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Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins
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Henry Holt and Co. 2015
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Description

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 drone 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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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/10/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780805099270
ASIN:
B00MSZ5BBI
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APA Citation (style guide)

Andrew Cockburn. (2015). Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. Henry Holt and Co.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Andrew Cockburn. 2015. Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. Henry Holt and Co.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Andrew Cockburn, Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. Henry Holt and Co, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Andrew Cockburn. Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. Henry Holt and Co, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        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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shortDescription

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 drone 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...

isOwnedByCollections
True
title
Kill Chain
fullDescription

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 drone 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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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Nick Turse, author of Kill Anything that Moves
      • content:

        "In this first-rate history, Andrew Cockburn takes readers from the Pentagon's mainframe-driven dreams of the Vietnam War era through today's visions of stealth super-drones, exposing the dark realities of twenty-first-century robotic warfare. Richly informative, superbly researched, and utterly illuminating, Kill Chain shines much-needed light on the shadowy theories and theorists, secret military and intelligence programs, and classified technologies that spawned our current age of remote-controlled assassination."

      • premium: False
      • source: Tim Weiner, author of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
      • content: "Thisbrilliant book tells us how computers killsoldiers and civilians, andexplains with bone-chilling clarityhow generalship gave way to microchips from Vietnam to Afghanistan. A blood-curdling account of the rise of robot warfare, a great story, and a prophecy to be read and heeded."
      • premium: False
      • source: Edward Jay Epstein, author of Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA
      • content: "A compellingly readable book that not only tells us why drones cannot live up to the overblown expectation of politicians but lucidly explains the vulnerability of intelligence, either robotic or human, better than any book I have ever read."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 16, 2015
        To military planners, drone warfare makes a lot of sense and embodies the "enduringly desirable attributes of ‘speed, range, precision, and lethality'": it requires fewer troops on the ground, has the opportunity to kill only targeted individuals, and—theoretically—doesn't require a lengthy campaign. Yet as national security specialist Cockburn (Rumsfeld) shows in this history of the practice, the grim reality is often anything but. Cockburn's contacts in the military apparatus allow him to describe a program rooted in emotional button-pushing over the war on terror that was riddled with egos, overzealous commanders, dead civilians, and lucrative government contracts for a weapon whose performance was often less accurate than promised. Troublingly, Cockburn says, taking out a high-ranking target—a primary goal of drone warfare—often creates a power vacuum. As an intelligence officer noted of the situation in Iraq: "We kept decapitating the leadership of these groups, and more leaders would just appear from the ranks to take their place." The program and its effects—both intended and not—are ripe for a takedown and Cockburn admirably explains the strategies, intentions, and emotions that continue to surround the program. As he says in the book's closing chapter, whether it's working or not, "the assassination machine is here to stay."

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2015
        An examination of the rise of the present generation of killing machines, antiseptic and seemingly inescapable.It's not just the technology that makes a difference on the modern battlefield. It is, by Harper's Washington editor Cockburn's (Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy, 2007, etc.) account, the development of a doctrine that augments-and sometimes replaces-the old order of battle with the notion that enemy leaders are objects fit for assassination, adding a necessarily political dimension to the military one. This shift was marked, Cockburn writes, in the Kosovo War, when Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, a "high-value target," became a candidate for execution from afar: "Assassination, officially forbidden and always denied, was still in the shadows but edging ever closer toward public respectability." Arguably, it's still disreputable, but assassination happens all the same, as witness the demise of Osama bin Laden and, less notoriously, the recent deaths of several ISIS commanders in Syria. Cockburn carefully charts the rise of the new doctrine and its supporting scholarship. It was anthropologists, for instance, who provided rationale for the unseemly bombing of Muammar Qaddafi's family compounds, killing his sons and grandchildren, on the grounds that "in Bedouin culture, Qaddafi would be diminished as a leader if he could not protect his immediate family." Given that current Army doctrine, developed by the enthusiastic counterinsurgency fighter David Petraeus, has a section on targeting enemies for elimination-and given that current political doctrine allows the killing of anyone who even resembles a terrorist-it appears that we'll have to shelve any remaining romantic ideas of single combat and get used to war by murder. Sharp-eyed and disturbing, especially Cockburn's concluding assessment that, nourished by an unending flow of money, "the assassination machine is here to stay."

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 1, 2015
        Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper's, delivers an unflattering critique of the U.S. military's reliance on advanced technology, from remote-controlled drones to databases to complex fighter planes, rather than on boots-on-the-ground presence and simpler, less expensive, often more manageable hardware. He details the terrible collateral damage from misfiresone group of more than 30 Afghan civilians killed or wounded by U.S. gunfire after being wrongly identified via drone, for instanceand ruinously counterproductive competition among the services for a share of a humongous military pie. As an anonymous officer described now-retired air force general David Deptula, More than Russians or Chinese or Al Queda or anybody else, Deptula's main enemy was the United States Army, and after that the Marine Corps, and after that the Navy. A report that is both enlivening and terribly troubling.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from March 1, 2015

        Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have actually been around for several decades, but have gained notoriety in the past ten years for their use in attacking hard-to-reach, high-priority human targets. While this form of warfare undoubtedly saves some American lives and is easier to stage than sending in the troops, the civilian toll from the strikes seems to drive more people to oppose the United States. Cockburn (Washington editor, Harper's Magazine; Rumsfeld) has experience with political/defense topics, and he writes about the development of another expensive, advanced technology weapons program, which companies and the military love. He critiques a common misperception that if one can only take out the most important targets, then the enemy will collapse; enemies always appear to have a way of adapting, he notes. The other misconception is that technology can defeat human will, even though history has plenty of counter examples (e.g., the Vietnam War). The policies, effectiveness and ethical use of drones are controversial. Their use is expanding, however, and the focus is shifting from Iraq and Afghanistan to places such as Yemen and Africa, and planning continues for operations against more advanced rivals. There are reference notes appended but no bibliography, and the illustrations do not add anything to the work overall. VERDICT Despite some problems, this is an informative and easy-to-read book for those interested in this hot topic. Perhaps a drone will drop it off at your front door. [See Prepub Alert, 9/29/14.]--Daniel Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        October 15, 2014

        With drones emerging as a principal means of warfare (they're part of current air strikes against ISIS), it's more important than ever to understand how they work. British journalist Cockburn explains their hushed origins, the technology behind them, the ways that technology can fail, and the multi-billion-dollar contracts involved.

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2015

        Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have actually been around for several decades, but have gained notoriety in the past ten years for their use in attacking hard-to-reach, high-priority human targets. While this form of warfare undoubtedly saves some American lives and is easier to stage than sending in the troops, the civilian toll from the strikes seems to drive more people to oppose the United States. Cockburn (Washington editor, Harper's Magazine; Rumsfeld) has experience with political/defense topics, and he writes about the development of another expensive, advanced technology weapons program, which companies and the military love. He critiques a common misperception that if one can only take out the most important targets, then the enemy will collapse; enemies always appear to have a way of adapting, he notes. The other misconception is that technology can defeat human will, even though history has plenty of counter examples (e.g., the Vietnam War). The policies, effectiveness and ethical use of drones are controversial. Their use is expanding, however, and the focus is shifting from Iraq and Afghanistan to places such as Yemen and Africa, and planning continues for operations against more advanced rivals. There are reference notes appended but no bibliography, and the illustrations do not add anything to the work overall. VERDICT Despite some problems, this is an informative and easy-to-read book for those interested in this hot topic. Perhaps a drone will drop it off at your front door. [See Prepub Alert, 9/29/14.]--Daniel Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins
popularity
96
publisher
Henry Holt and Co.
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