I thought that this was something that we needed to hear.
Courtesy of The independent:
A former US drone operator is speaking out against the atrocities he says he was forced to inflict during his time in the armed forces and says the American military as ‘worse than the Nazis’.
Brandon Bryant was enlisted in the US Air Force for six years. During his time with the military, he operated Predator drones, remotely firing missiles at targets more than 7,000 miles away from the small room containing his workspace near Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mr. Bryant says he reached his breaking point with the US military after killing a child in Afghanistan that his superiors told him was “a dog.” Mr Bryant recalls the moment: After firing a Hellfire missile at a building containing his target, he saw a child exit the building just as the missile struck. When he alerted his superiors about the situation after reviewing the tape, he was told “it was a f***ing dog, drop it.”
Following that incident, Mr. Bryant quit the military and began speaking out against the drone program.
During his time in the Air Force, Mr. Bryant estimates he contributed directly to killing 13 people himself and says his squadron fired on 1,626 targets including women and children. He says he has been left suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mr. Bryant said he saw the man he targeted bleed out from his legs and watched as his body went cold on his thermal imaging screen.
“The smoke clears, and there’s pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there’s this guy over here, and he’s missing his right leg above his knee. He’s holding it, and he’s rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg … It took him a long time to die. I just watched him,” Mr Bryant said in an interview with GQ.
“That image on the screen is still in my head. Whenever I think about it, it still hurts me,” Mr. Bryant said. “When I pulled the trigger, I knew that it was wrong. When the middle struck I knew in my soul I had become a murderer.”
The United States military’s drone program has long been a black mark on our country’s reputation.
Yeah, I know we have plenty of black marks to go around, but this program of murder by remote control is especially distasteful and sloppy.
It was started under the George W. Bush administration but they continued during Obama’s administration as well, and of course are still going on.
Obama was responsible for over 500 drone strikes during his presidency (It’s true you can check here.) and I would imagine that Trump has ordered at least that many.
We are told over and over that the victims of these attacks are enemies of America, but in fact that is impossible to determine from an air conditioned box in the Nevada desert.
I understand that it is an attractive option when compared to sending young Americans into a dangerous situations from which they may not emerge.
But killing is still killing, and killing innocent people in the name of a democracy that we may not even truly enjoy in this country any longer seems especially unforgivable.
P.S. You an read more about this story in GQ.