2010 is the last year of the new century and millennium and is the tenth consecutive year of the United States’ war in Afghanistan and in the 15-nation area of responsibility subsumed under Operation Enduring Freedom. In early March American military deaths in the Greater Afghan War theater – Afghanistan, Cuba (Guantanamo Bay), Djibouti, Eritrea, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen – surpassed the 1,000 mark.
This year is also the tenth year of the first ground and the first Asian war fought by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which wages wars from and not to protect the nations of the northern Atlantic Ocean.
2010 is the tenth and deadliest year in Washington’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) for targeted assassinations and untargeted “collateral damage.”
Originally designed for battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance, albeit often to call in lethal military strikes, drones have been employed by the U.S. since 2001 to identify and kill human targets.
The first “hunter-killer” unmanned combat air vehicle, the Predator, was used by the Pentagon in Bosnia in 1995 and later in the 78-day air war against Yugoslavia in 1999.
In 2001 Predators were equipped with Hellfire missiles and were deployed from Pakistan and Uzbekistan to launch attacks inside Afghanistan. The following year they were flown from the U.S. military base at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti for the same purpose in Yemen.
The Predator and its successor, the Reaper, capable of carrying fifteen times more weaponry and flying at three times the speed, have been used for deadly attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and with particularly murderous effect in Pakistan since the autumn of 2008. They are equipped with cameras connected by satellite links to bases in the United States.