I’ve got a keen interest in all things EMS. A while back I came across this article from Britain’s Daily Mail citing the proposed use of AED drones to save the lives of patients experiencing cardiac emergencies. Amazing! The next few years will likely see the proliferation of drone technology in all walks of modern society. Right now we best know the drone for its darker role–unmanned weapon of choice in our long running conflict against asymmetrical actors at home and abroad. War is terrible no matter what weapons you use to wage it. Right now drones act at the spear-point in this struggle, but they can and will be much more than just weapons.
They will become part of the framework of our society. Need proof? Amazon’s on the case. Also check this news story out. Want more proof? At some point soon, we’ll even have a Drones For Dummies book on our shelves. You can check that out with your copy of Crocheting For Dummies.
If you’re interested in bringing yourself up to speed on drones and drone warfare, CLP provides a lot of great material! Here’s a short list:
A Theory Of The Drone by Grégoire Chamayou (2015)
Kill Chain : The Rise Of The High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn (2015)
Hunter Killer : Inside America’s Unmanned Air War by T. Mark McCurley (2014)
Unmanned : Drone Warfare And Global Security by Ann Rogers (2014)
Predator : The Secret Origins Of The Drone Revolution by Richard Whittle (2014)
Sting Of The Drone by Richard A. Clarke (2014)
Blue Warrior by Mike Maden (2014)
Drones most often conjure images of war and death; five years from now, who knows?
Every now and then a book comes along that really helps me get a handle on current events. A foreign policy junkie like myself gets a fix constantly from the reams of info available online. But there is usually something missing. A few paragraphs and a carefully chosen photo can fill me on some event, sometimes only hours after it happens on the other side of the world. But those paragraphs usually aren’t able to capture that vital element in comprehension. I am talking about context.
That’s when Print throws open the saloon doors and swaggers back into the room. The Internet is wonderful and all, but good luck trying to parse out what’s happening in somewhere like Nigeria from a few news articles and a Wikipedia page.
Getting context and background on the shadowy enemies of Obama’s drone campaigns had proven very difficult until I found this book, The Thistle and the Drone, by Akbar Ahmed. This remarkable work takes a historical and anthropological look at the tribal groups most likely to have their sleep interrupted by a hellfire missile. It’s impressive for a number of reasons. Ahmed’s encyclopedic knowledge on the topic was acquired by his own experience as a government administrator in Pakistan’s most notorious areas. There, in the pre-9/11 world, the author learned the histories and organizations of groups like the Pashtun and Baluch. His own scholarly research further completes an expansive understanding of tribal societies and elements common to all sorts of cultures from the Scots that gave the English so much trouble so long ago, to the Chechens and Avars that resisted Russian imperial aims. Books like this only come along so often. Ahmed provides the background and nuance to center-periphery conflicts such as those raging in Waziristan and northen Nigeria. This book should be required reading, as inconvenient as its contents may be.
For more background on Pakistan and Afghanistan and the long chain of events that led to our never-ending war against people wearing sandals, I highly recommend Ghost wars : the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll.
Any other news junkies out there that happen upon singular works that go beyond the headlines, please sound off. I am always looking for an edge, and I am sure the library has it.