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Friday, March 20, 2015

The dearth of drone pilots

Considering the possibility that drones will be turned against American citizens, I find it hard to get too worked up over the inability of the USAF to retain their drone pilots. But regardless, it's interesting to hear a drone pilot explain to Jerry Pournelle the real reason behind the declining pilot retention rate:
With respects to Col Couv, the AF leadership is “at a loss to explain” the RPA pilot exodus because they’re the ones causing it, and it has nothing at all to do with “real pilots” being disgruntled at driving a drone around. Rather, it has to do with a loss of trust and respect bottom to top in the USAF pilot force. The AF leadership sends drone pilots to be “deployed in place” flying continuous combat ops 6 days a week (12 hr shifts around the clock) for 3-5 years straight, then the leadership refuses to adjust the promotion system to account for the fact that almost every one of these officer and enlisted crew members has little to put on their promotion recommendation forms beyond “flew classified combat ops”. It took 15 years after the start of RPA ops before we had a “drone pilot” come back to be a squadron or wing commander out at Creech AFB, not for lack of good officers, but because for 15 years those good officers were passed over for promotion and command in favor of officers who had down time to pad their promotion recommendation forms and do something, anything, other than continuous combat ops.

We had a guy who was a squadron commander as a Major get passed over for Lt Col. That NEVER happens, but it did to a drone pilot. Any wonder why he quit? It wasn’t because he couldn’t fly real airplanes anymore.

To hammer home the point that USAF leadership is completely out of touch with what is going on in the trenches among RPA crews, they took a long look at the high suicide and mental illness rate among RPA crews and decided that the way to fix it was through a “resiliency training” program. Sounds great, but in practice what it means is that on what should otherwise be a weekend day off with family and away from our job of hunting and killing people every single duty day for 5 years (what do people think armed ISR means?), we have to spend that day doing a social activity with others from our squadron. Taking away my family time is supposed to somehow make me more resilient? What they need to do is acknowledge that these are no kidding deployed combat billets and relieve the crews from the garrison nonsense additional duties and training requirements, and let us get on with the job without pestering us with nonsense. And come up with a scheduled training, garrison, or leave rotation, to give people some real down-time like every other combat unit in the history of forever. We are finally starting to see signs of improvement in the performance reports and promotion rates now that we have a couple of commanders who have flown RPAs before assuming command, but for crying out loud show us a little support and take some of the garrison admin nonsense off our backs while we’re flying combat ops. Bagram air base in Afghanistan has better support facilities than the bare-base facilities at Creech AFB. Questions about support functions are universally answered with “there are no further services facility upgrades planned for Creech AFB”.

We just got word a month ago that almost everyone at Creech is getting their tours of duty extended from the usual 3 years to 5 or more years, with nowhere to go after an RPA instructor or non-flying staff job except back into the grinder doing the same thing. That is a dead end career path no matter how you look at it or where the pilot came from.

A recent survey of RPA pilot experience asked a series of questions regarding various topics including things like “how many combat actions have you actively participated in that directly resulted in the death of enemy combatants”, and “how many engagements have you witnessed or participated in that resulted in the death of enemy combatants”. I had to laugh when the top answer was only “50+”. I witnessed, enabled, directly supported, or directly participated in more than that in less than 6 months, watching the carnage up close through the best zoom lenses money can buy. 5 years of that plus actually deploying overseas for 4-6 months every 2 years in addition to the combat ops shift work without any down time, and we’re demeaned by the likes of Col Couv for being selfish and quitting because we throw tantrums due to not being in the cockpit? Flag officers get compensated in many different ways for accepting that sort of duty tempo and responsibilities, but we’re talking about E3-E7 and O1-O5 here. The ops tempo situation hasn’t changed but the AF has halted the “use or lose” leave extension program. That means we have a lot of people, myself included, who will lose leave at the end of this fiscal year due to carrying too many days of leave built up since we can’t actually take it due to ops tempo. Thanks again AF leadership.

That’s why there is an exodus.
In Martin van Creveld's technology and war, he explains how the seemingly irrational in military technology is not always as irrational as it looks. But, I have to confess, even when I try to find a rational perspective here for continuing to favor manned-craft pilots over drone pilots with regards to promotions and commands, I'm at a loss to come up with anything outside the usual bureaucratic desire to protect jobs.

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100 Comments:

Anonymous Steveo March 20, 2015 8:23 AM  

I wonder what kind of man it takes to fly predator drone sorties in the US... killing US citizens of any stripe. Kind of hard to reconcile that with a Oath to the US Constitution don't you think? If it's hard to keep drone pilots doing something to Afghans & Iraqis or whatever in the Mid East, I think the answers lie deeper than promotions - or we are in trouble.

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 8:28 AM  

The drone pilot is a technician, not a leader. There is no reason for them to be officers of any sort, or to place them on a path where promotions should be expected. At least a real pilot is growing in his career as more than just a pilot. He will eventually be in charge of directing other planes in flight. And he will take the personal risk, like soldiers, of being killed. Even cargo pilots take some risk.

But the Air force needs to come to terms with this. The fact is, all pilots are replacable by machines with today's technology.

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 8:31 AM  

Kind of hard to reconcile that with a Oath to the US Constitution don't you think?

Not at all. The oath is to protect the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Get yourself declared an enemy by an elected official (ANY federal official) and you meet the standard. There is no oath to protect American citizens.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 20, 2015 8:33 AM  

I'm at a loss to come up with anything outside the usual bureaucratic desire to protect jobs.

It's simpler than that. It's grandma trying to do the internet tubes thing.

A big part of the problem is that the drones are so high tech, the generals don't understand them very well. That's across all the services. It is particularly bad in the Air Force, where the stick-jocks rule the roost. So far as those guys are concerned, drones are the A-10s retarded little brother and they hate the A-10.

There are no drone pilots in senior ranks. That corporate knowledge simply isn't there. Since drone pilots have little chance for promotion to senior ranks, that knowledge isn't going to make it up the greasy mast any time soon

Anonymous RedJack March 20, 2015 8:38 AM  

Drone pilots are viewed differently than plane pilots. Drone pilots get to "see" their kills magnified through the lens.

Flying a B2 and sending a cruise missile out is a disconnected activity. The pilots don't see the result.

Kind of ironic in a way. A guy sitting at a terminal a few thousand miles away has a better idea of what his or her actions cause than a pilot in theater.

I wonder if that is part of it. The drone jockeys are viewed as killers, much the same way snipers are.

