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SALT LAKE CITY — A toy drone is drawing sharp criticism from Amazon shoppers, some of whom are using the review page to make a political statement.
Maisto's miniature RQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), described as a six-inch scaled United Stated military aircraft, is being marketed for ages 3 and up. But many of the dozens of reviews on the product's Amazon.com page take aim at the product because of politics, playtime.
The RQ-1 Predator drone has been deployed in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Serbia and Yemen. A U.S. drone killed a top Taliban commander on Thursday, according to government officials. And eight suspected militants were killed in a Tuesday morning drone attack, according to Pakistani officials. The strike was the fourth since the start of the new year.
The drone program is controversial in Pakistan, where many claim the drones have killed innocent civilians, which the U.S. rejects. There were 46 drone strikes in Pakistan in 2012, down from a high of 117 in 2010.
Before December, the only review on the Maisto drone was from Oct. 2011, when a reviewer wrote in Spanish that the product had arrived later than expected, but was otherwise satisfactory. Since December 17, the reviews have turned political.
"This is an awesome toy to instill a sense of exploration in your child," one reviewer wrote. "Geography of foreign lands will come naturally as you and your child act out imaginary strikes on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, and many more!"
The reviews are a mix of criticism of the drone program, wars in the Middle East and both the Bush and Obama administrations. One person criticized Pres. Barack Obama's increased use of drones since Pres. George W. Bush was in office as hypocritical in light of the current conversation surrounding gun control. The majority employ sarcastic praise to get their point across, but a few are more direct.
"Thank you Amazon! The reviews that this abomination has generated have restored some of my hope and faith in humanity," one person wrote. Another said, "It's one of the saddest toys I have ever seen on the market. Shame on you Maisto."
This is not the first time consumers have used Amazon review pages as sounding boards for sarcastic anger over a product. In August, BIC for Her pens drew hundreds of sarcastic reviews of the product and were generally criticized as unnecessary additions to the BIC product line.