Piloting Military Drones Is Not Like Playing a Videogame

Syzygy23

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Kopikatsu said:
A Satanic Panda said:
Acrisius said:
A Satanic Panda said:
Acrisius said:
Um...anyone else under the impression that this article kinda came out of nowhere, so to speak?
Well, China has been giving Japan some funny looks lately.

[small]The kind of looks people get right before they disappear[/small]
I don't see how that's connected to this...
As if there would suddenly be a large scale military conflict, in which these drones are used.
There won't be a large scale military conflict.

Japan's Navy and Airforce were both forced to effectively disband after their conditional surrender, which ended WW2. In exchange for the disarmament, the US promised to protect Japan and it's assets if it ever had to go to war. But the majority of the US's loans are held in China, and the US owes China more money than exists in the world. They can't risk armed conflict.

So yeah. No large scale military conflict. If China moves on Japan, then neither the US nor Japan can do anything about it. Japan is fucked.
So... we'd have an excuse to blow up the country we owe a nigh unpayable amount of money to?

Also, last I checked, Japan is not only insane, but has nuclear capabilities to boot. Atomic power and effing gigapudding, that's natures way of saying "don't touch".

Nothing he said in that rebuttal changed the fact that it still seems like playing a videogame. All he did was say "The drone wouldn't work without a human pilot" and "we kill people with drones".

Just because the stakes are the lives of human beings doesn't mean the skillset is different.
 

Squilookle

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Well I for one am sick to death of RAF personel constantly telling me that when I play TIE Fighter it's just like flying a drone.

Enough already grrr hisss raeg.
 

Elementary - Dear Watson

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Kuala BangoDango said:
I like the comment "OK, they are bad guys we are killing, but they are still human beings."

Umm, hello. Good Guys/Bad Guys is a child's notion. You should have lost that concept by the time you reach adulthood, which I'm guessing these "pilots" are supposed to be. These "Bad Guys" are often just good guys born on the wrong side of an imaginary line drawn on a map. How anyone can label "Bad Guys" all these women and children we keep "accidentally" killing just because we thought the firewood they were carrying were guns is beyond me.

And the fact that we DO keep having these "accidental" killings is evidence to me that the only "confirmation of targets" we seem to have is that if you have someone, anyone, in your cross-hair then hey, you have a target...go ahead and shoot. Doesn't matter if we know who they actually are or not.

That's why our government has had to redefine the enemy/innocent bystander relationship to where ANYONE that dies from a drone strike is by default an enemy combatant and thus eliminates by default the very notion that there may have been innocent bystanders.

For the life of me I can't understand why we, as Americans, refuse to let other countries have the same rights as we have. If an American is out in the woods with a rifle he's "probably a hunter" and protected by Constitutional rights to bear arms. If someone in the Middle-East is out in the woods with a rifle then "Oh, he must be a bad guy, kill him."

"Oh, it's not a game to us!" Yeah, I'll believe that when I stop seeing news reports of women and children killed while gathering firewood, or entire families lined up on their knees in their own homes at night during a raid and shot in the back of the head, and then photos of our guys with cheerful grins on their faces posing with, and pissing on, dead bodies.

Just my opinion.
We are talking about the RAF, not the USAF here...

We use terms like 'bad guys' when talking in public because its an easy collective for all insurgents, rogue ANSF/ANP/ALP, AQA, TB, HQN, TTP etc that would otherwise confuse matters.

You obviously have no idea about military targeting what so ever... it is a hell of a lot more than 'there is a man with a gun... kill him'. RoE and LOAC mean that the man with the gun has to do something hostile first... and then every measure has to be taken to prevent civilian lives being taken. This is the rules our governments have put for Afghanistan. If a high value target is in a populated area, then risk is weighed, and a decision is made from a very high ranking officer whether the collateral damage is more important than the necessity of incapacitating the target. This decision takes a few hours, and targeteers model every aspect of the attack in order to minimalise the casualty risk. The laws of war do not rule out civilian deaths, as long as the civilians were not knowingly the target.
 

Techno Squidgy

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gigastar said:
So did any among us gamers ever have the illusion that piloting a UAV was like playing Ace Combat?
Only if I happened to steal one. If I was a genuine operator then no.
 