Blogger Vox March 20, 2015 8:42 AM  

And he will take the personal risk, like soldiers, of being killed.

Oh, I think drone pilots are taking that risk too. Think 4GW.

Anonymous Stg58 / Animal Mother March 20, 2015 8:47 AM  

We know where the drone pilots are. Holloman and Creech AFB.

Anonymous Salt March 20, 2015 8:49 AM  

Why military drone pilots anyway?

Join StrikeCraft and be in the real game. Gamers, once vetted, can log on, get in the que, and be assigned a strike. $14.99 / month to play. Don't pay pilots. Get paid.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 20, 2015 8:56 AM  

Drone pilots are viewed differently than plane pilots. Drone pilots get to "see" their kills magnified through the lens.

Actually they have it worse. CAS Pilots drop their vitamin E and go right home, Drone pilots have to sit around and record the entire aftermath. Those guys have rates of PTSD that are about as bad line as units.

Anonymous Eric Ashley March 20, 2015 9:01 AM  

Alpha fighter jock vs delta drone pilot ?

Anonymous Steveo March 20, 2015 9:02 AM  

Not at all. The oath is to protect the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. Get yourself declared an enemy by an elected official (ANY federal official) and you meet the standard. There is no oath to protect American citizens.

Our founding fathers messed that whole Constitution thing up then didn't they, not protecting individual US citizens from oppressive central government and all with a written contract? Bill of Rights might clarify things? Nah no worries, we can call citizens enemies domestic & it's all good, somehow I see that failing Thomas Jefferson test. This is the deeper problem I was alluding too, it's a character issue; an issue of truth & honesty, an issue of honor. When those things do not exist - you're done as a society.

As a practical example, if you were tasked to take out a bowling alley with a hellfire missile because you were told a high value target (Tim McVeigh for grins) was there & you blow up the Gray Ladies & Gents Thursday night league in Dearborn as collateral damage... then you're told to do it again cause you missed or it wasn't him - how many times would you want to watch that happen in high res? Any conflict there? So sooner or later you figure out you're just taking out bowlers, which is probably cool to those who hate bowling...

Anonymous Stingray March 20, 2015 9:13 AM  

I wonder what kind of man it takes to fly predator drone sorties in the US

If you take this post and combine it with the Gamma series that Vox has been running, you have your answer.

Anonymous Mike M. March 20, 2015 9:15 AM  

""And he will take the personal risk, like soldiers, of being killed."

Oh, I think drone pilots are taking that risk too. Think 4GW."

Thank you, Vox. I've been involved in unmanned aviation since the mid-1990s, and the potential for an attack on the operators has worried me for a long time. Especially since flying the large UAVs is NOT a job for X-Box Ricky. These aircraft are very complex and quite demanding to fly.

Blogger Hazim March 20, 2015 9:28 AM  

Former enlisted AF intelligence here.

I thought this one was interesting criticism of my alma mater. Although our ops schedule was the opposite of what the author describes, the promotion conundrum was nearly identical, and had been for many years prior to my experience. This made for some piss-poor "leadership", although that effect was somewhat dampened by my billet seeing as how the majority of my operational leadership were GS civilian professionals of the agency. They may have been calculating, cold and merciless, but incompetence was not an issue. It would have been true for me had I stayed in because I would eventually have been stationed in an all-military billet.
It also stirred me more than I expected to read someone else mentioning the ""killing them from behind a desk" subject. It feels just as bad to kill someone remotely as it would to kill face-to-face, in fact I could surmise that a certain amount of closure may be effected by feeling their warm blood run down one's wrist as one buries the knife, instead of minimizing the window and typing up an ops summary as the enemy bleeds out ten thousand miles away.

I'm very grateful that all this is sooooo far behind me now. More like a sad story I read once than an actual memory these days. but a little emotion seeps out now and again, like a twitchy eyelid.

Blogger Salt March 20, 2015 9:33 AM  

Especially since flying the large UAVs is NOT a job for X-Box Ricky. These aircraft are very complex and quite demanding to fly.

X-Box Ricky, how snidely demeaning to hard-core gamers.

Anonymous RedJack March 20, 2015 9:46 AM  

Cataline Sergius March 20, 2015 8:56 AM
Actually they have it worse. CAS Pilots drop their vitamin E and go right home, Drone pilots have to sit around and record the entire aftermath. Those guys have rates of PTSD that are about as bad line as units.

How do they compare to scout sniper teams I wonder? They also have catalog and record all their kills, and have a history of high rates of PTSD.

Blogger Chris Mallory March 20, 2015 9:48 AM  

"The drone pilot is a technician, not a leader."

The same could be said for mechanics, supply clerks, and armorers.

"There is no reason for them to be officers of any sort,"

Agreed, there is no reason why a trained enlisted man could not do this.

"or to place them on a path where promotions should be expected."

Then where do you get your flight and squadron NCOs and field grade officers? How do you get men to sign up for this career path if there is no career to it? Are you going to scrap the idiotic "Up or Out" policy?


"At least a real pilot is growing in his career as more than just a pilot. "

If you had read the piece you would realize that is the problem. These guys are tied to their consoles for 12 hours a day, six days a week for 3-5 years. No time to "grow in their career" through military schools and other training. Gaining rank involves ticket punching. Spending three years with no ability to punch those tickets ends the ability to gain rank.

"The fact is, all pilots are replacable by machines with today's technology."

A fact that we should reconsider. I don't care to have a computer in charge of dropping a bomb. We need a human conscience and soul behind the finger that is pressing the button, every time.



Anonymous Shorty March 20, 2015 9:52 AM  

We need a human conscience and soul behind the finger that is pressing the button, every time.

yeah, that's working out incredibly well now, isn't it. Stopping children from becoming collateral damage, and all.

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus March 20, 2015 9:53 AM  

@Salt

"...snidely demeaning"

Unfortunately, exactly as it should be. There is a huge gulf between flying a real aircraft and playing a flight Sim. Particularly an aircraft that is tricky to fly. Never mind that "just flying around" is the easy part. Its the landings that are tough.

Anonymous Big Bill March 20, 2015 9:56 AM  

I think there is an institutional bias against anyone whose life is not at risk. If you go to war wearing fuzzy bunny slippers and watching a computer screen, you are a fast-twitch "gamer" not "fighting". With no threat of death, the entire mano-a-mano respect that fighter pilots get is missing.

