The Daily Gamecock

Military quickly becoming game of drones

Drones. These days you hear the word and people begin to squirm in their seats. Drones are a hot topic in political circles as people discuss whether or not drone attacks are ethical, and whether or not drones should be allowed to patrol streets here in America. However, few people have discussed the impact that drones have on the people that operate them. GQ Magazine recently published an article that highlighted one drone operator’s struggle to come to terms with what he had done from his office chair at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas. Brandon Bryant, the drone operator who did the interview, said he killed 1,626 enemies during his time as a drone operator, and Bryant now suffers from PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder).

Bryant in his interview with GQ recalls killing children, maiming civilians, and being told to lie on reports about his missions. After reading this interview, and hearing this man’s struggle to come to terms with what he had done, it seems that it is about time this country talk about the ethics of drone strikes.

Brandon Bryant’s descriptions of certain missions in his interview highlight the main problem with drone attacks and air strikes in general: the uncertainty of whether or not you will hit your target. Many people have a problem with our country killing children and civilians in hopes of eliminating a target. They also have a problem with our country being able to use drones for air strikes on countries that we are supposedly not at war with. I think Americans would look upon drone warfare much more favorably if the attacks were only on countries we were at war with and only on very specific targets and only in certain situations. The sentiment about drones in the public is that they are used indiscriminately against any person, building or object that the U.S. military needs destroyed.

However, with all this being said, drones serve a very important purpose: they save American lives. Drones keep American soldiers safe and are very effective at carrying out their missions. Yes, there will be mistakes, and drones will sometimes kill civilians, but the truth is that war is messy and nothing ever goes exactly according to plan. If our government would use drone strikes only on countries that we were actually at war with, then I would be in full support of using drones instead of manned aircrafts in certain situations.