Osama's army of drones


Unmanned aerial vehicles -- or "drones" -- are a cheap, safe way to carry out surveillance or launch an attack. But lost in all the excitement about the use of drones to fight terrorism is the fact that they offer all the same benefits to the "terrorists" themselves.

Al Qaeda reportedly hoped to use them to kill George W. Bush during the G8 summit, rebels in Colombia have been buying them and Hezbollah's already flown one over Israel. This is clearly the wave of the future.

Building a ballistic missile is hard. As Defense Tech's David Hamblin says, "It really is rocket science." Even a guy like Saddam Hussein with an entire country at his disposal could do no better than the Scud missile, which couldn't go more than a few hundred miles and had terrible aim.

Pilotless drone planes are now affordable and easy to order. And thanks to GPS technology and Google maps, you can hone in your target quite easily.

Just imagine 500 drones flying over Baghdad -- or Washington! -- virtually silent, well below radar, each carrying a simple bomb or biological weapon. The panic on the streets below would be as deadly as the drones above.

The Pentagon has been spending more and more money designing the Pregrine, an anti-drone drone, to shoot attackers out of the sky. But the problem isn't taking them out, it's detecting them, and that's proving to be nearly impossible.

Some 700 years ago, plague-ridden bodies were catapulted over city walls as crude biological weapons. In World War II, the Japanese tried to bomb the United States with paper balloons. This next generation of unmanned terror may prove to be the deadliest yet.

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