But management is also uncomfortable saying drone pilots are not really "pilots" out loud, since it smacks too much of remote execution.

Ask yourself this: is a hangman a warrior? Is the guy that flips the switch on "Old Sparky" a "fighter"? Is an executioner "brave" or "fearless" or "courageous"? Soldiers and executioners both kill bad guys. But one of them is at no personal physical risk whatsoever.

This new category of drone pilot is not an easy fit into our visceral understanding of war and warriors. Think "Ender's Game". Ender, like drone pilots, also suffered from PTSD.

Blogger Salt March 20, 2015 10:07 AM  

There is a huge gulf between flying a real aircraft and playing a flight Sim

Interesting, as a computer can do all of that. I remember reading about modern airliners which can takeoff and land all by computer. Interface a human into it and what do you have? A computer operator; ergo, why not gamers? And flight sims can be damn realistic, hardly to be characterized as "play".

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 10:10 AM  

Since drone pilots have little chance for promotion to senior ranks, that knowledge isn't going to make it up the greasy mast any time soon

Boo-Freaking-Hoo. You know who else is never going to be an Air Force General? cooks, janitors, IT tecs, Guys who refuel jets on the ground. Guys who repair jet engines. And pretty much 95% of the rest of the air force total manpower.

Anonymous . March 20, 2015 10:13 AM  

"The same could be said for mechanics, supply clerks, and armorers."

Who also do not get promoted to high rank, especially general officer rank.

"At least a real pilot is growing in his career as more than just a pilot. "

And an Air Force officer should do what else besides fly planes? Why should they be "more than just pilots"?

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 10:15 AM  

Oh, I think drone pilots are taking that risk too. Think 4GW.

When that happens I will adapt. Right now that is a hypothetical risk, not a real risk. And if it happens, it will only be the same risk of death that houswives with no connection to the Air Force will bear. Should we look at policies to ensure they get fair promotion rates in the Air Force too? It should be painfully obvious that there is zero 4GW threat in America today.

Anonymous Sensei March 20, 2015 10:17 AM  

Oh, I think drone pilots are taking that risk too. Think 4GW.

I heard from 'a reliable source' that this was the case...

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 10:20 AM  

And an Air Force officer should do what else besides fly planes? Why should they be "more than just pilots"?

Not saying they shouldn't, just describing the current situation. Not the situation I would prefer to see.

Ideally, Air force officer would be a distinct skill set apart from pilot. Piloting could be a career in itself apart from "officer". Give them their own rank structure so it doesn't get confusing (Pilot first class, Full Pilot, Pilot in chief, Master Pilot, etc). Officer skill is the management of people to accomplish larger tasks than just applying thrust and raising the landing gear.

Blogger Salt March 20, 2015 10:20 AM  

If one wants to critize gamers as drone operators, fine. But, be careful.

Anonymous Ivan Poland March 20, 2015 10:26 AM  

There is a movie out about this called "Good Kill" that gets into the head of a drone operator and psychological trauma her goes through after being on the job for a while. After reading this I might have to put it on the ol' Netflix queue.

Anonymous Ivan Poland March 20, 2015 10:28 AM  

He not her

Blogger Chris Mallory March 20, 2015 10:28 AM  


"Who also do not get promoted to high rank, especially general officer rank."

They can and do become senior NCOs.

Anonymous Pode March 20, 2015 10:29 AM  

"Especially since flying the large UAVs is NOT a job for X-Box Ricky. These aircraft are very complex and quite demanding to fly."

Only because the Air Force insists they be that way to preserve pilot jobs. As other commenters have pointed out and the Raven UAV proves, computers are already quite capable of flying these aircraft in any anti-air threat environment the aircraft can survive in. Humans need only monitor the video feeds and pull the triggers. The bureaucratic jobs protection Vox mentioned in the OP comes with insisting there be a dedicated pilot for each drone. The career path of those dedicated pilots versus conventional pilots is a different story. Perhaps it's bias in favor of those perceived as taking personal risk, but my experience is that it's more likely to be selection bias for others with backgrounds like the existing brass.

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 10:33 AM  

@ Steveo, your argument about the founders intentions is not relevant. The oath we have is the one we have and it is clear. If you are counting on uniformed military people to disobey orders on the basis of that particular oath, you are gravely mistaken. Military members are not Constitutional professors. If the boss says his orders are valid, most members will obey them. The oath military members take is sufficient to bomb every bowling ally in North America with 500 pounders and fewer than 1% of the pilots refusing to take a second pass. If you are hoping for flickers of conscience from the uniformed military, it will come from some source other than the "oath".

Blogger Karl March 20, 2015 10:34 AM  

Boo-Freaking-Hoo. You know who else is never going to be an Air Force General? cooks, janitors, IT tecs, Guys who refuel jets on the ground. Guys who repair jet engines. And pretty much 95% of the rest of the air force total manpower.

Those are all non-combat positions. Now, if we spent three years dropping the cooks' food on the enemy, they should probably get a medal of some type.

Blogger Vox March 20, 2015 10:35 AM  

Should we look at policies to ensure they get fair promotion rates in the Air Force too?

If you want to keep housewives in the Air Force, yes. I'm not the one who believes a dearth of drone pilots is a problem. So, by all means, stop paying them too, as far as I'm concerned.

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 10:41 AM  

I'm not the one who believes a dearth of drone pilots is a problem.

Me neither. Army drone pilots are not officers or "pilots". Yet the Army seems to have no trouble getting "enough of them".

Anonymous . March 20, 2015 10:48 AM  

"computers are already quite capable of flying these aircraft in any anti-air threat environment the aircraft can survive in."

Nah. Drones can only survive in highly permissive environments.

Anonymous Tallen March 20, 2015 11:05 AM  

Without saying too much, I think this concern about drones over US soil should be looked at with the same scrutiny as a Japanese invasion during WW2. Logistics, logistics, logistics...

Blogger JP March 20, 2015 11:08 AM  

It should be painfully obvious that there is zero 4GW threat in America today.

Are you serious?

Anonymous Athor Pel March 20, 2015 11:08 AM  

" Stg58 / Animal MotherMarch 20, 2015 8:47 AM
We know where the drone pilots are. Holloman and Creech AFB."



There are other places but those are the main ones.

In any case, if they're in the continental US then even if their work spaces are supposedly secure they still live off base.

