide? What is happening to us good people?????

'secure frequencies' (2, Interesting)

DomHawken (1335311) | more than 4 years ago | (#32066264)

Love to know about this - there's no such thing as a 'secure frequency', if you know it, you can jam it. I'm assuming 'secure' here obviously means more than 'we've switched to a new one they can't guess' - hoping and there's some cool spread-spectrum, channel jumping geekness occurring, or even better some new tech way beyond the levels of current software-defined radio open source stuff that's ahead of the game. I love radio - whether it be it cell phones, wifi, ham's bouncing signals off the moon or distant medium-wave broadcast stations fading in and out after dark, but it still leaves me worrying that one man with an expensive PSP and a transceiver in backpack can launch a missile strike with such easily comprimised communications.
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