(From Guardian Unlimited)
The electronic cavern is dark, save for the glow of consoles, and Lt Col Mike Weaver surveys his apprentice warriors with satisfaction as they project American might halfway around the world. One crew -- two young men in flight suits seated before half a dozen screens -- prepares to fire missiles from a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) at a boatload of suspected insurgents in Afghanistan. Another crew circles a suspicious bulge by a roadside in Iraq and feeds co-ordinates to ground troops. Another tracks what appears to be a vehicle in Yemen.
"There's not a lot of time for emotion here. There's a war going on and we have a job to do," says Weaver, a veteran F15 fighter pilot.
The only sound is the whirr from multiple computers, their entrails exposed, and the occasional murmur from a pilot into an earpiece.
"I've flown manned aircraft and believe me this, in terms of combat, is more up close and personal."
Weaver is speaking from Holloman air force base in New Mexico, about 8,000 miles from the scenes depicted on the screens, but he and the crews embody not only the "war on terror" but the future of …