May 27, 2013
A former Air Force pilot who operated drones for five years, Brandon Bryant, spoke out on NPR’s Morning Edition about his experiences operating drones. He described targeting and killing people he thinks were civilians, or at least not a threat. He describes bombing a man running away, and when the smoke cleared saw the man get his leg blown off and bled to death. He also describes killing a child in a drone strike. After this shot Bryant said, “I didn’t feel distraught like I felt my first shot. I felt numb because this is the reality of war. That good guys can die, bad guys can die, and innocence can die as well.”
Brandon Bryant quit the program. He is in college in Montana on the GI Bill. But he is homeless and suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Certainly, the primary victims are those who are the objects of U.S. wars. But just as certainly, second are the soldiers themselves, who, once conscious, cannot escape the horrors they have inflicted on others, however remote the trigger.