drone-pilots-speak-out

‘We killed them in their sleep. That was cowardly murder.’ – Brandon Bryant former USAF drone pilot.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, government officials and MSM talking heads are hauling out the same old propaganda and fear rhetoric. They “hate our freedom,” they hate western civilization, the Muslim religion demands the murder of all non-believers. This manufactured rage then manifests itself on the most defenseless—the refugees of war—who in tragic irony seek help from those who drove the cause of their suffering.

As The Free Thought Project wrote earlier, decades of Western meddling in the Middle East has killed countless innocent people and created a million Osama bin Ladens. Those who watch their loved ones die by foreign bombs and bullets find it difficult to turn the other cheek.

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This week, a group of former drone operators gave a press conference, where they described the horrific “targeted strikes” that fuel hatred and bring easy recruitment to ISIS. Last week’s terror attacks compelled the veterans to speak out, as they believe that ISIS is fueled in part by the indiscriminate drone assassinations.

Michael Haas, Cian Westmoreland, and Stephen Lewis are former senior airmen in the U.S. Armed Forces. Joined by former Staff Sgt. Brandon Bryant, they have all conducted kill missions in Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. They represent the largest collection of drone whistleblowers to date.

“We have seen the abuse firsthand,” said Bryant, “and we are horrified.”

We kill four and create 10 [militants],” Bryant went on to say. “If you kill someone’s father, uncle or brother who had nothing to do with anything, their families are going to want revenge.

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Since 9/11, the U.S. military has exponentially increased the use of unmanned drones to carry out targeted killings in many countries, under Bush and Obama. Details have emerged on how the drone program relies on unreliable intelligence and kills far more innocent people than it does intended targets.

Haas, who also served as a flight instructor, described the “bloodlust” and indifference to the act of killing children and non-combatants. He also said that some operators would frequently be intoxicated during missions so they could “bend that reality and try to picture yourself not being there.” Members of the drone program refer to children as “fun-size terrorists” or “TITs (terrorists in training),” and say they are “cutting the grass before it grows too long.”

The courageous former drone operators—risking prosecution, threats of violence and “warnings” of danger from the FBI—wrote an open letter to President Obama and CIA director John Brenna in the attempt to inject truth into the whirlwind of senseless rhetoric.

The open letter states that the drone program has “fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS while also serving as a fundamental recruitment tool similar to Guantánamo Bay,” and the killing of civilians is one of the most “devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

Westmoreland said, “In the short term they’re good at killing people, but in the long term they’re not effective. There are 15-year-olds growing up who have not lived a day without drones overhead, but you also have expats who are watching what’s going on in their home countries and seeing regularly the violations that are happening there, and that is something that could radicalize them.

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Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.