While the trend may in the direction of more robots, drones, and smart missiles and bombs, plenty of troops and civilian contractors are still needed and casualties will continue. In Afghanistan in particular General McChrystal's strategy is bound to bring more casualties for all sides in the conflict. The article is much longer I have just copied the abstract. This is from Global Research.
Towards America’s Electronic, Troop-less Wars
Future U.S Wars will involve Massive Use of Drones
by Prof. Marc W. Herold
Global Research, March 1, 2010
Future U.S wars in the Third World will involve massive use of drones to police the territory, employ local satrap forces (like those of Karzai’s Afghan Army) and once the territory has been pacified sufficiently, the deployment of “Government Ready-to-Rule (GRR)” kits. The drones provide the critical and the weak link: critical insofar as they represent the ultimate American-style war where only the “Others” (opponents and civilians) die but weak insofar as this type of warfare only works against an opponent without any anti-drone/aircraft capability. In other words, this type of technological warfare can only be carried out upon weak opponents lacking independent industrial capacities (not against China, Russia, and India). This approach represents the culmination of disconnecting the delivery of deadly force – the rain of Hellfire missiles - upon the Others and incurring no human (physical or psychological – PTSD) costs. Or put in other terms, it represents the quintessential American way of “solving” problems with technological short-cuts, a military effort begun in 1942 with the Allied fire-bombing of German cities. The current American war in Afghanistan is a harbinger of what is to come, America’s electronic, troop-less war.
Prophetically the first victims in 2010 of Obama in his Afghan war were a teacher in a government school, Sadiq Noor, and his nine-year old son, Wajid as well as three other persons. Both were killed on Sunday night, January 3, 2010 in a U.S. drone strike involving two missiles fired into the home of Sadiq Noor in the village of Musaki, North Waziristan in Pakistan. During January 2010, a record number of twelve deadly missile strikes were carried out on Pakistan’s tribal areas. Three Al-Qaeda leaders were killed and 123 innocent civilians. During 2009, 44 U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan killed 708 people but only five Al Qaeda or Taliban; that is for each enemy fighter 140 civilian Pakistanis had to die.
Those who pull the gray trigger to fire are located in Nevada, Kandahar, or Pakistan. As Philip Alston points out, “Young military personnel raised on a diet of video games now kill real people remotely using joysticks. Far removed from the human consequences of their actions, how will this generation of fighters value the right to life?” In early 2010, the U.S. Air Force had more drone operators in training than fighter and bomber pilots.