Anonymous Anonymous March 20, 2015 11:11 AM  

Jeremiah Says:
I'm an old man now.... this is the exact opposite of my 2004 Iraq deployment. We drove around in Armored vehicles skirmishing with Mahdi militia, getting shot at but RARELY returning fire because #1 there was often nothing to shoot at by the time we got to whatever went "boom" and #2 we were very cognizant of what our 25MM chainguns could do to the urban landscape. So, you have a situation where WE were hot, sweaty, dirty, tired, hungry etc being actively hunted and rarely if ever getting any 'confirmed' kills, AND had an insane OPTEMPO for that year... whereas these drone pilots are supposedly nice and comfy and blowing shitbags to hell all day. If you'd described this to me in 2004 I would have thought: "Hallelujah! When can we get a few of those drones down here and blow these motherfuckers away?"
Now, I see how messed up the program is, and how badly managed it is, usually due to the same petty BS we had to deal with overseas: The lack of understanding of Senior ranks.
Example: We were out driving around Iraq, doing our thing for a month or so and JUST when we start getting things down, the contractors get hanged from that bridge in Fallujah and the shit hits the fan. Over the next few months OPTEMPO and violence goes up. Back at the base, the build and MWR (Morale WElfare and Recreation) center with a few X-boxes, games, snacks, a gym and even a smoothie bar. What does out Platoon Sergeant say? "You're F*cking Scouts.... you're killers. If I find you ANYWHERE in the MWR, except the gym.... I'll give you a F*cking Article 15. You're either out there hunting sh1tbags, training, or sleeping. F*ck that place." (He saw us with fruit smoothies and flipped out, btw when its 140 degrees F, a fruit smoothie is like heaven) Now, there is no smoothie than can fill the void in thier souls....

Blogger Nate March 20, 2015 11:15 AM  

"If you want to keep housewives in the Air Force, yes. I'm not the one who believes a dearth of drone pilots is a problem. So, by all means, stop paying them too, as far as I'm concerned."

What people are not thinking through... is drone war is, by definition, fighting them over here... not over there.

its not our guys over their fighting their guys. Its our guys over here fighting their guys over there.

We're implicitly begging them to come here and start blowing shit up.

Anonymous Mike M. March 20, 2015 11:18 AM  

I'll also advise reading the original letter.

Aircrew for the large UAVs have a much harder life than people realize. Sure, you get to sleep at home....if you can sleep in the middle of the day. We're talking 24/7/365 operations here. An insatiable demand for armed ISR, because EVERYBODY wants UAV support. And, of course, the rotations forward for launch and recovery duty. It's a meat grinder of a life.

And as the author of the original letter notes, there is neither relief nor recognition in it. Just another extension on your tour of duty.

Blogger Akulkis March 20, 2015 11:21 AM  

"It should be painfully obvious that there is zero 4GW threat in America today."

Strange... yesterday, the FBI director announced that they have ongoing investigations of ISIS activity in ALL 50 states ... that's right, even Alaska.

They have the capability to strike here already... they just haven't USED it.

Blogger Marissa March 20, 2015 11:28 AM  

Now, if we spent three years dropping the cooks' food on the enemy, they should probably get a medal of some type.

Especially if it contains bacon or ham. What the hell, pork blood pudding too.

Anonymous Jack Amok March 20, 2015 11:36 AM  

Boo-Freaking-Hoo. You know who else is never going to be an Air Force General? cooks, janitors, IT tecs, Guys who refuel jets on the ground. Guys who repair jet engines. And pretty much 95% of the rest of the air force total manpower.

Yeah, but that raising a question. Who should be an AF General? If you eliminate all the guys actually doing the job the AF is asked to do from command opportunity, you end up with who exactly leading the outfit? A bunch of mar-comm types who do fabulous power point presentations.

You remind me of an Ivy League MBA who thinks he should run a technolgy company because the engineers who actually understand what the company does are "just tech guys" and not "leaders of men."

But, like Vox says, not really a problem, so keep up the good work.

Blogger Akulkis March 20, 2015 11:38 AM  

@Steveo

The U.S. armed forces are sworn to protect the U.S Constitution, "from all enemies, both foreign and domestic"

Not the people (because some of the people will always be enemies of the Constitution) and certainly not the government (as those who are enemies of the Constituiton will tend to seek positions of power within the government (see Obama, Barack, President of the U.S.).

Enlisted ranks are sworn to obey the President and the officers appointed above them. Commissioned officers are NOT sworn to obey the President.

Anonymous patrick kelly March 20, 2015 11:40 AM  

"They have the capability to strike here already... they just haven't USED it."

They must be smarter than I've given them credit ........or they are afraid to for some reason......or both......smarts and fear help you live longer.......


Blogger Cataline Sergius March 20, 2015 11:48 AM  

"If you want to keep housewives in the Air Force, yes. I'm not the one who believes a dearth of drone pilots is a problem. So, by all means, stop paying them too, as far as I'm concerned."

But where will they get jobs once they are RIFFed out of the service?

That's right! Police departments.

Don't start judging us until you've spent a few hundred hours hovering over an Afghan village. It's impossible to not notice people living their lives. That terrorist you're watching is also a dad. He Andy Griffiths his son through important life moments and bangs his wife as often as you'd expect from someone without access to Netflix.

It's one of the things that really bother me about drones being used by law enforcement. There's almost nothing you can't see when your flying robot has heat vision. No department will set out to record people having sex from their backyards or through open windows, but a few lucky drone cops are going to see that stuff, and one of them will be dumb enough to post it on YouTube.

Anonymous Steveo March 20, 2015 11:49 AM  

@genericviews - You mean like Snowden did? Did he obey his Oath & the Constitution supported by it - or did his NSA superiors?

I believe the dearth of drone pilots has more to do with this issue of character than anything else. People are leaving the program faster than they are coming in. Why do you think that's happening?

Of course it's (the founders intentions) relevant. The whole point is that it takes men of character to create, support, maintain, extend, & even defend higher civilization based on freedom & liberty. That's where it came from. Without that foundation - it cannot & therefore will not continue to thrive. Our founding fathers knew that, though it would not surprise them in the least that a pedantic argument about a word could allow the murder of US citizens shows up with the absence of character in those same citizens. Words mean things - the oath we have, according to you is the one that we must agree means nothing, as it is based on nothing and can never mean anything. Why? Because obviously, when the combinations of letters making the words is more important than the meaning they convey, indeed - that they cannot convey any commonly understood meaning - proves there is little or no character in the mix...