Albino Boo

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frizzlebyte said:
Blablahb said:
soren7550 said:
I mean, did we really need an article explaining this to us?
Drone pilots are often accused of being dramaqueens when they get psychological problems, and their efforts go unnoticed, so I guess so yes.

In fact, it's been suggested being a drone pilot is actually more psychologically traumatising because you're killing people, sometimes many people. You use a camera to inspect the damage and death you've just done, and then switch back to normal everyday life, whereas other soldiers have the atmosphere of a camp and other soldiers around to share it with. Apparently this had lead to higher rates of psychological problems for UAV pilots.

Got to say that while I'm no psychiatrist, I find it plausible because I experienced the same thing. Watching someone you killed be dead is a lot harder and more impacting than just knowing you did and not seeing it. UAV pilots kill scores of people and have to inspect it closely afterwards, so they get that effect hugely magnafied.
I was just about to post something to the effect of this. I tend to think that much of our war-making techniques ("better," more mechanized combat; all-volunteer armies) have made wars too easy to start, and too easy to keep fighting.

I'm probably one of the few people my age (24) to be willing to consider that all-volunteer armies and large standing armies might not be a good thing.

At least when you enact a draft, you have a large proportion of those draftees who don't want to be there, and that's a good thing, in my opinion.
Err Vietnam cost the US 58,000 dead and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the US just over 6000 dead. If US loses were on the same scale as Vietnam I'm sure there would protests but as it is the the current conflict is not even on the same scale as Vietnam. The IRA killed around 4000 people in the UK and the UK has lost 700 in the current wars. These wars are small scale, low intensity operations compared to what the many nations have lived through in recent history.


The reasons why causalities have even reach the numbers we are talking about is because its an infantry war. The number of tanks and armoured vehicles involved is low. The majority of causalities are due to infantry combat or road side bombs. Massed attacks of 100s tanks are of little effect in this kind of war.
 

iblis666

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Frission said:
Myrmecodon said:
If anything, the pilot is more likely to make bad split-second decisions because he's high on adrenaline and testosterone from going as fast as the plane. Also, pilots are hard to replace in the thick of combat, so they don't get criticized as often.

What drone pilots need is more levity, not less.

Good Guys/Bad Guys is a child's notion. You should have lost that concept by the time you reach adulthood, which I'm guessing these "pilots" are supposed to be. These "Bad Guys" are often just good guys born on the wrong side of an imaginary line drawn on a map.
A line is an imaginary construct. A jurisdiction, a territory, and a cause that motivates people to fight is anything but.

How anyone can label "Bad Guys" all these women and children we keep "accidentally" killing just because we thought the firewood they were carrying were guns is beyond me.
They would not spare our own women and children if they had the chance. Most likely the woman would be made prostitutes and the children made slaves, and both converted to Islam on pain of death. Their women might even volunteer to perform clitoridectimies on ours, and their children offer to introduce ours to the joys of anal rape as a form of social domination [http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/08/1-out-of-3-young-iranian-men-gay/#comment-80762](BUT IT'S TOTALLY NOT HOMOSEXUAL UNLESS YOU'RE THE ONE UNDERNEATH.) Or just sell them to some tribe of goat herders to be a 'dancing boy' for the various old men in need of release.

Should any be spared in a war you're serious about fighting? Are those who do the 'dirty work' of actual fighting and killing somehow less valuable than those who are arguably being cowardly non-aligned with their countries' interests?

Should we be all po-faced about it, intoning EVERYTHING WE DO IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW when we really should be saying "Yeah, I killed those sorry sons of bitches who were carrying wood for the guys who killed my bros, and I'd do it again if I had to!"
That's an animalistic viewpoint, you know that?

What a great world view you have.

I can now understand how some people can rationalize the incessant killing and "collateral damage" done in the wars. The war for Iraq and Afghanistan was a country building mission, but I suppose it was doomed to fail to fail when you have U.S soldiers who went thinking "let's kill everyone brown".

I doubt it will happen, but I hope some people involved in these wars are incarcerated fro war crimes. The U.S messes everything up and the N.G.O's have to clean everything up.

We still had to clean up messes in Vietnam, a war which was pointless and was entirely the fault of the U.S. Don't be so proud, of the horrible things that may happen or which were done.

