Thursday, March 19, 2015

And We've Complacently Begun to Think of This as Normal

The drone war, that is.  Highly touted as an alternative to "boots on the ground," our policy of raining death from the skies has had some unintended consequences (of course, "unintended consequences" are so common as to be recognized with their own rule).

Via Digby, the superb analyst of our day, speaking of the operators who pilot these drones:

Some say that the drone war has driven them over the edge. "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile? How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?" Heather Linebaugh, a former drone imagery analyst, wrote in the Guardian. "When you are exposed to it over and over again it becomes like a small video, embedded in your head, forever on repeat, causing psychological pain and suffering that many people will hopefully never experience."

"It was horrifying to know how easy it was. I felt like a coward because I was halfway across the world and the guy never even knew I was there,” Bryant told KNPR Radio in Nevada. "I felt like I was haunted by a legion of the dead. My physical health was gone, my mental health was crumbled. I was in so much pain I was ready to eat a bullet myself."

Digby goes on to discuss the effectiveness of drone strikes:

How effective are the drone attacks? Chatterjee cites a report by Jennifer Gibson of the British-based human rights organization, Reprieve, that claims some targets on the White House "kill list" have allegedly “'died' as many as seven times."

Gibson adds, “We found 41 names of men who seemed to have achieved the impossible. This raises a stark question. With each failed attempt to assassinate a man on the kill list, who filled the body bag in his place?” In fact, Reprieve discovered that, in going after those 41 “targets” numerous times, an estimated 1,147 people were killed in Pakistan by drones. Typical was the present leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri. In two strikes against “him” over the years, according toReprieve, 76 children and 29 adults have died, but not al-Zawahiri.

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