Cross Posted from Debra Sweet at World Can’t Wait
If you’re been worrying, even slightly, about how people at the receiving end of the U.S. drone war — wait, excuse me, the “remotely piloted vehicle” war — it seems yesterday The Times must have made you feel better.
As we are told in Elizabeth Bumiller’s front page article, A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away, we really should be concerned more about its effect on the pilots of the drones such as a colonel who acknowledges the “peculiar new disconnect of fighting a telewar with a joystick and a throttle from his padded seat in American suburbia.”
More chaplains and shrinks are being ordered up to bases where the pilots operate. A recent study revealed increased stress on the pilots. An Air Force doctor explains that watching targets for weeks at a time in domestic situations can mean it feels strange to shoot up a home. “At some point, some of the stuff might remind you of stuff you did yourself. You might gain a level of familiarity that makes it a little difficult to pull the trigger.”
Bumiller’s point, or shall we just say, the point of The New York Times, is directed right at you, and your humanitarian objections to targeted killing and murder from a distance: “Stop worrying about the people at the other end of the war.”
And don’t worry about the U.S. military pilots either. Despite a job doing 12 hours shifts 18″ from a screen where they watch families going about daily life one moment, and obliterated the next, they’re OK. Bumiller quotes the colonel:
“I feel no emotional attachment to the enemy,” he said. “I have a duty, and I execute the duty.”
Peter Hart, on FAIR’s blog today reminds us that Elisabeth Bumiller is:
“perhaps best known for a testy C-SPAN appearance where she explained that New York Times reporters ‘can’t just say the president is lying.’”
It was only two weeks ago that The New York Times published The Moral Case for Drones by Scott Shane, who has done some accurate and critical reporting of the U.S. global “war on terror.” But that was then, in the Bush years. Now he quoted only one academic political scientist who raised objections to killing targets instead of capturing them. His drone cheerleader sources were a former C.I.A. official, and a military professor.
And the voices of the people targeted are so not there, almost ever, in the main newspaper of record in the richest country ever, with the biggest military in history.