Choose your Weapon

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What it is

How it works

Where it’s used

How much it costs

When the U.S. began using it

MQ-1 Predator

A 27-foot- long, unmanned aircraft. Typically armed with Hellfire missiles.

Operated remotely, from ground- control stations in California, Nevada, North Dakota, and Arizona

According to news reports, has been used in Pakistan and Yemen; also utilized in Iraq and Afghanistan

At least $40 million

Afghanistan, 2002

Hellfire missile

A laser-guided, 100 pound munition with enough firepower to take out a tank

Dubbed “fire and forget,” is typically shot from Predators

Reportedly used in Panama, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan

An estimated $25,000

Panama, 1989

Bugsplat, formally “FAST-CD” (Fast Assessment Strike Tool—Collateral Damage)

Software program that predicts the collateral damage from a bomb. Used with Hellfire missiles.

Considers terrain, size of weapon, altitude, angle, and speed from which a bomb will be dropped

Used widely

Developed by U.S. military

First approved for use in 2002

AC-130 gunship

Heavily armed, 97-foot 9-inch aircraft with 4 turbo-prop engines. Carries high-caliber cannons fitted with guiding systems.

Can deliver surgical strikes. Also can orbit an area and saturate it with firepower.

Many wars, beginning with Vietnam. Used in the war on terror, reportedly for targeted killings in Somalia in 2007.

$190 million

Vietnam, 1967

JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition)

Guidance kit that converts unguided, 500-to-2,000 pound bombs into precision-guided “smart” munitions

Dropped from fighter jets or bombers; GPS and Inertial Navigation Systems enable the bomb to hit fixed or “relocatable” targets.

Yugoslavia; In war on terror, in
Iraq and Afghanistan

Approximately $20,000

Yugoslavia, 1999

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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