Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins

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An essential and page-turning narrative on the history of drone warfare by the acclaimed author of Rumsfeld, exploring how this practice emerged, who made it happen, and the real consequences of targeted killing

Assassination by drone is a subject of deep and enduring fascination. Yet few understand how and why this has become our principal way of waging war. Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story; its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs that made UAV operations possible, the ways in which the technology works and, despite official claims, does not work. Taking the reader inside the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests - military, CIA and corporate - that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy -- and the multi-billion dollar contracts they spawn -- have been put to the test. Drawing on sources deep in the military and intelligence establishments, Andrew Cockburn's Kill Chain unveils the true effects, as demonstrated by bloody experience, of assassination warfare, a revelation that readers will find surprising as well as shocking.

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About the author

Andrew Cockburn is the Washington Editor of Harper's magazine and the author of many articles and books on national security, including the New York Times Editor's Choice Rumsfeld and The Threat, which destroyed the myth of Soviet military superiority underpinning the Cold War. He is a regular opinion contributor to the Los Angeles Times and has written for, among others, the New York Times, National Geographic and the London Review of Books.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Henry Holt and Company
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Published on
Mar 10, 2015
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780805099270
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Aviation
Political Science / Intelligence & Espionage
Political Science / Terrorism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Andrew Cockburn
Donald Rumsfeld, who as secretary of defense oversaw the army, navy, air force, and marines from 2001 to December 2006, is widely blamed for the catastrophic state of America's involvement in Iraq. In his groundbreaking book Rumsfeld, Washington insider Andrew Cockburn details Rumsfeld's decisions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and also shows how his political legacy stretches back decades and will reach far into the future.

Relying on sources that include high-ranking officials in the Pentagon and the White House, Rumsfeld goes far beyond previous accounts to reveal a man consumed with the urge to dominate each and every human encounter, and whose aggressive ambition has long been matched by his inability to display genuine leadership or accept responsibility for egregious error. Cockburn exposes Rumsfeld's early career as an Illinois congressman, his rise to prominence as an official in the Nixon White House, his careful maneuvering to avoid the fallout of the Watergate scandal, and his skillful infighting as secretary of defense under President Ford. Cockburn also chronicles for the very first time Rumsfeld's subsequent tenure as CEO of G. D. Searle (and his devoted efforts to get governmental approval for the controversial artificial sweetener aspartame) as well as his interesting behavior in secret high-level government nuclear war games in the years he was out of power.

President George W. Bush's hasty elevation of Rumsfeld as his secretary of defense proved historic, for it was the triumvirate of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Rumsfeld who plunged America into the disastrous quagmire of the war in Iraq. Cockburn reveals how Rumsfeld's habits of intimidation, indecision, ignoring awkward realities, destructive micromanagement, and bureaucratic manipulation all helped doom America's military adventure. The book challenges the notion that Rumsfeld was an effective manager driven to transform the American military, examines the reasons that Rumsfeld was removed from office, and shows how his second appointment as secretary of defense reflects a deep conflict between President Bush and his father, former president George H. W. Bush.

Brimming with powerful revelations, Rumsfeld is sure to emerge as the must-have piece of investigative journalism as America grapples with its difficult involvement in Iraq and the uncertain path the country faces today.
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Less than a month after the September 11th attacks, a tiny, CIA-controlled Predator drone flew over Kandahar, searching out the home of the Taliban supreme commander Mullah Mohammed Omar. A lack of understanding of the drone's capabilities combined with a messy chain of command allowed Omar to escape, but the strike on a nearby convoy vehicle became the Predator's first lethal action. Since then, the use of armed drones has become the dominant American way of war. In Sudden Justice, award-winning investigative journalist Chris Woods explores the secretive history of the United States' use of armed drones and their key role not only on today's battlefields, but also in a covert targeted killing project that has led to the deaths of thousands. The CIA nurtured and developed drones before the War on Terror ever began, seeking a platform from which it could monitor its targets and act lethally and instantly on the intelligence it gathered. Since then, remotely piloted aircraft have played a critical role in America's global counter-terrorism operations and have been deployed to devastating effect in conventional wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Drone crews, analysts, intelligence officials and military commanders all speak frankly to the author about how armed drones revolutionized warfare--and the unexpected costs to some of those involved. But there is another, secret war--one in which drones scour the skies of Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia in search of militant and terrorist targets. The American government insists that this hidden war is legal. The CIA even claims that its armed drones are "the most precise weapon ever invented," so perfect that civilians are no longer killed. Sudden Justice describes the reality of this secret drone war, one in which hundreds of civilians have died, and the wider strategic interests of the United States may have been jeopardized. The ability to target its enemies from the safety of headquarters thousands of miles from the battlefield has profound implications for how America conducts its foreign policy, and for how it is seen in the world. As the first book to comprehensively assemble and analyze the facts about the U.S. drone program, Sudden Justice is the essential guide for understanding its implications.
Andrew Cockburn
Donald Rumsfeld, who as secretary of defense oversaw the army, navy, air force, and marines from 2001 to December 2006, is widely blamed for the catastrophic state of America's involvement in Iraq. In his groundbreaking book Rumsfeld, Washington insider Andrew Cockburn details Rumsfeld's decisions in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and also shows how his political legacy stretches back decades and will reach far into the future.

Relying on sources that include high-ranking officials in the Pentagon and the White House, Rumsfeld goes far beyond previous accounts to reveal a man consumed with the urge to dominate each and every human encounter, and whose aggressive ambition has long been matched by his inability to display genuine leadership or accept responsibility for egregious error. Cockburn exposes Rumsfeld's early career as an Illinois congressman, his rise to prominence as an official in the Nixon White House, his careful maneuvering to avoid the fallout of the Watergate scandal, and his skillful infighting as secretary of defense under President Ford. Cockburn also chronicles for the very first time Rumsfeld's subsequent tenure as CEO of G. D. Searle (and his devoted efforts to get governmental approval for the controversial artificial sweetener aspartame) as well as his interesting behavior in secret high-level government nuclear war games in the years he was out of power.

President George W. Bush's hasty elevation of Rumsfeld as his secretary of defense proved historic, for it was the triumvirate of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Rumsfeld who plunged America into the disastrous quagmire of the war in Iraq. Cockburn reveals how Rumsfeld's habits of intimidation, indecision, ignoring awkward realities, destructive micromanagement, and bureaucratic manipulation all helped doom America's military adventure. The book challenges the notion that Rumsfeld was an effective manager driven to transform the American military, examines the reasons that Rumsfeld was removed from office, and shows how his second appointment as secretary of defense reflects a deep conflict between President Bush and his father, former president George H. W. Bush.

Brimming with powerful revelations, Rumsfeld is sure to emerge as the must-have piece of investigative journalism as America grapples with its difficult involvement in Iraq and the uncertain path the country faces today.
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