OP: That's great news. I already knew that though. Although the rate of non-militants killed by drone attacks still makes me doubt some of the pilots.
god please never bring up country building, its a failed war concept when even a small fraction of the population hates you. As for wars fought in general the only necessary wars the US has fought recently were WWII and Afghanistan and we screwed up in Afghanistan when we decided to set up a new puppet government. The best way to deal with war is to have your military do what its good at by completing its assigned destructive objectives. After they pull out let who ever wants to help them help like the UN, maybe even fund them but dont have an army that was responsible for the destruction stay to fix things.
 

Elementary - Dear Watson

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Credossuck said:
Lol.
Not sure if RAF is trolling or just epicly stupid.
The RAF has to face these accusations on a daily basis... we get stupid letters from the public, a lot who beleive that drones fly themselves, and kill people autonimously... yes... that level of stupid!
So justifying this is just a normal part of media info-ops, and settling the minor points with the public who may not understand how these things work...

Like a lot of people on this site who seem to beleive that the pilot makes the decision to kill a target...
 
Aug 25, 2009
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soren7550 said:
I'm surprised that no one posted this yet:

I mean, did we really need an article explaining this to us?
If you've seen some of the comments British people make about unmanned drones?

Yes, yes we did. Unfortunately they did this article in the Telegraph, where even with its right-wing leanings it won't be read by the sort of people who actually need to be told this.

And the Sun couldn't print it without painting nipples on the pictures of the UAVs
 

Benni88

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draythefingerless said:
Its good that he recognizes the weight of a human life, but there are no bad guys in war. just bad moments.
Nicely put. I have a friend in the RAF and they seem to be a very professional lot. My only concern is for the agendas above the drone pilot. The people who "okay" their actions.
 

weirdee

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it's a great way to get your desktop to look like the inside of a scanner, though

perhaps somebody passing by may attempt to scan a mirror on your monitor

anyway, it's like

do they really think that these guys have less responsibility than other people holding weapons

it'd be like claiming that the people who run the nuke facilities just fire nukes all day for fun
 

MrFalconfly

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draythefingerless said:
Its good that he recognizes the weight of a human life, but there are no bad guys in war. just bad moments.
Well you could argue that combatants that hide amongst the civilian populace (Taliban) and don't discriminate between other combatants and innocent civilians are "bad guys" (most terrorist organizations) regardless of what their holy book says.

But hey that's just me.
 

Legion

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vallorn said:
Okay yes it is my major daily paper but at least its not the Express, Mail or god forbid... The Mirror.
I heard that RAF Drones are the reason for illegal immigrants, the cause of cancer and god forbid... David Cameron's main reason for spending cuts.
 

Thaluikhain

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Syzygy23 said:
Also, last I checked, Japan is not only insane, but has nuclear capabilities to boot. Atomic power and effing gigapudding, that's natures way of saying "don't touch".
Um...what?

Japan does not have nuclear weapons, and neither the Japanese or Chinese leadership are insane enough to start a war.
 

Stu35

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Kuala BangoDango said:
For the life of me I can't understand why we, as Americans, refuse to let other countries have the same rights as we have.
Thats what we, as an ALLIED force (US, Britain, Denmark, Estonia, and a heap of other nations) are trying to do in Afghanistan.

You seem to think we're just using drones to randomly blow up brown people. We're not, we're using them to help secure the freedoms of the people of Afghanistan.

Really simply freedoms you might take for granted, like women going to school, listening to music, not being told what crops to grow in your fields by the government.

All of the above are freedoms that the Taliban, should they retake power, will deny the people of Afghanistan.

They don't want women educated, they have it in for music, and they bully farmers to force them to grow poppy (so they can ultimately get Heroin into western markets), or - when they feel the price of Heroin isn't high enough, they burn all the poppy farms in order to allow prices to rise (as happened in 2001).




In short. "Freedom" is not simply leaving other people to be oppressed.

Just my opinion anyway.



Frission said:
Myrmecodon said:
If anything, the pilot is more likely to make bad split-second decisions because he's high on adrenaline and testosterone from going as fast as the plane. Also, pilots are hard to replace in the thick of combat, so they don't get criticized as often.

