Killing People Half a World Away

In the cold war, killing people on the other side of the planet involved launching intercontinental ballistic missiles and wiping out entire cities. Luckily, we never actually saw it happen, and hopefully we never will.

However, I didn’t realize this was happening every day in Afghanistan and Iraq. The drones that are used in military operations are actually flow by people in arm chairs in Nevada! See the video for an example.

In concept, removing the pilot from harm, and allowing them to go home and see their families every night and get a good night sleep (as opposed to air raid sirens and/or trying to sleep in 120F heat), should lead to better decision making. It is really a shame that this is yet another case where theory falls apart in practice:

U.S. military report highlights perils of remote control war

May 29: A scathing new report commissioned by Gen. Stanley McCrystal says a failure to properly analyze and communicate information resulted in the February attack on vehicles that killed 23 Afghan civilians. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.



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