back to article Reaper aerial killbot harvests its first fleshies

The new MQ-9 Reaper airborne wardroid has mown down its first fleshies, according to the US Air Force. The MQ-9, aka Predator-B, is a derivative of the original MQ-1 Predator drone aircraft, one of the first mechanoids to kill human beings. Famously, a CIA Predator blew away al-Qaeda bigwig Qa'ed Sunyan al-Harethi in 2002 …


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  1. Kurt Guntheroth

    purple prose

    Isn't this a bit much for an article not marked with the ROTM key?

  2. TLA


    It's not so amusing when machines kill humans...intentionally.

    Worrying stuff

  3. smorgasbord


    it would be better if it was a robot helicopter with machetes for blades.

  4. Phil Endecott

    Disgusting. Real people.

    Lewis Page, you are sick.

    "Hapless meatsacks slaughtered by flying mechanoid"

    That's *real* people, killed dead. Imagine that it was your mother, or your son. Please show some respect.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Is there a web interface?

    Just the thing for clearing the queue to the local garage forecourt etc.

    Eagerly awaiting the first G0000000000000000gle hack

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Terence McCarthy


    A club is a machine, so is a sword or a knife. Like these the Predator these are tasked and controlled by human beings.

    OK, perhaps not quite like us, but human all the same.


  8. Chris Taylor

    @ Phil

    Clearly the articule has provoked a reaction for you

    But tell me how this is different for GW1 or GW2 US mil briefings where they regulalry displayed the on board footage from KillCam 1 or Killcam 2 on the planes or on the missle

    to accompanying whoops and cheers from the press corps and our the pilots when the bombs struck ?

    Either way people died, possibly the tone could be different but then, if I wanted sanitised I'd read the guardian or the bbc

    Console yourself that this was done beneath the flag of democracy, and be grateful that the US and its allies have this technology and not the Axis of T'ruh

  9. Rodrigo Andrade

    Give him a break

    Give Mr. Page a break. "These are *real* humans"... indeed, so be my guest to go into a comatose shock when you realize these are not the first victims of Dubya's thirst for oil.

    War is about killing your enemies, so how do you expect a news article about it to be tame and docile. What should he have written? "More Iraqis "neutralized" by US troops"? Live in denial if you will, but this is El Reg, FFS. I want tech news, and this one fits the bill right in.

    And no, I am not american, dont suport the bushies or the war.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But we'd all be VERY happy ...

    if they could find a way of using it on serious spammers.

  11. Joe Bloggs

    Re: Disgusting. Real people.

    The author is merely describing how human targets are regarded by the owner and operator of the killbots, i.e. Uncle Sam. The US have a time-honoured tradition of treating anyone who isn't American as inferior humans. They also have a long-held policy that states that those who aren't with them are against them.

    So, if you happen to have the misfortune to be non-American and disagree with US policies as well, you are in Uncle Sam's eyes nothing more than a juicy meatsack good only for target practice.

    On the other hand, if you don't hold US citizenship but love licking Yankee boots, i.e. you're an ally, then you are considered a step up from pond scum and barely tolerated. Of course, if you're part of the Coalition of the Killing, I mean, Willing, then you get a pet on your head for your loyalty and dedication.

    Indeed, as recent history has shown, even allied troops aren't worth much more than meatsacks. The families of British and Canadian soldiers shot by US troops in numerous friendly-fire incidents are still waiting for answers that will never come. Time and again, the US government has stalled investigations, withheld evidence, and refused to extradite the perpetrators to face justice. The same goes for their Iraqi serfs.

    Human beings as meatsacks: Disgusting? Sure. But it doesn't make it any less real.

  12. laird cummings

    Get some perspective and reality, people.


    << "...these are not the first victims of Dubya's thirst for oil." >>

    Yeah, 'cause we know Afganistan is just *swimming* in oil. Not.

    Otherwise, agreed.

    @Phil, Rik, etc:

    Real people? Yup. Real enemies in a declared war. Would you be happier if they'd been killed by more personal means, like, say, hitting them over the head with rocks, perhaps? Please. Dead is dead, no matter if done by an antique killer robot like a torpedo (yes, that's right folks - killer robots are more than a hundred years old), or by a modern one like the Predator-B, or by sneaking up and slitting their throats in the dark.

    come down off your high horses and realize that wars kill, and the means are largely immaterial, save that such killing is not to be random in nature, nor excessive to the need.

  13. Chris C

    re: Phil

    "Lewis Page, you are sick.

