Four US "Superbases" And "The Largest Embassy To Date" Signal Long-Term Plans In Iraq...

Four US "Superbases" And "The Largest Embassy To Date" Signal Long-Term Plans In Iraq...
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Maj. Micah Morgan fondly pats the nose of his Predator drone, much as a cavalry officer of old might have stroked the muzzle of his prized horse. "This is the future of the Air Force," says Morgan, a former B-1 bomber pilot. It is a glorious day in the Sunni Triangle. Outside the "wire" of Balad Air Base the insurgency still rages and sectarian war looms, but the sky above is a deep azure and, no small thing, wholly American-owned. A relaxed Morgan watches from the shade of Saddam Hussein's old hardened hangars as another Predator--an unmanned craft about the size of a Cessna--approaches for a remote-control landing at the vast airfield after a recon mission. Stepping into one of his modular "ground-control stations," which are encased in steel and shipped to Balad as single units, Morgan flicks on a screen that shows his flock of drones (the exact number is classified, but it's the largest fleet in the world) hovering over Baghdad, each carrying two Hellfire missiles and searching with uncanny clarity for insurgents and other signs of trouble.

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