Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Fox News would “absolutely” continue, even though an RQ-170 drone is currently starring in its own reality-TV show in Iran. President Obama’s pathetic request to let Arquoo come home has fallen upon deaf ears. The BBC reports that Tehran joyously gave America’s impotent President the middle finger:
“The American espionage drone is now Iran’s property, and our country will decide what steps to take regarding it,” [Defense Minister Ahmad] Vahidi was quoted as saying by the Isna news agency, following a call for the aircraft’s return by US President Barack Obama on Monday.
“Instead of apologising to the Iranian nation, [the US] is brazenly asking for the drone back,” he added, according to another semi-official news agency, Mehr.
On Monday, Iranian state TV reported that military experts were in the final stages of recovering data from the drone.
A member of the Iranian parliament’s national security committee, Parviz Sorouri, said the information they extracted would be used to “file a lawsuit against the United States over the invasion.”
(Emphases mine.) Ha! Just try it, mullahs! Our crackerjack Attorney General will make mincemeat of you in court! You did see how he handled himself before Congress, didn’t you? Tremble in fear!
The Iranians improbably boast that they’re going to start mass-producing stealth drones, once they finish reverse-engineering the technology. If they can get a few drones in the air, or at least become more adept at tracking and defeating them, it will come in handy when they seal off the Strait of Hormuz.
The Iranians just announced that they would soon practice this maneuver, which would pretty much kick off World War III and/or collapse the tottering global economy. In fact, oil prices spiked on Tuesday because the markets thought Iran was closing the Straits right now. Bloomberg News reports that both the Iranian foreign ministry and U.S. Fifth Fleet had to issue press releases to reassure everyone that the Straits were still open.
Our captured drone technology will also be very useful for China, whose President, Hu Jintao, just ordered his military to “make extended preparations for military combat” with the United States in the South China Sea. There have been territorial disputes in those waters for a long time, including a gas field that both China and Japan lay claim to. Sabers are periodically rattled. The qualitative edge of American forces is an important reason the sabers haven’t been drawn yet.
In a remarkable CNN interview on Monday, former Vice President Dick Cheney revealed that, according to his sources, President Obama could have destroyed the drone, but refused to give the order. As related by The Hill:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday night criticized President Obama for not finding a way to destroy the downed U.S. drone in Iran.
“The right response to that would have been to go in immediately after it had gone down and destroy it,” he said on CNN’s “Out Front With Erin Burnett.”
Instead, Cheney said, “he asked nicely for them to return it. They aren’t gonna do that. … Or, they’ll send it back to us in pieces after they’ve gotten all the intelligence out of it they can.”
[…] Cheney, who served with former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, said he “was told the president had three options on his desk and he rejected all of them.” The options all involved destroying the drone on the ground.
“You can do that from the air,” he said, “and, in effect, make it impossible for them to benefit from having captured that drone.”
If you think this is all horribly embarrassing for the President now, just wait until that drone technology comes back to haunt his successor.