A peek into the world of drone operators, including one who couldn't continue being one.
A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can't do it anymore.
The container is filled with the humming of computers. It's the brain of a drone, known as a cockpit in Air Force parlance. But the pilots in the container aren't flying through the air. They're just sitting at the controls.
Bryant was one of them, and he remembers one incident very clearly when a Predator drone was circling in a figure-eight pattern in the sky above Afghanistan, more than 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles) away. There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs, as Bryant recalls. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact ... Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says.
More here. Nearly four years ago, I commented on a related post that "this robotics led war has the potential for significantly altering the debate: the costs of war are dramatically different to one side (fewer dead soldiers and injured veterans, for instance), which will tend to lower political resistance to war. It can be mobilized stealthily and conducted below the media radar, so to speak. Also radically different will be the experience of war (fought by remote control from suburban offices), redefining things like heroism and courage in combat, or loss and suffering. Welcome to a brave new world for war".