This is coolbert:
From the Chicago Tribune today:
"MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. - - The Air National Guardsmen who operate Predator drones over Iraq via remote control, launching missile attacks from the safety to Southern California 7,000 miles away, are suffering some of the same psychological stresses as their comrades on the battlefield."
"Working in air-conditioned trailers, Predator pilots . . . kill enemy fighter with a few computer key strokes. Then after their shifts are over, they go home."
"But that transition is taking a toll on some of them [Predator pilots] mentally."
"when a Predator fires a missile, 'you watch it all the way to impact, and I mean it's very vivid, it's right there and personal.'"
"The 163rd [163rd Reconnaissance Wing] has called in a full-time chaplain and enlisted the help services of psychologists and psychiatrists to help ease the mental strain of these remote-control warriors."
Well, this is not a video game as played by some children. This is for real. Real in that you are attempting to conduct surveillance and "hunt" a person who does not want to be found. And then, firing a Hellfire missile from an armed Predator WITH THE INTENTION TO KILL!!
The cameras on-board the Predator allow for really good close-ups afterwards too??!! You can see and do see all the gory details of what you did!! You did fly the drone - - you did the observation - - you did press the button to fire the missile - - you did track the missile all the way to the target - - aiming carefully - - with the INTENT TO KILL THE ENEMY!!
These jihadi too make it bad for everyone by mixing in a deliberate fashion with the locals, so that when you do "bag" one of the villains, you almost certainly will kill some innocents, quite often women and children.
Some personal comments of mine here:
* What sort of duty is flying a Predator in a battle zone categorized as? Do you get a combat badge for piloting the UAV or what? Your mission is basically the same as it would be for a manned aircraft aviator, BUT YOU - - THE PILOT OF THE UAV, ARE NOT IN ANY DANGER, EITHER FROM ENEMY FIRE OR FROM A VEHICLE MALFUNCTION AND CRASH!!
* Is it a good idea to identify the unit [163rd Reconnaissance Wing] and base [March Air Reserve Base] the pilots of the Predators "fly" out of? NO!! A jihadi somewhere will read this same article and get it in his head to avenge his fallen "comrades", now knowing where his tormentors can be found!!
[there is a particular video on the Internet, purportedly of a F-16 pilot releasing a 2,000 pound bomb on about two dozen jihadi during the first battle of Fallujah. The villains are running through the street in a group, caught, unbeknownst to them, in the cross-hairs of the laser guidance system. The video has some interesting accompanying dialog - - "five seconds to impact - - impact - - OH DUDE!!" REAL LIVE HUMANS - - JIHADIS ALL OF THEM, BUYING THE PROVERBIAL FARM!! Quite similar to what the Predator pilots must see!]