American Scrap and Children of the Drones

Once great American manufacturing cities like Detroit and Cleveland are experiencing a cultural phenomenon: scrapping. People left behind are literally ripping apart the infrastructure from old schools, houses, hospitals, and factories for their raw materials. They try to find the bits and pieces that they can hawk to a local scrapyard in order to keep warm and stay alive in these broken cities. One of the United States' biggest exports, there are billions of dollars worth of scrap metal that travel to China every year and are invested back into their infrastructure. The price for a pound of copper, for example, is about 5 times more than it was in 2002. David Choe looks into the life cycle of scrap metal, from the people that risk their lives to find it, to the yards that buy the metal, all the way to the Chinese traders who funnel it back home.

After a long and costly war in Afghanistan, American foreign policy has taken a drastically different approach to dealing with suspected Taliban insurgents. In place of the old "boots on the ground" strategy, President Obama has increasingly relied on remote-controlled drone warfare. Drone operators stationed thousands of miles away can eliminate targets with the click of a button. Their only interaction with the battlefield is through a screen. The Obama Administration touts drones as a surgical weapon that keeps American soldiers out of harm's way. But for the innocent victims, described as "collateral damage," drone strikes are hardly precise. Suroosh Alvi investigates the effects of drone strikes in Pakistan, where extremism and militancy are only growing in the wake of Obama's drone campaign.


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