JUST to be clear, the first failures of character happen when superiors all the way to the top twist words such as "enemies domestic" to mean political & moral opposition, then the domestic population writ large. The issue now resides with the individual beholden to the oath to parse those words with honor & integrity. If they cannot - then they fail as well.

IMO, maybe 30-45% would do exactly that (disregard orders) if tasked to destroy Americans, but it's just a guess. If the fight goes live, we'll see then won't we? I do know that I'd rather stand with men that understand the point of the oath, not the lawyers divining the new meanings possible all around it.

There are men of character in uniform (& out of uniform for that matter), so I completely disagree with your assertion that less than 1% would refuse a second pass at bombing bowling alleys. Though in any case, the good news is - one person can make a big impact, just like Snowden. Or like a Russian Officer,Vasili Arkhipov, who disregarded his orders & prevented a nuke launch in the missile crisis.

You obviously have much less regard for the men & women in the military than I... though I do not believe it would be possible for you to have less regard for our politicians that run things or TTL (those things lawyerly).

Blogger Noah B March 20, 2015 11:50 AM  

The idea that there is a massive threat from jihadists doesn't square with the lack of attacks.

Anonymous Steveo March 20, 2015 11:52 AM  

@ Akulkis - clearly then, killing all the people would protect the Constitution better than leaving them around to threaten it.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 March 20, 2015 12:00 PM  

The Constitution is basically dead in the country anyway. At this point, it is just a matter of not being declared an enemy of the State.

Remember, the CIA has already killed an American teenager in Yemen via drone strike for having the wrong father.

Blogger dw March 20, 2015 12:01 PM  

I'd feel any sympathy at all for them if they weren't about to turn their drones against their fellow Americans. It may be grueling, tiring work, but that doesn't mean it's important or necessary.

Blogger Noah B March 20, 2015 12:02 PM  

"Remember, the CIA has already killed an American teenager in Yemen via drone strike for having the wrong father."

And that's what they openly admit to. Who knows what all they're actually doing.

Blogger Akulkis March 20, 2015 12:08 PM  

I don't know about the Air Force, but among Army infantry, the thought of using their arms against the general public is so utterly repugnant, that, in discussions about these sorts of things (like while on a bus to a training base), most state that if any officer gave such orders, they would advise if officer that he's giving an illegal order...and if the officer repeated the order, they would shoot him -- on the spot, if possible., or as soon as convenient if not (i.e. just like fragging of officers during the Viet Nam war)

Anonymous BigGaySteve March 20, 2015 12:12 PM  

"Strange... yesterday, the FBI director announced that they have ongoing investigations of ISIS activity in ALL 50 states "..

That's because they keep importing 3rd world savage moslems using my tax dollars and putting them on welfare/section8. We can survive terrorism but we cant survive 3rd world immigration. They are using tax dollars to teach them how to use toilets in taxpayer paid houses when they could put homeless vets in those houses without toilet training, or simply take less from my wallet.

We still need humans pushing the button to kill people but taking in 3rd world moslems as bio weapons against our civilization is worse than anything we do over there. If people have bad schedules they need compensation, or you will lose them, and if they are losing their vacation time because they cant use it they at least need to cash it out. That's pretty much the whole man/woman pay gap right there. When I did weekend option, hoes would be envious of full time pay 5 days off a week for just 2 shifts but not so much that they would do it after finding out the limits for weekends off, that was a situation where you couldn't spend all your PTO.

One thing that seems to touch peoples amygdales is when they talk about how you cant fight the govt. point out that a gay soldier like Bradley Manning might remember the constitution and turn coat. They are used to thinking diversity means conformity. No one would suspect him but he could sabotage lots of stuff especially if he knows ....

Blogger Plump Pleasant Plumber March 20, 2015 12:14 PM  

Yeppers, 4GW warfare, indeed. Wouldn't be hard. You see, you don't kill the drone pilots.....here's the point.....Folks get the idea that these Islamic types are somehow not quite as smart as we are. Bad mistake. They are quite capable of doing their own op research on these pilots. Let's just say one has a favorite grandma and a favorite niece. Tell them they have to choose. One is going to die for their sins. Much easier than most folks understand. These drone pilots have been enragING Islam for a while now. Reaping the whirlwind, right? Just think of all that information out there. There are many ways of eliminating those pilots. The fact that they're being mistreated by their command structure is just a small part of their problems. Personally, the female pilots would be the most vulnerable. The government can't protect them all. Fact is, if the government tells them that they're being protected, well, some are, but not all of them. As for the mental problems, well, they aren't going to go away. They are literally blowing people up, and killing innocent people as well. Those dogs in the basement have to be fed.

Blogger Akulkis March 20, 2015 12:15 PM  

Also, I have no reason to believe that tankers and cav are any different in this regard than the infantry, nor forward observers who pick out and direct fire for mortars and artillery. Artillery gun crewmen just load the weapon, spin the aiming wheels and pull the lanyard. The gun-plot team merely figures out how the guns should be adjusted to get the shells to leave firing point A and arrive on target-location B. Moral culpability for target selection, and even WHEN to fire lies exclusively with the FO, and the ones who I have known recognize this fact.

Blogger Plump Pleasant Plumber March 20, 2015 12:17 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

OpenID luagha March 20, 2015 12:17 PM  

Osama bin Laden was both hailed and attacked in the jihad community for the 9/11 attacked. On the one hand, great visuals, attracts followers. On the other hand, it woke the sleeping giant for a while and lost them Afghanistan and a heck of a lot of people.

So the top level jihad guys are wary of opening up Israel and Mumbai-style terrorist attacks In the US. Once they do, everything changes. And why try to win fast when you're winning slow and every day ps you in a better position?

Anonymous Athor Pel March 20, 2015 12:24 PM  

quote from Pournelle's article,
"Last year we had enough enlisted sensor operators that we could have initiated a plan to rotate crews out for advanced training, to improve the long term quality and health of our enlisted RPA crew members. Instead, the USAF involuntarily separated the “extra” airmen who had the bad luck of having nothing but combat ops on their performance reports. Hence exodus. "


That's the AF that I know.

Nice to see it hasn't changed.

Anonymous cheddarman March 20, 2015 12:35 PM  

It would be ironic if someone attacked the drone pilot operations centers with a drone. I wonder what kind of security they have for the bases, besides the usual armed guard check points. Knowing the military, i would expect none to be in place.