What drone pilots need is more levity, not less.

Good Guys/Bad Guys is a child's notion. You should have lost that concept by the time you reach adulthood, which I'm guessing these "pilots" are supposed to be. These "Bad Guys" are often just good guys born on the wrong side of an imaginary line drawn on a map.
A line is an imaginary construct. A jurisdiction, a territory, and a cause that motivates people to fight is anything but.

How anyone can label "Bad Guys" all these women and children we keep "accidentally" killing just because we thought the firewood they were carrying were guns is beyond me.
They would not spare our own women and children if they had the chance. Most likely the woman would be made prostitutes and the children made slaves, and both converted to Islam on pain of death. Their women might even volunteer to perform clitoridectimies on ours, and their children offer to introduce ours to the joys of anal rape as a form of social domination [http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2011/08/1-out-of-3-young-iranian-men-gay/#comment-80762](BUT IT'S TOTALLY NOT HOMOSEXUAL UNLESS YOU'RE THE ONE UNDERNEATH.) Or just sell them to some tribe of goat herders to be a 'dancing boy' for the various old men in need of release.

Should any be spared in a war you're serious about fighting? Are those who do the 'dirty work' of actual fighting and killing somehow less valuable than those who are arguably being cowardly non-aligned with their countries' interests?

Should we be all po-faced about it, intoning EVERYTHING WE DO IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW when we really should be saying "Yeah, I killed those sorry sons of bitches who were carrying wood for the guys who killed my bros, and I'd do it again if I had to!"
That's an animalistic viewpoint, you know that?

What a great world view you have.

I can now understand how some people can rationalize the incessant killing and "collateral damage" done in the wars. The war for Iraq and Afghanistan was a country building mission, but I suppose it was doomed to fail to fail when you have U.S soldiers who went thinking "let's kill everyone brown".

I doubt it will happen, but I hope some people involved in these wars are incarcerated fro war crimes. The U.S messes everything up and the N.G.O's have to clean everything up.

We still had to clean up messes in Vietnam, a war which was pointless and was entirely the fault of the U.S. Don't be so proud, of the horrible things that may happen or which were done.

OP: That's great news. I already knew that though. Although the rate of non-militants killed by drone attacks still makes me doubt some of the pilots.
Okay, you're aware that Pashtun culture, particularly in Helmand, does in fact allow for the anal rape of young boys? That's not some kind of 'animalistic viewpoint', it's a fact - their cultural norm involves anal rape of young boys. It includes the oppression of women.

I do not consider these to be acceptable cultural differences between myself and Pashtuns. Acceptable cultural differences include me eating with a knife and fork, and them with their right hand - that doesn't hurt anyone.

Once again, you seem to think we just go over and indiscriminately kill any brown person. That's really not how it works. You only hear about civilian casualties on the news, you don't hear about the hundreds of Insurgents who are killed or captured after thousands of hours of painstaking research, data gathering, and hundreds of people analysing every single aspect to try and avoid casualties.


Even then, many of the supposed "innocents" who are reported (particuarly in Pakistan), are in fact Insurgents, however the Insurgent propaganda machine tends to be better than ours (in that they have one, wheras our military is forced to be as above board as possible).
 

Albino Boo

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Kargathia said:
Afghanistan: we call it a country, but it really is not. The British took out some small-scale maps and a marker, and declared a good chunk of territory to be henceforth "the country of Afghanistan".
In reality it's populated by dozens of tribes, many of which have nothing more in common than physical proximity, and/or religion. Maybe they share one of the half-dozen or so major languages that is spoken throughout the "country". The situation is roughly comparable to suddenly unilaterally declaring the entirety of Europe a single country.
And yet we keep on trying to stabilise, and consolidate the central government's hold on power - mostly because that's how we think politics should work.

I'd say that makes for an example as to why "jurisdiction", and "territory" are nothing more than an imaginary line, that only exists in the heads of the ones who know and care about it.

As for "cause": if a foreign country invaded yours in order to impose their particular flavour of politics, would you fight them? Even if that'd make you the "bad guys" in the eyes of one of their UAV pilots?

"Good", and "Bad" really are nothing more than the results of judgement passed on actions based on your personal point of view. Considering this to be universal truth is immature to say the least.