    "Hapless meatsacks slaughtered by flying mechanoid"

    That's *real* people, killed dead. Imagine that it was your mother, or your son. Please show some respect."

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe Mr. Page is not "sick" as you claim, but is making a statement? I seriously doubt he considers people to be "hapless meatsacks", but that *IS* how the various military and government agencies view their enemies. And that *IS* how the machines view us. And since this is part of ROTM (though confusingly not marked as such), it does fit. I viewed his words as a statement of the sick and deplorable nature of war. But I guess we each see things as we want.

  14. Hig Hurtenflurst


    Nothing to do with anything, but happened to put on some music long since ignored and read the last of these comments to:

    "Forward he cried from the rear

    and the front rank died.

    And the general sat and the lines on the map

    moved from side to side. "

    Just seemed apt.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thank you, El Reg

    That was the funniest damn thing I've heard all day.

    Plus some old-fogey U-turner on the local highway just got his... and nobody else was hurt. It's the first time I've cheered on a Hummer driver.

    Things are looking up!

  16. Sam

    @ Laird Cummings


    "Yeah, 'cause we know Afganistan is just *swimming* in oil. Not."

    Actually, Afghanistan is near the Caspian Sea. Not only is it an important route for Oil and Gas out of the region, but it actually controls some of that Oil and Gas.

    Potentially the Caspian Sea region could become as important as the Persian Gulf to America's future energy needs.

    (Damn I wish this was Slashdot - the above would earn me great karma)

  17. Dennis Myhand
    Paris Hilton

    Some clarification

    "ROTM By TLA

    By Terence McCarthy

    Posted Tuesday 30th October 2007 15:58 GMT

    A club is a machine, so is a sword or a knife."

    A club, sword, or knife are not machines. A machine, by definition, has moving parts. Let's try and keep the discussion intelligent and keep it above the level of my High School students, please.

  18. Rob Clubley

    "America's future energy needs"

    How come the US acts as if the whole world's oil supply was put there just for them?

  19. Luther Blissett

    Clubs, hearts, diamonds, spades

    @Dennis Myhand: >> A club, sword, or knife are not machines. A machine, by definition, has moving parts.

    They become so by being attached to a human arm, which is the moving component. The critical feature seems to be the property of multiplying force, which in these cases is by the principle of the lever.

  20. Jon Tocker

    Not so hard on Phil and Rik, OK?

    They probably don't read much (Daily Mail only?) and are unaware of certain literary devices used by journalists and other writers to evoke shock and anger at the SUBJECT of the article.

    "Reaper aerial killbot harvests its first fleshies" and "Hapless meatsacks slaughtered by flying mechanoid" clearly reflect Mr Page's disparaging views on the designers, builders and controllers of these devices.

    Perhaps the lack of "RoTM" status is deliberate to put the responsibility squarely with the psychopathic egomaniacal in-breed, George Dubbilya, and his demented band of Merry Maniacs, rather than inferring the machine itself is responsible for the slaughter.

    Remember - it was Bushgov that pointed and fired this thing, Skynet hasn't yet manage to wrest control of the machines from the hands of the US Military.

    I suspect that when it does, it will be noticeable largely in the *decrease* in hapless fleshies being exterminated - as no future machine-ruled dystopia could be as uncaring of human life, and as eager to obliterate it, as GW Bush and the pig-heads in charge of the US Armed forces currently are.

    Not even Daleks would be that inhumane or xenophobic...

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Reality and Perspective

    @ Laird

    Which country was one of the first to sign the pipeline agreements to move Baltic oil .... No Afghanistan has no oil -- but it DOES happen to be in the way of several different pipelines ....... (theres my quarter for the day)

    cluetastic hint:

    The 'murricans firmly believe that their future oil supplies are in the baltic, and the straights of the Bophorus will not support the tanker traffic that the (Persian/Iranian/Arabic/whichever politcally correct name is currently in use) Gulf does.

    And it takes a *LOT* of pipleline capacity to make sure that no one country can cut them off .....

  22. Walter Brown

    @Rodrigo Andrade - Nominee for this weeks Darwin award

    your statements are completely off base...

    "these are not the first victims of Dubya's thirst for oil."

    "What should he have written? "More Iraqis "neutralized" by US troops""

    This took place in Afghanistan, jackass, not Iraq... news flash, there is no oil in Afghanistan.

    Now if you had said "these are not the first victims of Dubya's thirst for Opium."

    then you might of had some weight behind your rant, but it still would have sank like the titanic because youre geographically challenged...

