Author(s): Andrew Cockburn
Assassination by drone is a subject of deep and enduring fascination. Yet few understand how and why this has become our principal way of waging war. Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story; its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs that made drone operations possible, the ways in which the technology works and, despite official claims, does not work. Taking the reader inside the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests - military, CIA and corporate - that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy - and the multi-billion dollar contracts they spawn - have been put to the test.
"In this first-rate history, Andrew Cockburn takes readers from the Pentagon's mainframe-driven dreams of the Vietnam War era through today's visions of stealth super-drones, exposing the dark realities of twenty-first-century robotic warfare.ã�� Richly informative, superbly researched, and utterly illuminating, "Kill Chain" shines much-needed light on the shadowy theories and theorists, secret military and intelligence programs, and classified technologies that spawned our current age of remote-controlled assassination.""--"Nick Turse, author of "Kill Anything that Moves "ã��"Thisã��brilliant book tells us how computers killã��soldiers and civilians, andã��explains with bone-chilling clarityã��how generalship gave way to microchips from Vietnam to Afghanistan. A blood-curdling account of the rise of robot warfare, a great story, and a prophecy to be read and heeded."-Tim Weiner, author of "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA""A compellingly readable book that not only tells us why drones cannot live up to the overblown expectation of politicians but lucidly explains the vulnerability of intelligence, either robotic or human, better than any book I have ever read."-- Edward Jay Epstein, author of "Deception: The Invisible War Between the KGB and the CIA""In this riveting book, Cockburn puts the reader in the pilot's seat as kill teams go on their deadly hunts before dashing home for their children's soccer games.ã�� Wrapped in enormous secrecy, the only way past the armed guards and cipher-locks and into this new world of Hellfire diplomacy is Cockburn's great new read.ã�� Rather than voter IDs, people should prove they have read this book before being allowed to vote in the next election."--James Bamford, author of "The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America""It's not just the technology that makes a difference on the modern battlefield. It is, by Harper's Washington editor Cockburn's account, the development of a doctrine that augments--and sometimes replaces--the old order of battle with the notion that enemy leaders are objects fit for assassination, adding a necessarily political dimension to the military one...Sharp-eyed and disturbing, especially Cockburn's concluding assessment that, nourished by an unending flow of money, 'the assassination machine is here to stay.'"--"Kirkus"""""
Andrew Cockburn is the Washington Editor of "Harper's" magazine and the author of many articles and books on national security, including the "New York Times" Editor's Choice "Rumsfeld" and "The Threat," which destroyed the myth of Soviet military superiority underpinning the Cold War. He is a regular opinion contributor to the "Los Angeles Times" and has written for, among others, the "New York Times," "National Geographic" and the "London Review of Books."