Remote Assassins Exhausted With Demand

Throughout my frequent rants against the use of unmanned aircraft as tools of war, I’ve consistently neglected to consider the humanity of the drone operators themselves. In my head, I dismissed them as heartless, glorified-video-game playing, soldier wannabes. But that is not the truth. It turns out they have feelings too.

A recent study by the Armed Forces has found half of all Air Force drone operators experience high levels of job-related stress.

Yet, remarkably, this stress isn’t coming from guilt or remorse over the lives taken by the pseudo-soldiers. Rather, the reported ‘high operational stress’ comes from being overwhelmed with long hours and frequent shift changes due to staff shortages.

That’s right, it’s not that these drone operators are finding it too hard to kill people, it’s that they’ve become too good at their job. These radio-wave assassins can exterminate any threat with such immediate efficacy that demand for their services has skyrocketed!

It makes sense, if you think about it. To start, every Air Force employee will, like any good soldier, be indoctrinated to believe they are fighting for a just cause – be it freedom or protecting civilians or whatever other lie they’ve been sold by the war machine.

Then, on top of this, any atrocities they happen to commit will always occur on the other side of a computer screen. No hearing screaming mothers. No seeing blood and wrecked flesh. No insight into the direct suffering tolled by the population. It’s just – acquire a target, lock on, deploy death – then on to the next one – a system streamlining the whole mess of war with the push of a button.

With murder being dished out via mechanisms monkeys could operate, it’s no wonder military brass aren’t asking ‘Should we do more?’ just ‘How can we do more?’ As evident with the 350 new unmanned aircraft controllers undergoing training right now – more than the number of real fighter and bomber pilots combined – it is clear the use of drones is set to experience massive growth.

But contrary to what those who make their living fighting wars will tell us, the increased use of autonomous death machines is not a good thing for our long-term security. Without a significant public resistance, these drones will be used against us soon enough.

First, they’ll start with drones just for surveillance (like many Americans already face). Then, once the machines are up there, you may as well arm them. But only to use against the worst of the worst, like terrorist or drug dealers. Then, once the population is complacent enough, you can keep escalating your reach until speaking out against the use of drone strikes becomes an offense punishable by drone strike.

And that’s not something I ever want to see, which is why I’m already making noise right now.

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