    "And no, I am not american, dont suport the bushies or the war."

    That makes me happy, on both accounts, please dont ever change that...

  23. lglethal Silver badge

    Reaper Aerial Killerbots dont kill people...

    the bombs they drop do!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wonder which OS it runs, being a hugely expensive (no doubt over-budget) project, it probably runs windows

    which means that they can be used in the war against spam, after all the US government can only go to war against things it is responsible for, and as soon as it starts sending spam planes in to the air it will be able to go to war against spam.

  25. Brett

    With a name like reaper

    how else can you talk. If the machine was the "netralize" or "defender" or "governator" then that would be diffrent. I though it was more a poke at the name and the concept of a unmaned airborne drone that would would indeed hunt fleeing people. I can't picture the controlers going "Well Osama is running away. Lets stop shooting at them."

  26. Owen

    The point about swords.

    If you want someone dead and you have a sword, you end up with bits of entrails and offal to clean off yourself and weapon. It's a very personal experience killing someone yourself this close up and having to see the bits of the face you haven't cut off yet as the victim dies.

    Use a rifle and it's unlikely that you are going to be splattered with gore, hell you may not even smell the faecal matter or see the recipient die. You're getting a little less personally involved in the death experience.

    If you can manage to be sat in a comfy control room on your own home turf and just pressing a button on a joystick before getting a refill of coffee, the whole resistance neutralisation campaign becomes a whole lot easier to live with. It's just like all those video games that your PC has.

    So, to help avoid feeling bad about it, the video and button pressing idea really does save a whole lot of angst and subsequent self doubt, psychiatric counselling and of course cleaning bills.

    OK, this lack of personal bad feeling of providing us all with the anonymity and distance comes with a cost; the bigger profits than a close and personal weapon like a sword.

    Like Chris Taylor pointed out, some squaddie in a field with a sword doesn't provide "us" with a sense of ownership of the successful mission. A camera zooming in to a target and then a picture of an explosion lets us of the participating nations all share in the glory of our war for peace, truth, democracy, religious freedom or whatever it is about this week.

    More film from and of warheads on the telly please.


    P.S. For the hard of thinking out there, the above was irony, just like a sword.

  27. b shubin

    Not personal, just business

    a whole new meaning to that phrase.

    seems like every month, there are ever more increasingly impersonal, high-tech ways of spontaneously killing groups of people one has never met, with governmental sponsorship and on a war-theater scale.

    mercenaries, killbots and proxy wars - i do believe i see the shape of conflicts to come. next up is a war that continues for a full century, and barely ever makes the news, as it is mainly a profit center, like some described on forums.

  28. John Parker


    I really think we need themanfromMars's eerie input on this one...

  29. Sceptical Bastard


    Quote: "it probably runs windows"

    Shit! I'd hoped we could keep Ballmer away from lethal weapons.

    Now I *am* scared!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The 'murricans firmly believe that their future oil supplies are in the baltic, and the straights of the Bophorus will not support the tanker traffic that the (Persian/Iranian/Arabic/whichever politcally correct name is currently in use) Gulf does."

    Maybe we should just complete the transformation from Americans to 'mericans to 'murricans to murlocs?

    @Chris Taylor

    I was slightly affected by the tone of the article, but it's clear what it's intention is. Unfortunately I find your comparison weak, as I felt a lot more disgusted at the circus show that accompanied the bombs dropping, seeing as they weren't making a satirical point.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not personal...

    Another great exponent of American criminal free enterprise, Don Vito Corleone, tells us that *everything* is personal.

    Even that which is impersonal for one party is personal for the victims' families.

  32. Bernard Mergendeiler
    Thumb Down

    Purple prose with black spots

    Quisling? Obviously the author doesn't have the slightest idea what the term means. "Traitor" simply does not fit the context.

    Aside from a bit of factual content, this is just a diatribe. I like the Reg's edgy style overall, but this piece is absurd.

  33. David S

    @Dennis Myhand

    "A club, sword, or knife are not machines. A machine, by definition, has moving parts. Let's try and keep the discussion intelligent and keep it above the level of my High School students, please."

    Oh dear. Don't you hate an inaccurate pedant? Actually, if my memory of high school physics is right, a machine is a device for the conversion or transmission of force or energy. In common use, it's a device which makes work easier. It doesn't have to have moving parts, though; one of the simplest machines is the inclined plane, which was good enough to help build pyramids with, but doesn't move an inch.