This is factually incorrect Kabul has long been a seat of power and stepping stone on the way to northern Indian long before the British arrived on the seen. There has been a Kingdom based on Kabul since the 500s AD. Sometimes this kingdom is overrun by foreign invaders on the way to India but always in the end returns to self rule. The Kingdom is defined by geography, its mountain ranges and deserts form an easily definable border. Only when weakness in in it neighbours or at home have the borders shifted. The Persians sometimes grab the SWs sometimes the Afghans grab the Punjab.
 

Wicky_42

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Elementary - Dear Watson said:
Kuala BangoDango said:
I like the comment "OK, they are bad guys we are killing, but they are still human beings."

Umm, hello. Good Guys/Bad Guys is a child's notion. You should have lost that concept by the time you reach adulthood, which I'm guessing these "pilots" are supposed to be. These "Bad Guys" are often just good guys born on the wrong side of an imaginary line drawn on a map. How anyone can label "Bad Guys" all these women and children we keep "accidentally" killing just because we thought the firewood they were carrying were guns is beyond me.

And the fact that we DO keep having these "accidental" killings is evidence to me that the only "confirmation of targets" we seem to have is that if you have someone, anyone, in your cross-hair then hey, you have a target...go ahead and shoot. Doesn't matter if we know who they actually are or not.

That's why our government has had to redefine the enemy/innocent bystander relationship to where ANYONE that dies from a drone strike is by default an enemy combatant and thus eliminates by default the very notion that there may have been innocent bystanders.

For the life of me I can't understand why we, as Americans, refuse to let other countries have the same rights as we have. If an American is out in the woods with a rifle he's "probably a hunter" and protected by Constitutional rights to bear arms. If someone in the Middle-East is out in the woods with a rifle then "Oh, he must be a bad guy, kill him."

"Oh, it's not a game to us!" Yeah, I'll believe that when I stop seeing news reports of women and children killed while gathering firewood, or entire families lined up on their knees in their own homes at night during a raid and shot in the back of the head, and then photos of our guys with cheerful grins on their faces posing with, and pissing on, dead bodies.

Just my opinion.
We are talking about the RAF, not the USAF here...

We use terms like 'bad guys' when talking in public because its an easy collective for all insurgents, rogue ANSF/ANP/ALP, AQA, TB, HQN, TTP etc that would otherwise confuse matters.

You obviously have no idea about military targeting what so ever... it is a hell of a lot more than 'there is a man with a gun... kill him'. RoE and LOAC mean that the man with the gun has to do something hostile first... and then every measure has to be taken to prevent civilian lives being taken. This is the rules our governments have put for Afghanistan. If a high value target is in a populated area, then risk is weighed, and a decision is made from a very high ranking officer whether the collateral damage is more important than the necessity of incapacitating the target. This decision takes a few hours, and targeteers model every aspect of the attack in order to minimalise the casualty risk. The laws of war do not rule out civilian deaths, as long as the civilians were not knowingly the target.
Perhaps the RAF is better than the USAF at droning, but a recent investigation into the situation in Pakistan revealed that the strikes are targeted by mere pattern analysis, looking for groups of people that *may* be targets in a country that they are not at war with, against a people that has never attacked them. Around 25% of the casualties are civilians, including women and children. Just 2% of the casualties are suspected of being high profile targets.

These drones hover above neighbourhoods for days, terrorising people until they are afraid to go to school, work, to weddings or funerals for fear that some computer program somewhere will find their movements suspicious and lob a missile at them, wait a bit, then lob a missile at anyone trying to aid survivors.

America is now a terrorist nation, at the very least to the ordinary people of Pakistan. They flout international law, arbitrarily slaughter thousands of people and get away with it through shear audacity. Drones and their repercussions are pretty seriously terrifying - if this sort of continuous terrorism was happening in the States... well, things would get pretty hilariously hypocritical pretty freaking fast.

So yeah, sit there telling yourself about all your careful rules of engagement and target selection, but that just further distances yourself from the reality of what is happening when you pick up that control and fly your war machine over a nation that has no quarrel with you.

EDIT: source [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/25/drone-attacks-pakistan-counterproductive-report]