Cyber warriors
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Feb 19, 2013 | 1691 views |  0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Pentagon for the first time is considering scaling back the massive build-up of drones conducted in the past few years, both to save money and to  adapt to new areas of operation, such as Asia, as the Afghanistan war winds down. Photo: Eric Gay/Associated Press/file
The Pentagon for the first time is considering scaling back the massive build-up of drones conducted in the past few years, both to save money and to adapt to new areas of operation, such as Asia, as the Afghanistan war winds down. Photo: Eric Gay/Associated Press/file
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Just before the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, American Col. William Prescott famously told his army of revolutionaries, “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

Such an order would be irrelevant for the soldiers of the world’s militaries engaging in remote-control war. The Chinese military’s Unit 61398 is behind “an overwhelming percentage of the attacks on American corporations, organizations and government agencies,” The New York Times reported Tuesday. The United States and Israel reportedly used a similar hacking attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, setting back the nation’s enrichment of uranium. U.S. military members pilot drones over Afghanistan, Iran and elsewhere while sitting in bases in California and Nevada.

Last week, the Pentagon announced the establishment of the Distinguished Warfare Medal for members of the U.S. military who operate drones.

“Our military reserves its highest decorations obviously for those who display gallantry and valor in actions where their lives are on the line, and we will continue to do so,” outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said. “But we should also have the ability to honor the extraordinary actions that make a true difference in combat operations.”

The medal is the first created by the U.S. military since the Bronze Star in 1944. It’s a striking illustration that while warfare will never be fully sterilized, an increasing number of its soldiers will join the battle while sitting in front of large computer screens in darkened rooms thousands of miles from the front.
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