    So. Clubs, swords and knives ARE machines. 'Kay?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Afghanistan is near the Caspian Sea

    Um, it's a Turkmenistan away...

    There's talk of a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, but that would involve laying pipeline through some of the most inhospitable terrain imagineable.

    Surely it would be easier to go through Iran and into the existing network there?

    There are no proven oil reserves in Afghanistan, gas is limited. Although given the history it's not suprising that not much exploration has been done.

    Perhaps the obivous reason for the NATO invasion of Afghanistan is that it's government were harbouring and assisting the training of a terrorist organisation that attacked a NATO state. Even the frogs turned up, didn't do anything, but they did turn up.

    Just because Iraq was about the oil doesn't mean everything is.

  35. Rodrigo Andrade

    @Walter Brown

    You are right, it didnt happen in Iraqi. When I read the article I was more interested in the tech involved (ooohh, look at those missiles) than in who were the meatbags in question. Does it really matter who the fleshies being torn apart were? I don't think so, after all, the point of the article is to inform how american deathware is being employed, not on who, and my post was directed at the overly touchy-feely ones crying "bloody murder!" on the fact that some folks involved in a war got killed, and somehow the author had some part of the guilty. If that's your case, diverting the point to an overlook (hey, I can't focus in details while the boss is driving by) won't change the fact that you, sir, is indeed a fairy.

    As for the rest of your rant, read the other comments about oil Afghanistan, "jackass". It may not have the oil, but that doesnt mean it isnt strategic territory for suplying it.

    And about the title of your rant, pull your head out of your ass and go find out what a Darwin award is. Unless in some way I manage to end my life by posting a comment in El Reg, I dont see your logic, only the fact that you are trying too hard to write something "clever" while completely failing at it. Either way, its too late for that. My offspring is probably running free already by now, so that would dramatically impact the score for a worthwhile nomination.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I approve of the Murlocs comment above.

  37. Sillyfellow

    life is sacred

    this is worse than disgusting. nobody has any right to take any life!

    to the 'great leaders' of this world: if you want to kill then go do your own dirty work instead of just ordering others to kill and die.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you take this in a rise of the machines context, quisling actually makes perfect sense. They are in league with the 'enemy' machine after all.

  39. dave
    Thumb Up

    Oh my god, they killed alKenny!

    Really, provided they were enemy combatants rather than unfortunate civilians, I can't why this should be a problem - we are in a definite state of conflict.

    If you imagine that these were all peace-loving innocents, callously destroyed by the decadent West, you are, quite simply, pants-on-head retarded. The Taliban's extreme barbarity is not really a point in question.

    I have no problem with fun being poked in the direction of their demise.

  40. Colin Dines


    Afghanistan IS part of the whole thirst for oil thing ... not because they have it but because dubya & co wanted to run a pipeline through there without their ex-pets the taliban going around blowing it up all the time ...

  41. Mike Hocker

    Where is the Line in the Sand?

    There was still a wetware meatsack human pressing the button for the aerial killbot. This time.

    Next time, autonomous land and sky killbots will be used for area interdiction (the militaristic ecological niche now occupied by mines and IEDs and such). No wetware conscience in the loop. You know, interdicting the DeMeatsackedZone... any punter coming within 300M of the pipeline to be automatically Terminator'ed with extreme prejudice. And so on.

    And when the killbots have cleaned out any fleshies massing over 5Kg, there are no mine treaty violating bouncing betties or other bits of dangerous ordnance around to injure sheep and tots in the future. If there are any fleshies left above the size of a rat.

    The slope is slippery. You have been warned.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @laird cummings

    "Yeah, 'cause we know Afganistan is just *swimming* in oil. Not."

    It is pure coincidence however, that Afganistan happens to be right in the way of where a major oil pipeline is intended to be built...

    ...they can't use the heroin supply for an excuse either. The Taliban had supressed that to almost nothing (that, and most basic human rights), but the Merkins decided that the Taliban were hiding Mr Bin Laden and invaded - opening the gates for an explosion in poppy cultivation...

  43. Law

    @ Luther Blissett

    "A club, sword, or knife are not machines. A machine, by definition, has moving parts."

    "They become so by being attached to a human arm, which is the moving component. The critical feature seems to be the property of multiplying force, which in these cases is by the principle of the lever."

    Actually - they become tools, not machines when attached to human beings. Would you ask your wife to pass the machine-box?? lol... I thought not! ;)

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