Anonymous cheddarman March 20, 2015 12:37 PM  

An SJW type asked a buddy of mine what good his 9mm Beretta would do against a drone/air strike strike. My buddy said "the pilot wont be flying that drone/aircraft if he has a 9mm bullet in his head"

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey March 20, 2015 12:47 PM  

There's a drone facility in Oregon that does work for the military.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey March 20, 2015 12:52 PM  

It would be ironic if someone attacked the drone pilot operations centers with a drone.

I'm sure there's a project to collect info on and map the locations of these centers, in the event of a domestic event. These bases are going to end up like the isolated army forts in the Indian Wars. You'd want to find out the details on the personnel (and their relations) and persuade them to switch sides.

Anonymous Steveo March 20, 2015 12:57 PM  

From an article posted on LewRockwell...

Read it for the context of these excerpts:

“A Predator pilot has been watching his target[s], knows them intimately, knows where they are, and knows what’s around them.”

Some say that the drone war has driven them over the edge. “How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile? How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” Heather Linebaugh, a former drone imagery analyst, wrote in the Guardian. “When you are exposed to it over and over again it becomes like a small video, embedded in your head, forever on repeat, causing psychological pain and suffering that many people will hopefully never experience.”

AND this excerpt...

Within 20 minutes, after the survivors of the attack had surrendered, the transcript recorded the sinking feelings of the drone pilots as they spotted women and children in the convoy and could not find any visual evidence of weapons.

A subsequent on-the-ground investigation established that not one of the people killed was anything other than an ordinary villager.

Wonder why they might not like the job now?

Anonymous liljoe March 20, 2015 1:19 PM  

any person w honor should refuse to murder people (combatant or non combatant) in this manner. Viewing the drone footage is what turned Snowden into king of whistleblowers. this stuff is immoral

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus March 20, 2015 1:27 PM  

@Salt

I think they certainly can automate a good deal of the flight of drones, but to fly a full-sized aircraft as opposed to (basically) a toy like the Raven requires knowledge of flight that Xbox Ricky doesnt have and that can't be automated well. Autopilots and autoland systems do work, but there is more to it than just that (lot of pilots dont use autoland on planes that are equipped with it).

Even "gamer" drone pilots have to be trained to fly. So that Xbox Ricky even needs training to understand little things such as why he needs to keep back pressure on the yoke while banking or why, if pulling back makes the aircraft go up, why he can't do a loop by pulling the yoke all the way back and holding it or how he can expect a real aircraft to behave when pushed.

Does his training necessarily need to be as exhaustive, demaning and selective as a standard pilots? probably not, but they definitely do need training.

Anonymous Salt March 20, 2015 1:42 PM  

Even "gamer" drone pilots have to be trained to fly.

Look, Darth, my point is that Gamers are quite capable of learning how to max out game play, or fly a Drone. Add in

I wonder what kind of man it takes to fly predator drone sorties in the US

If you take this post and combine it with the Gamma series that Vox has been running, you have your answer.


Inside or outside of US, for $14.99/mo instead of paying for pilots the gov't could be paid.

LULZ.

Blogger Cogitans Iuvenis March 20, 2015 2:18 PM  

any person w honor should refuse to murder people (combatant or non combatant) in this manner. Viewing the drone footage is what turned Snowden into king of whistleblowers. this stuff is immoral

And people said the same when the people first started using snipers with rifle barrels hiding in the bushing rather than standing in line formation and peasants using blunderbusses against armored knights etc. War in general is immoral and the only people who can, and really have any right, to determine what is, and what is not, honorable conduct in warfare are those who are actively partaking in it. Drones are here, and they are here to stay.

Blogger Noah B March 20, 2015 2:25 PM  

War in general is immoral and the only people who can, and really have any right, to determine what is, and what is not, honorable conduct in warfare are those who are actively partaking in it.

I don't necessarily disagree, but that is not the position the US government took in the Nuremberg trials.

Blogger Chris Mallory March 20, 2015 2:50 PM  

"Strange... yesterday, the FBI director announced that they have ongoing investigations of ISIS activity in ALL 50 states ... that's right, even Alaska."

It seems that every FeeBI success has been in arresting malcontents who couldn't pour urine out of a boot or scrape up enough cash to buy a pair of boots at Wal Mart. Until the FeeBI hooks them up with a snitch who will string them along, give them some pocket money, then let the heroic agents swoop in to arrest them.
The FeeBI did nothing to stop Boston, did nothing to stop 9/11, did nothing to stop the first WTC bombing (a sting gone bad).

I would not trust a FeeBI agent to tell me what color the sky was.

Anonymous Feh March 20, 2015 2:52 PM  

@Noah,

Yes the US position was very clear and consistent.

For example,

Axis bombing of Warsaw, Rotterdam, London - BAD
Allied bombing of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, etc. - GOOD

Axis aggression against Poland - BAD
Allied (Soviet) aggression against Poland - GOOD

Axis murdering prisoners - BAD
Allies murdering prisoners (e.g., Katyn) - GOOD

Axis enslaving POWs - BAD
Allies enslaving POWs - GOOD

German unrestricted U-boat warfare in the Atlantic - BAD
US unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific - GOOD

Etc., etc.

Blogger James Dixon March 20, 2015 3:11 PM  

> It should be painfully obvious that there is zero 4GW threat in America today.

Timothy McVeigh would like a word with you.

Blogger Marissa March 20, 2015 3:20 PM  

any person w honor should refuse to murder people (combatant or non combatant) in this manner. Viewing the drone footage is what turned Snowden into king of whistleblowers. this stuff is immoral

Is it better to be in the area, dropping a bomb from x,000 feet? I'm not sure I see a moral difference. It seems a little sleazy, but that's because fighter pilots are glamorous and sitting in front of a computer in an office is not.

Blogger Robert What? March 20, 2015 3:20 PM  

The drone pilot sounds like decent, straight up kind of guy. I wonder what guys like him will do when (not if) they are ordered to attack regular American citizens on American soil? Will they revolt, or will do they just fall in line?

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 3:21 PM  

Strange... yesterday, the FBI director announced that they have ongoing investigations of ISIS activity in ALL 50 states ... that's right, even Alaska."

BRRRING: FBI. Can I help you?
Caller: My neighbor is playing loud music and waking up my kids.
FBI: Not our problem. (click)
BRRRING: FBI. Can I help you?
(same voice): Um... I think my neighbor is in ISIS.
FBI: We will open an investigation immediately. Thank you citizen.

