The cover story for the Atlantic's September issue reveals a surprising truth: drone warfare is more like The Truman Show than Terminator. In the future, autonomous robots might fight our battles for us, but for now, war is all too human; we rely on human pilots and human decision-making (plus a ton of cameras).
Military drones, like the RQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper, are best known for firing missiles at people and other targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, as part of a targeted killing program. Firing missiles was an upgrade for Predators; they were originally designed to conduct surveillance, flying high above war zones, recording what happens below and relaying that video to pilots located half a world away. That surveillance can be grueling: pilots spend entire shifts watching the same target, and might do so for days or even months. Inevitably, drone operators develop an intimate understanding of their targets' lives.
Author Mark Bowden's tour de force on the United States's drone war includes two first-hand experiences from drone pilots. The first involves a pilot who used a drone to defend Marines under attack on a road in Afghanistan:
Another pilot discusses the longer missions, which are less about supporting fellow soldiers and involve more targeted killing:
Bowden's entire piece is 10,000 words long, and I recommend every single one of them.
Yeah yeah, it's hard, it's mind blowing, it feels bad...but we are still doing it from the comfortable and great looking XBox flying simulator pods.
And if the drone gets shot down, the pilot still goes home to have dinner with the family.
But yea sure, I get the idea, its a multi ta
Well, this is not new. People typically don't like to kill other human beings.
I recently saw some the statistics from WWI, WWII and Vietnam war. Although they indicate that the training propaganda/programs have improved over time, the earlier wars involved a lot of shooting over the enemy's head.
I'm sure the same thing will happen over time with drones (training process will get better at dehumanizing soldiers/pilots).
That Bowden piece was amazing ,thought provoking and on the money...Always liked his writing back when he was in Philly.
How about a drone that is a mother ship and sends down a smaller drone asking for a surrender response....of course there would be none and surprise is lost... but could be comical...seriously loved the piece
Who'd have thought that killing someone who was defending their home from invasion would damage your calm.
When you kill someone who is trying to kill you, there is a 'justification'. You were just defending yourself and anyone would have done the same. In contrast, drone pilots are sitting in a safe place and are never in harms way. There is no internal justification. When you clear away the testosterone and adrenaline, its pretty obvious that going over to someone else's country and killing the people who live there is wrong. The drone pilots feel this and then are told "You did the right thing." Kinda sick.
ahhh good old job security, because they will always need humans to control them (coughbullshitcough)
the job is most probably a bitch to get, security checks, pilot experience and will need to follow orders to the T.
This isn't about getting people who are competent, its about getting people who are skilled retarded sheep. The same reason the us lacks fighter pilots. It simple there are so many regulation that only subpar people qualify.
Go back 70 years to WW2 and you tell me if those pilots who had the most success weren't mavericks, leaders who used their gut instincts and raised hell for commanding officers.