The X-47B drone, the size of an F/A-18 is operated from an aircraft carrier.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama is going all out, but neither he nor any other President of the United States can promise the total defeat of terror, because "We will never erase the evil that lies in the hearts of some human beings." He announced this in his speech on the "comprehensive counterterrorism strategy." [1]

Despite the setbacks suffered by Al Qaeda and its affiliates, "the threat today is more diffuse," from Yemen to Iraq, from Somalia to North Africa, and in countries like Libya and Syria. The extremists have gained “a foothold" following the "unrest in the Arab world" (and not as a consequence of the wars unleashed by the U.S. and NATO). The struggle of good against evil thus continues under the enlightened leadership of the President and under a new strategy definition: from "unlimited war on terror," it switches to a series (in fact unlimited) of "targeted lethal actions" with the aim of "dismantling specific networks of violent extremists who threaten America" ​​(the United States, translator’s note).

These actions will be increasingly deploying unmanned drones, whose use is "legal" according to the US and international law, given that the United States is leading a "just war of self-defense." The use of drones helps to "save human lives", as planes and missiles are less accurate and can cause a greater number of victims. Now, however, "targeted lethal action" carried out by drones and special forces "outside of war zones" will be subject to a "strong oversight". But, Obama says, "we must keep information secret." Thus, nobody will know what will be the actual use of drones and special forces.

The "strong oversight" announced by Obama has, in reality, the goal of transferring the control of "lethal, targeted actions" from the CIA to the Pentagon. In over a decade of "war on terror" it is essentially the CIA that has carried out these drone and secret agent operations not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Yemen, Somalia and many other countries not officially at war. However, through this arrangement the CIA took up too much space, encroaching upon the Pentagon’s turf. The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, which performs parallel actions to those of the CIA Command, now wants to have control over all drone operations towards which the CIA will contribute by identifying targets, both human and material. Shifting control into the hands of the Pentagon also applies to the upgrading of the drone fleet, with the goal of replacing remotely controlled drones with completely robotic ones.

On May 22, the day before Obama’s speech, Northrop Grumman performed the first flight of the MQ-4C Triton, which it is building for the U.S. Navy: the drone with a wingspan of 40 meters (greater than that of the Boeing 737 airliner), can fly without refueling for 30 hours over 18 000 km, identifying automatically through its sensor various types of ships and targets to hit. The U.S. Navy has ordered 68, part of which will surely be deployed to Sigonella or another base in Italy.

This same Northrop Grumman, six days before Obama’s speech, on the aircraft carrier George HW Bush, began "touch and go" maneuvers (landing and immediate takeoff) of the X-47B: a "smart" drone robot (as large as a F/A-18 Super Hornet) that, once launched, will independently reach and hit the target and return to the carrier.

Thus, the Nobel Peace Laureat will be able to continue "saving human lives."

Roger Lagassé
Il Manifesto (Italy)

[1Barack Obama: The future of our fight against terrorism”, by Barack Obama, Voltaire Network, 23 May 2013.