As you may have heard, someone messed up, probably a former computer gaming geek in a bunker somewhere in Kansas eating a Hot Pockets and spilling his soda on the control console, and landed a super secret military spy drone intact in Iran. What a Christmas present for that country's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been flaunting his new prize to the world.
The administration's response has been to simply ask, "Please, Mr. Ahmadinejad, can we have our drone back?" to which Ahmadinejad's response, after he manages to stop laughing, has been an emphatic, "No."
Fine. So it's back to the diplomatic tit for tat to see how we can find a bargaining chip to get Iran to return our unmanned spy plane. But former Vice President Dick Cheney this week said what the U.S. should have done is send another plane into Iran to bomb the drone and destroy the evidence and the technology. Like that would have solved everything. More likely it would have resulted in some form of retaliation by Iran against Americans or American assets that would have eventually escalated into a conflict of some kind between the two countries. Haven't we had enough of that already over there?
Despite Ahmadinejad's assertions this week that he has figured out how to control the captured drone (I can see him now with a remote control joystick in his hand making the stealth fighter-looking contraption go up and down) I doubt Iran would be capable of reverse engineering the thing and making their own. Unless, of course, the same idiot who landed it there left the assembly instructions inside.
While Cheney's sabre-rattling gives us something to be thankful for - that he's no longer in charge - it does raise an interesting question: Didn't any of these brilliant military engineers ever watch "Star Trek" as a kid? Or any science fiction, for that matter.
Self-destruct mechanisms are a staple in science fiction. How many times did Capt. Kirk initiate the self-destruct mode on the Enterprise after aliens took over the ship only to countermand it with just seconds to spare after a galactic game of chicken?
If there is such a thing as military intelligence, which seems highly doubtful in this scenario, this whole situation could have been easily avoided by simply planting a small, remotely-detonated explosive device in all of these unmanned drones. Problem solved.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 222 Farley Hall, University MS 38677 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.