New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - November 11, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
Thank you, veterans, for your service
Today, we commemorate America's armed forces on Veterans Day. The holiday began as Armistice Day on Nov. i I, 1919. to mark the first anniversary of the end of World War I
In 1926, Congress passed a resolution calling for an annual observance to honor America's veterans, and in _________________ 1938 Nov. 11 became a national holiday In 1954. President Dwight Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day
The purpose of Veterans Day to pay tribute to all American veterans — living or dead — who served their country during war or peacetime.
We salute America s veterans past and present and we treasure your sacrifices, Your service is a higher calling. You protect freedoms that must never fall, and we know freedom really is never free Freedom comes at a mighty price — yet it's a price so many have willingly paid to preserve it.
Thank you veterans, for standing up for what is right, for protecting us from enemies both foreign and domestic. and for holding the line in the face of the most dire circumstances.
The late Elmer Davis. Peabody Award-winnmg journalist and author, summed up our feelings best wfitn he said. This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it IS the home of the brave
Mav God continue to bless America — and her veter-
commemoration of Veterans Day as a tribute to all Amencan soldiers
Thanks to all who have served and helped to keep us free
Did you know?
History.com, the website for TV's History Channel, offers these facts about veterans and Veterans Day
• i here are about 23 2 million military veterans in the United States
• 9 2 million veterans are over the age of 65.
• I 9 million veterans are under the age of 35.
• 18 million veterans are women
• 78 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964 1975). which represents 33 percent of all living veterans
• 5 2 million veterans served during the Gulf War (representing service from Aug 2. 1990. to present).
• 2 6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945)
• 2 8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950 1953)
• 6 million veterans served m peacetime
• Five states have more than I million veterans in among their population: California (2 1 million), Florida (1.7 million). Texas (1.7 million). New York (I million) and Pennsylvania (1 million).
TOD A'l IN illSTOH'l
The Assoiialed Press
Today is Friday, Nov. / /, the 315th day of 2011. There are 50 days left in the year This is Veterans Day in the U.S., Remembrance Day in Canada.
Today's Highlight in History;
On Nov. 11,1918, fighting in World War 1 came to an end with the signing of an armistice between the Allies and Germany,
On this date;
In 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower signed a compact calling for a “body politick,"
In 1831, former slave Nat Turner, who'd led a violent insurrection, was executed in Jerusalem, Va.
In 1889, Washmgton became the 42nd state In 1909, President William Howard Taft accepted the recommendation of a )oint Army-Navy board that Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands be made the principal U.S. naval station in the Pacific.
In 1921, the remains of an unidentified American service member were interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery .
u s. PRESIDENT Barack Obama
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Kay Bailey Hutchison
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Future drones: Kill by softvi/are, not by humans
Increasing along with the number of pilotless drones appearing in the skies worldwide are the gee-whiz news reports about them For instance, in ' Global Race on to Match U S Drone Capabil-ities"
"More than 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones, and many have started in-country development programs for armed versions because no nation is export-mg weaponized drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and Its closest allies’ (wwwwashingtonpost.com, July 4)
And keep this in mind: Last year, (Iran) also claimed two of Its drones, the Ra'd and Nazir, were capable of conducting long-range reconnaissance, patrolling, assault and bombing missions with high precision"' ("Iran Running Drone Competitions to Upgrade Unmanned Air Force, www wired com. Sept 23).
On this planet perfecting killing capacities is a powerful motive for research. But one particular look ahead scares me: A Future for Drones: Automated Killing." (wvAv washingtonpost com. Sept. 19). This story begins with a demonstration last fall at Fort Benning, Ga : Climbing to 800 and 1.000 feet over the military base, 'the automated, unpiloted planes worked on their own, with no human guidance, no (distant) hand on any control. . This successful exercise in autonomous robotics could presage the future of the Amencan way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans.”
In this well-researched.
vital story, reporter Peter Finn should have added at this point that these murdeious robots presage the future of more and more countries' way of war, as well
He does return to the pres ent: "But humans still make the decision to fire, and in the case of CIA strikes in Pakistan. that call rests with the director of the agency."
And ultimately, as one would surmise, with the commander in chief in the White House
Our president has clearly made drones his favorite weapon of war against trr rorists ( U S, Assembling Secret Drone Bases m Afric a, Arabian Peninsula, Officials Say." Washington Post. Sept 20), I have seen no indication yet — in Congress or in the continuous debates among Republican aspirants for tiie presidency — that a Repub lican administration will differ with Obama's enthusiasm for advancing drone warfare
There are, however, some experts on drones who counsel strongly about rushing ahead so confidently in the robotic autonomy of drones. They are not only fearful about our enemies' developing drones but also about the ability ot those hostile drones to disable ours
Finn reports that these experts worry "that hostile states or terrorist organizations could hack (our) robotic systems and redirect them. Malfunctions also are a prob lem; In South Africa in 2007, a semiautonomous cannon fatally shot nine fnendly sol diers,"
A founder of International
( omrmttee for Robot Arms Control, Peter Asaro, a pro fessor at the New School in New York said to ihe Wash mgton Post "The worry is tfiat these systems are going to be pushed out too soon and they make a lot of mis takes and those mistakes are going to t)e atrocitics"
How many Americans so intimately conversant witfi Herman Cain's alleged amorous intentions — are even aware ot this debate about flow humans will he able to prevent self directing Prf'dator and Reaper drones from committing atrocities?
But there are experts wfio believe that there are indeed [)cople who can create ethi cal responsible rot)ots. Enter Ronald (' Arkin, author of Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots ' Among fiis credentials: fhis study was financed by the U S Arniy Research Office Don t you trust tfie judgment of that official government level of validation-’
Arkin. assuring The Wash ington Post and us that lethal autonomy is inevitable — robots having graduated from science fic tion into real-time existence, competing with human chess chartipions, for one widely publicized example. But on the warfare level we re discussing, Arkin, reports Finn, "believes it is possible to build ethical military drones and robots, capable of using deadly force while programmed to adhere to international humanitarian law and the rules of engagement.
He said software can be created that would lead machines to return tire with proportionality, minimize collateral damage, recognize sur render, and, in the case of uncertainty, maneuver to
reassess or wait for a human assessment '
It you are still skeptical. Lora G Weiss, chief scien tist at Georgia Tech Research Institute, adds: "How a war fighting unit may think — we are trying to make our systems behave like that."
Is it possible, then, that eventually we’ll have such corrosive distrust of our incompetent government, as we have come to know it, that we will put our faith in a rot)otic president so precisely and totally connected to the Bill of Rights and the rest of tfie Constitution that we will have no reason to doubt it^
You think i'm kidding^ 1 sure hope so I am glad to introduce Johann Borenstein, in charge of the Mobile Robotics Lab at the Universi ty of Michigan,
He tells The Washington Post that human skills will remain critical in battle far into the future, emphasizing
Tfie foremost of all skills is common sense. Robots don t have common sense and won't have common sense in tfie next 50 years, or however long one might v/ant to guess,”
But how long will future generations want to guess^ In any case, why now, Presi dent Barack Obama, is it wise to conduct our warfare against terrorists who may ultimately have pilotless tech nology to kill us'' And beyond the next election, what will future presidents think of saving the lives of our human soldiers by depending on soulless robot ic drones^
II Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authonty on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights, He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute,COM \(:r 'I ouH i:li:ctt:i) oi i ici \ls
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