Drones On and On…

So now Iran claims that they’ve recovered data from an American RQ-170 Sentinel, our super-secret-squirrel drone that dive-bombed into Iran late last year while monitoring their military and nuclear facilities. I think few people doubt the basic claims. But considering all the other shenanigans the US has engaged with Iran over the past 60 years, this is a fairly low-key embarrassment. In technical diplomatic terms, just a paltry imbroglio a go-go.

Do keep in mind that both US and Iranian relations are based on well-tested method of underhanded diplomacy: Namely, the best cock ‘n bull story wins. So on this occasion, it’s Iran’s turn to squat down and pinch off a steaming pile that would make any axis-of-evil government proud.

So what are the Iranians claiming? Well, for starters they say they dismantled our drone to its raw wing nuts and are in the process of building their own improved version (camel leather trim, gold wheel rims, and factory-installed air, all standard). Assuming they have some good measuring tape and at least one working handheld calculator, everyone expects them to cobble something together that looks pretty much like the original. The greater concern, though, is that they might reverse engineer the chemical composition of the drone’s radar-deflecting paint. Apparently this special formula (which ironically is available in a non-military grade version available at Home Depot, called Bavarian Cream 340E-3)  has anti-radar properties that America would prefer to keep a secret. It’s sort of like the formula to Coke syrup, which for some bizarre reason seems to be uncrackable. Anyway, we can only hope the engineers thought about this situation in advance, perhaps with the assistance of experts from the Coca Cola Company. I mean, duh! It’s not like this is the first time a military asset has plopped itself into unfriendly hands, right?

Iran seems also to be waxing quite vocal regarding the drone’s encrypted data. They claim the data shows it was used to spy on Osama bin Laden weeks before he was killed. The US military hasn’t commented on the vehicle’s past record (not that one would expect them to hand out the Carfax report), but doesn’t this sound like one of those stories you get from used car salesmen? “Yessiree-bob! This here little number was owned by, er, Michael Jackson himself. Yeah, you heard me. He bought it while, uhm, trying to keep a low profile on vacation here…in beautiful Bayonne, NJ. Yeah, that’s the ticket! It would have gone to the Smithsonian if we hadn’t gotten to the auction early that morning!” (Big, evil smile.)

Who knows? Maybe our little drone was used to spy on Bin-Laden taking a lavender cream sponge bath. Who cares? I’m not sure what that gives the Iranians other than bragging rights. Perhaps they want to put our drone in a museum and charge more for tickets. I suppose it could shore up some cash for their failed economic policies. Your guess is as good as mine.

For the record, Washington’s request for the drone’s return was officially rejected. What a shocker that was, eh? Even so, I would have liked to see Iran’s internal meeting regarding their enthusiastic response. Did they consider using international legal frameworks such as “finders-keepers-losers-weepers”? Or was it more like, “You can have it back when camel’s grow wings and crap on the White House lawn during flyovers”?

Sen. Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said that he views the reports with skepticism. I’m with that chochem all the way. (For all you Yiddish-challenged folks out there, the term “chochem” means genius or idiot, depending on how you feel about Joe Lieberman.) But even though we could invoke a “liar liar pants on fire” response to their hype, it might pay to let things play out a while longer. I mean, even though we’ve been caught with our Darth Vader Underoos pulled down, some media reports claim that Iran has rejected Russian and Chinese requests to have copies of Iran’s findings on the drone. At least so far.

Thus proving once again that no matter how fakakta-up the situation is, there’s always room for things to get worse.

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