History Commons Groups

August 22, 2009

The ‘Truth’ about the Predator Program – It Was a ‘Big Pissing Contest”

Meandering through reams of 9/11 Commission notes, I found the following about the Predator program:

Predator Case Study
Magic solution
No one would get hurt except the bad guys. Low and acceptable cost
Use technology as our answer
We rely on hi-tech, enemies rely on low-tech
This reflects just how much no one wanted to go to war

Predator Case Study
Typical American response, solution to a problem: throw technology at it, kill one guy. Was the answer for CIA and for DoD. Meant none of the good guys would get killed or injured. American answer, apply technology, solve the messy problem of terrorism with a magic bullet.
Started out as an intelligence collection platform, then became weaponized, was going to solve the problem
Big pissing contest b/w DoD and CIA as to who would pay. But, more importantly, who would have responsibility to pull the trigger, and make a mistake.

I think there is a lot of truth in that, especially the last line about the “Big pissing contest…”

I just went back and read some of the sections in the final report about the Predator (like “Covert Action and the Predator” starting on page 210 and a section about a meeting on 4 September 2001 on pages 213-214). I have to say that the notes convey extremely important concepts in pithy language, whereas the final report does not. Shame, they should have used the “pissing contest” line.

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