There is a difference between "investigating" and "finding". The number of ISIS attacks in the USA is still zero. Number of asymetric attacks in the USA since 9-11 is still zero (I don't count SJS -- sudden jihadi syndrome). Number of asymetric attacks against drone pilots anywhere is still zero. We can have a discussion when that changes. Zero attacks = zero threat. Hypotethical threat != actual threat.

It is not the FBI who is successfully preventing attacks that keeps us safe. The enemy isn't even trying. I call that convincing evidence that there is no enemy.

Blogger Chris Mallory March 20, 2015 3:21 PM  

"Timothy McVeigh "

A patsy for a failed sting operation.

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 3:30 PM  

The drone pilot sounds like decent, straight up kind of guy. I wonder what guys like him will do when (not if) they are ordered to attack regular American citizens on American soil? Will they revolt, or will do they just fall in line?

They will do exactly the same thing they do now. They will put the crosshairs on the bright green blob in the middle of the dark green background and touch the red button on the joystick. Mission Complete. Drone pilots don't know who they are killing. Neither do real air force pilots flying close air support. Neither do Army artillerists. They have target coordinates. They have ingress and egress routes given to them. They have ground controllers telling them "go hot". They can't recognize faces so there is no point asking them to.

But if it is an issue, the institution can always lie to them. Tell them the bad guy has a dirty bomb he is going to plant at the children's hospital. And the bad guy is really a white supremisist from Germany, just like on an episode of 24.

Blogger Noah B March 20, 2015 3:37 PM  

Their idea of stopping a terrorist attack is handing a guy a light switch connected to a TV antenna with a couple of wires, telling him he's going to do something very, very bad if he flips the switch, and then taking him down with a SWAT team when he goes for it. If network television ran a reality series called "To Catch A Terrorist," it still wouldn't be retarded enough to reflect what's actually happening.

Blogger Marissa March 20, 2015 3:38 PM  

Neither We Are Change or A Noble Lie: Oklahoma City 1995 have a Wikipedia page. I find that odd. OKC was an illustrious bright spot in Mr. Eric Holder's early career.

OpenID genericviews March 20, 2015 3:40 PM  

Timothy McVeigh would like a word with you.

Psychopath being a psychopath is NOT 4GW. Neither is Charles Manson, Son of Sam, Unibomber, Bloods vs Crips, MS-13, Mafia, acne or termites.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 20, 2015 4:33 PM  

Cogitans Iuvenis: "War in general is immoral and the only people who can, and really have any right, to determine what is, and what is not, honorable conduct in warfare are those who are actively partaking in it."

How would this scheme of right and wrong be enforced?

Example: is it a war crime to drop buckets of instant sunshine on a neutral city? (Or: a city in a neutral state, not party to the war.)

According to your doctrine, nobody has a right to determine whether this is honorable conduct except those who did the attack. General Nasir and pilots Achmed and Jusef are fine with it, so it's all good, and nobody else can have an opinion.

That means that the authorities of the attacked nation, likely supported by their (surviving) people, can't determine for themselves that this wasn't honorable, and that the nation is no longer neutral, and that therefore nukes are going to fly like mayflies.

According to your theory they can't legitimately make such a judgement, but in practice they will.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus March 20, 2015 4:37 PM  

Feh March 20, 2015 2:52 PM, this is why I wouldn't use Nuremberg as a good example.

Nevertheless, war crimes are serious crimes. And in determining what is a crime, or what is dishonorable, it's not only the opinions of those that are actively partaking of the feast that matter.

Anonymous American Kulak March 20, 2015 7:28 PM  

@ Steveo March 20, 2015

"IMO, maybe 30-45% would do exactly that (disregard orders) if tasked to destroy Americans, but it's just a guess. If the fight goes live, we'll see then won't we? I do know that I'd rather stand with men that understand the point of the oath, not the lawyers divining the new meanings possible all around it." There's also the small matter of wondering if one obeys a criminal order to shoot or drone fellow Americans because POTUS has decided their domestic right wing gun nut extremists of whether any of one's colleagues in the military might take exception to that and throw their oathbreaking commander in the brig.

The percentage that matters in the end may not just be those who go along with criminal orders but the number however small who decide to actively side with the People or local sheriffs and bring their hardware with them -- at which point the willingness to obey orders when one is going up against .50 cals or Bradleys instead of just a bunch of rednecks with shotguns or AR-15s rapidly dissipates. One of the many reasons why any Civil War 2.0 will remain low intensity or more chaotic warlordism and rioting than anything else rather than Blue vs. Gray with F-16s. Those fantasizing about a rerun of the 1861-65 scenario with F-16s simply don't get that the very SHTF economic collapse scenario that would usher in martial law/total tyranny would also make maintaining expensive, fuel guzzling hardware like modern fighter jets and M-1 tanks a very difficult proposition for either REDFOR or FREEFOR. Not to mention the fact that a civil war is rather impossible in a country with hundreds of nuclear warheads in Montana, Wyoming or the Dakotas to account for that foreign powers eg Russia and China would naturally want assurances were safe just as the US set up Nunn-Lugar in 1992-93 to prevent loose ex-USSR nukes. Even Russia's civil war in 1993 didn't go beyond the shelling of the rebellious Communists in parliament who were trying to impeach Yeltsin for being an American stooge who illegally, unconstitutionally killed off the USSR against the wishes of 75% of the population ex-Baltic states. The Ukrainian Civil War and Russian support for their Novorossiya proxies indeed was only possible because Kiev gave up their nukes in the early 1990s, but one should also try to imagine this group of asshats in Kiev or Right Sector Nazis with nuclear weapons to understand that the world dodged a bullet with that one and Kiev losing some territory in Donbass is hardly a good reason to start WWIII.

Last but not least, one of the reasons NATO propagandists and reliable DoD/State Dept. sock puppet presstitutes have harped so much on how awesome Russian propaganda and 'special war' have been (here's looking at a certain ex-NSA Anthony Weiner 2.0 character fired by the US Naval War College the Federalist isn't too embarrassed to take seriously) particularly in the case of Crimea is because Kiev needs some psychological compensation for the fact its soldiers and sailors simply stood down. The Ukrainian military on the peninsula understood the vast majority of the population was with the so-called 'Russian invaders'. If there were hardcore 'Banderite' or OUN/UPA worshipping Ukrainian nationalists among the Crimea garrisons they understood they'd need to live to fight another day because the men in their unit who planned to defect to the Russians would frag them if they decided on a Banderakaze suicide charge against the surrounding Russians to make some dumbass kids on the Maidan or assholes in the Rada feel better about Ukraine losing Crimea which was never legally transferred by Krushchev to begin with. Basically NATO needs to proclaim the awesomeness of Russia's Crimea operation as a salve to help their dear little fragile Kiev-lings overcome the humiliation of losing Crimea without firing a shot in anger and losing the Donbass after wasting the lives of 14,000 Ukrainian men trying to keep it.

