"Drone operator: ‘I became a sociopath’, regrets 1626 assassinations."
Jeebus, this is awful.
Seems to me that the aircrews who dropped the bombs on Hiroshima or Dresden killed a lot more people than this guy. And one of the founding texts of Western Civilzation is the Iliad, which at times reads like a butcher's manual (though granted, not a slaughterhouse like Auschwitz).
That said, it does seem to me that there's something uniquely creepy about drone strikes. Stalking people on video, getting them in the crosshairs with a joystick, and whacking them, all at no personal risk: This mode of carrying war to an enemy doesn't even have the perverse militaristic virtues of toughness or even unit cohesion, let alone more humane virtues like courage or discipline or self-sacrifice, even if turned to perverse ends. It's bureaucratic and banal. There's no honor in drone killing, so why is there any recognition for drone operators* at all?
Oh, and anybody who thinks that there won't be drone in the US is dreaming.* Of course, drones don't equal drone strikes. But still.*
NOTE * The military did deep six the idea of giving drone killers their own medal. But the Army values are "Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage." Where do drone strikes fit in, there? Just following orders?
NOTE ** I don't think domestic drone strikes will be a winning strategy for the powers that be, should they double down to that point. After all, drones didn't win the Afghan war, did they? Any more than the world's most powerful military won the Iraq war, before collapsing into a morass of sociopathic behavior, suicide, and (at the top ranks) corruption and starfucking.
NOTE Hat tip, Juan Cole (of all people).