Google Maps has layers for traffic, terrain, bicycling, and now airstrikes
How cool is this? The U.S. military working with Kurds in Iraq are using Google Maps to plot and launch airstrikes against ISIS.
Talal Raman, a 36-year-old Kurdish fighter, worked on a Samsung tablet, annotating a Google Earth map marked with the positions of the deserted apartment buildings and crumbling villas from where his colleagues were battling Islamic State fighters south of this northern Syrian town. He pinpointed in yellow the positions where his men were hunkered behind a wall, and highlighted in red the coordinates of a building next to a mosque where Islamic State fighters had taken cover.
“Our comrades can see the enemy moving at the GPS address I just sent you,” he wrote in Arabic to a handler hundreds of miles away in a United States military operations room.
At 10:23, the operations room sent a Google Earth map, showing a large, yellow circle approximately 100 yards to the north of the Islamic State target. The official instructed Mr. Raman to tell his men to retreat to the circle. “Make sure our comrades are in the yellow, O.K.?” the official wrote in Arabic.
At 10:34, he stressed: “Can you confirm that they’re inside the yellow? Because the pilot is waiting.”
The countdown began at 10:38 p.m., immediately after Kurdish fighters radioed Mr. Raman to say that their colleagues were in the safe zone.
“3 min.,” said the first message from the coalition.
Then: “Strike,” and a request to confirm that Kurds nearby had not been hurt.
The strike that ensued soon after blasted a crater at exactly the coordinates provided by the Kurdish fighter. It left a circle of bodies, including one of an Islamic State fighter who died slumped over his AK-47.
For those of you who are or were computer gamers, there was a popular game in the 1990s called Command & Conquer, where you would see a satellite map and military units moving on it, and by clicking in a certain way, you could trigger different attacks.
So if you saw a position of ISIS hiding behind a hill, you could single-left-click to call in a strike from A-10 Warthogs. Or double-click to call in a B-52 strike.
This use of Google Maps is just like the gaming interface of Command & Conquer and a lot of other strategy PC games from the '80s and '90s.
Liberals decry the use of remote technology, saying it makes killing too easy, too antiseptic. But when you see the repeated scenes of mass executions, and read report after report of atrocities committed by ISIS, you realize that ISIS really are the simplistic, pure evil portrayed in computer games, and so what more symbolically appropriate way could there be of liquidating them?
How do you feel about the use of computer game-like technology to liquidate ISIS? What if the war against ISIS could be crowd-sourced? If you could log in and direct the airstrikes remotely from home and compete with your friends for high scores, do you think this would be as popular as "Angry Birds"?
This article was produced by NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.