Anonymous TheVillageIdiot(Ret.) March 20, 2015 7:35 PM  

So are the drone pilots the new

“Dogs of War” ?

DannyR

Anonymous Jack Amok March 20, 2015 9:25 PM  

any person w honor should refuse to murder people (combatant or non combatant) in this manner.

If you decide it's important enough to kill someone, then you damn well better be willing to kill them in whatever way is most effective. Because if the reason they have to die isn't important enough for you to kill them in a dirty, despicable manner, then it isn't important enough for you to kill them in an "honorable" one either.

If you want to be "sporting" about your killing, you damn well better be hunting deer.

I don't necessarily disagree, but that is not the position the US government took in the Nuremberg trials.

The worst war crime you can commit is called "losing the war."

Anonymous Anubis March 20, 2015 9:46 PM  

"Timothy McVeigh would like a word with you."

Tim is why the Bundy ranch had the feds give up. He is the reason there will be no more Ruby Ridges or Waco's because they know if they push too hard someone will hit them where they are not looking. In fact the retired sniper community put out a post about how their will be no more free Wacos. http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2009/05/no-more-free-wacos-explication-of.html

And this is the counter to the Hillary camps.
http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2009/10/mathematics-of-liberty-one-hundred.html

Anonymous liljoe March 20, 2015 9:47 PM  

Is it better to be in the area, dropping a bomb from x,000 feet? I'm not sure I see a moral difference. It seems a little sleazy, but that's because fighter pilots are glamorous and sitting in front of a computer in an office is not.

The statement was "drone bombing remote targets to death is immoral". the claim that drone bombing is "worse" than traditional flyover bombing was never made. I happen to believe both are immoral, but that wasn't what was stated.

If you decide it's important enough to kill someone, then you damn well better be willing to kill them in whatever way is most effective

So you have no problem with murdering women and "impaling infants on bayonets" once you've decided such an act is necessary to "win" the war? Killing non-combatant families from the comfort of my couch may be effective certainly but is this really "winning" the war?

Anonymous liljoe March 20, 2015 10:07 PM  

If you decide it's important enough to kill someone, then you damn well better be willing to kill them in whatever way is most effective.

So impaling toddlers on my bayonet or wiping out dozens with drone strikes, while effective killing methods, are acceptable once it's decided it's necessary to "win the war"? I'm all for into the breach and killing more of them and making the other poor bastard die for his country etc. but at some point there must be some sort of reckoning by those involved is this all worth what I've done here

Anonymous Anubis March 20, 2015 10:14 PM  

"So impaling toddlers on my bayonet or wiping out dozens with drone strikes"

Both Charles Martel and Vlad Tepes understood not only taqiyya but that nits make lice.

Anonymous liljoe March 20, 2015 10:49 PM  

Rest assured, if the Caliphate ever reaches Colorado, let the Hammering commence. Wonder what Martel would think of drone strikes, not so chivalrous?

Anonymous American Kulak March 20, 2015 11:46 PM  

And for some of the regulars who comment here, though in the minority, who would label me a 'Russian troll' for calling Kiev's current rulers asshats: take a good look at the mob war going on between the Choco-President Petro Poroshenko and the Dnetropetrovsk three-passport holding (which makes it illegal for him to hold office) governor/warlord Ihor Kolomoisky. Who personally led a goon squad to take over the state oil transport company, probably one of the biggest corrupt black holes in the country, when his guy was sacked by Poroshenko's people in the name of reforms. Even the Kyiv Post Maidanistas are embarrassed and saying the State must act against Kolomoisky. What they won't admit is Ihor K. was caught on video Skype saying 'sure we did MH17...but who cares now? It was a mistake'. So maybe if Ihor gets mad enough he'll order his minions in the Ukrainian military to shoot down another airliner full of passengers and say Putin and the Novorossiya militias did it.

Anonymous Stilicho March 21, 2015 12:16 AM  

1) flying a drone ain't combat
2) that's still a brutal schedule over an extended time
3) I didn't see any mention of poncho hooches or even quonset huts... so cry me a river about facilities flyboy
4) Titus, it pays to be a winner.

Blogger Nate March 21, 2015 1:17 AM  

"> It should be painfully obvious that there is zero 4GW threat in America today. "


***chuckle***


You're absolutely right.

there is none. zero.

Anonymous Discard March 21, 2015 1:19 AM  

Long haul trucking and railroading aren't easy schedules either. If you don't like the work, don't do it.

Anonymous Discard March 21, 2015 1:22 AM  

Whatever the odds are for 4G war or soldiers turning on their officers, I don't doubt that the PTB have to take some account of all the anti-leftists with guns floating around.

Blogger bruce March 21, 2015 3:55 AM  

Half the Air Force Academy has been going into drones for the last ten years. The Academy brotherhood doesn't magically disappear over the drone/pilot distinction. They run things. Stories like this are how they politic- like the 'Wah!, Special Forces guys never make general!!' ten years ago.. . In ten years the 4-star for the Air Force will be a drone guy. Fair enough. We fight with drones. We will promote some ring-knocker who fought with drones.

Blogger bruce March 21, 2015 3:56 AM  

Half the Air Force Academy has been going into drones for the last ten years. The Academy brotherhood doesn't magically disappear over the drone/pilot distinction. They run things. Stories like this are how they politic- like the 'Wah!, Special Forces guys never make general!!' ten years ago.. . In ten years the 4-star for the Air Force will be a drone guy. Fair enough. We fight with drones. We will promote some ring-knocker who fought with drones.

Blogger James Dixon March 22, 2015 12:24 PM  

> Psychopath being a psychopath is NOT 4GW.

Which just goes to show that you understand neither psychopaths nor 4GW.

> So you have no problem with murdering women and "impaling infants on bayonets" once you've decided such an act is necessary to "win" the war?

No, I don't. But there's no need to murder infants and children. You may have to sell them off into slavery in foreign lands though.

> ...but at some point there must be some sort of reckoning by those involved is this all worth what I've done here

The reckoning is simple. Did you win?

But then I understand what war is. Apparently you don't.

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