Drone warfare is a disturbing practice on many levels but one of the most troubling things about this is it allows people to be completely detached from the violence that they are participating in.
However, recently a story has emerged about one of these drone pilots who actually became sickened by their job and refused to continue.
For more than five years, Brandon Bryant worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn’t be opened.
Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards.
When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world.
The report goes on to explain one of the circumstances that finally crossed the line and really made him realize the kind of murderous activity that he was taking part in.
Deeper into the article the horrific details of this encounter are revealed:
Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed.
The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.
“Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.
“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.
“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.
Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack.
“No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.
They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?
This is sad and infuriating, but not very surprising.
For war to even exist to begin with, other human beings must first be dehumanized and for someone to get to a commanding position in the military they have likely been exposed to a great deal of ethnocentric propaganda.
Sadly, the other pilot seemed just as unsympathetic as the commander but at least Bryant had the heart to see the errors in what he was doing and bring this troubling information to light so those of us fighting against these sorts of injustices are better able to prevent them from happening once again.