A Drone Pilot’s
Memoirs - All From The
My name is Victor Merrill.
Well, that’s not my real name, but it will have to do.
I was once an Airman First Class in the U.S. Air Force. I last served as what is commonly called a drone pilot in a trailer at a military base in the western part of America.
As part of a two-man team, my job was to blow things up and to kill people with Hellfire missiles at a cost of $110,000 a copy.
Strange, but $110,000 is just about twice what my college debt is.
It’s baffling how our spendthrift government spends billions and billions of dollars a day blowing things up and killing people while our country rots from the inside out. But what do I know?
After leaving the Air Force and becoming a Buddhist, I began to worry about the karma of America and its people.
But more than that, I worry about how what I’ve done in a little trailer in the desert will affect my future existence.
At the heart of my anxiety were three concepts I heard a lot in the Air Force:
acceptable collateral damage,
and Signature Strikes.
The Signature Strike Program begin back in the baby Bush era and then greatly expanded during the Obama administration.
This program has always been the ultimate in profiling. By a drone’s monitoring of a suspect’s behavior, location, and the mood of someone high on the “shoot-to-kill-pyramid,” it is determined whether or not to kill a man, woman, or child no matter the collateral damages.
Collateral damages are the other people who die when we kill a target who fits some poorly defined signature profile all done, of course, in the interests of our national security.
The truth of the matter is that for every person we kill, or for every building we blow up, our nation becomes less secure.
After operating for a while as a drone pilot (assassin-executioner-murderer-killer without a judge or jury) I went to my sergeant with my concerns.
“Listen fuck-face,” he yelled, “you’re savings lives every time you fry one of those mother-fuckers.”
It was the ultimate lie long used to account for the atomic bombing of Japan (after she was defeated), the fire-bombing of German cities (after she was defeated), and the killing of thousands of civilians by American soldiers, snipers, and pilots.
After long consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion there are three types of people who buy this saving lives lie: psychopaths, the extremely ignorant, and the congenitally stupid.
It all finally got to me toward the end of one of my twelve-hour shifts. For hours my video feed showed me what looked like a guy working on or riding a motorcycle. Suddenly, I was ordered to blow him away in other words waste a $110,000 missile on one guy.
“Why?” I wanted to know.
“He’s gotta be a bad guy if he owns a motorcycle,” I heard from my audio feed.
I stalled for time, curious as to just what this guy was up to. He soon stopped at a nasty rubble-filled lot between two bombed-out buildings. Kids were there who looked like they were playing soccer.
The guy joined them. Then it looked like he was coaching them.
“Blow his ass away,” came from my audio feed. “No wait! He’s back on his motorcycle … follow him.”
I was relieved not to have killed him and maybe lots of children but was worried about where he was going and what “acceptable” collateral damage I might cause.
My worries were well founded. The guy drove his motorcycle to a church. It looked like a funeral service was about to take place.
I centered and magnified the picture on my video feed on what was at the door. It was a dog with what looked like five or six nursing puppies.
The guy the bad guy (according to the Signature Strike Program) gave the old mother dog a treat.
“FIRE … FIRE,” someone from atop of the command pyramid screamed into my ears.
On the drive home to my wife and baby, I thought about the injustices of our world. Never was I more depressed.
Wanting some music, I turned on my car’s radio. Instead of music I heard part of President Obama’s speech justifying our drone killings.
… And before any strike is taken there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed …
“What about mother dogs and their puppies … you … you … LYING SON-OF-A BITCH?”
Note: The foregoing is not an actual testimonial. It is an account of what the author believes to be going on with our drone wars.
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