The latest revelations made by The New York Times have revealed an insane American drone war in Syria and Iraq. Not much had been known about this secret war waged in the shadows. The civilian deaths, the faulty intelligence and the secrecy surrounding the drone strikes have once more confirmed the counter productivity aspects of the American drone warfare.
While that much was understood about the drone strikes, what is more revealing in these revelations is a confirmation of a more sinister reality. The issue of mental health has become more popular in the world recently. After the bold stance by popular athlete Naomi Osaka, people have felt freer to speak about this issue and their own fight with mental health. The internal research of Facebook and Instagram had confirmed that Instagram usage especially led to serious mental health problems.
The US army soldiers have struggled with issues of racism, homosexuality, gender issues, and so forth. However, it appears that mental health problems may be seen as an asset by the Pentagon and the CIA. The revelations by the Times have revealed the existence of a secret group of drone pilots named Talon Anvil, who do not have a rulebook or even so much as basic human sensibility because they gleefully strike at innocent children and cheer at watching their charred bodies.
It takes a real sick person to be able to agree to press the button, which would unleash the hellfire missile of the drone, knowing that it would hit and kill innocent civilians including children. The detailed articles written by Azmat Khan for the Times clearly talks about the deliberate killing of innocent civilians. In one instance it was clearly known that the family was asleep during the day time since it was Ramazan. They knew of the existence of children in the house, which is always described as a compound, in order to dehumanise the innocent people, in my view. In several situations, children were seen playing in the house. Yet, the decision to strike was made. Sitting at the dinner table across from their parents, the children were converted into charred pieces of meat by the incoming hellfire missiles. They were later identified by whatever remained of their clothes.
Apart from this being sickening, there is no better confirmation of these pilots being sick. While much was said about the CIA’s drone warfare waged in the tribal areas of Pakistan, there was a relative silence over the drone war that was waged in Syria and Iraq during both the Obama and Trump presidencies.
These pilots are basically PlayStation players who probably wear Marvel T-shirts and shorts when coming to their offices, which are really high tech Metaverse style killing fields. I have read in various places that inside their vehicles is always a sign reminding them to buckle up before starting to drive because that driving is the most dangerous part of their jobs. Many drunk drivers after losing money in the Las Vegas casinos may be putting lives in danger on Las Vegas freeways. Drone bases such as Nellis and Creech are situated in Las Vegas. It is a Covid-friendly war because the killers don’t come in contact with their victims. They are not on the battlefield. The pilots only press some buttons for unleashing the hellfire missile, which only brings devastation on the ground. That instance of destruction is called “splash” by the pilots.
The reports say there is usually a lawyer in the room present for instant legal opinion about the decision to kill. There are also a bunch of other men from the CIA and other government bodies involved in the decision-making before striking. Last time I had seen sick people under one roof was in the iconic movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It didn’t end well for sanity. I have always seen the sane people controlling the lives of the insane but the reverse is happening here.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2021.