Mohammed Loses a Buddy, gets PTSD

According to a new Pentagon study, drone operators suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome at the same rate as real soldiers who fight in, you know, combat.

16 thoughts on “Mohammed Loses a Buddy, gets PTSD

  1. @ olegna78 –
    1) I merely quoted your previous statements and called attention to the fact that you are in error, using your own words in doing so. For example, “We all support the war….”
    2) When *falco* posted “We” DO NOT “all support the war,” you countered with: “If you pay taxes you support the war.”
    3) In response to *SteveB* [same post], you said: “If I don’t like the war, I can move to another country….”
    4) So, in rebutting your responses to those two members, I have effectively proven that your original statement is a falsehood and that *falco* is indeed correct.
    5) When you posted to me, with the suggestion that I am not a U.S. Citizen, my response was that indeed I am and therefore should *NOT* be categorized as a supporter of the war[s].
    6) Now you hem and haw and pretend that your conclusion was “… about american [sic] taxpayers….” when the reality is that your original claim said “We all support the war….” and did not specify any such distinction.
    7) Additionally, you would like for me to be “pissed off” when I’m not. I’m merely amazed at your ignorance and your efforts to justify an idiotic statement. (I can only get “pissed off” at folks with a higher intelligence than that which you’ve displayed.)

  2. @derlehrer

    Why are you begging me to apply a statement about american taxpayers to people who aren’t?

    It kinda seems like you are looking for a reason to be pissed off.

  3. @ olegna78 –
    Please tell me you really aren’t as dense as your last post suggests. I most definitely *AM* an American citizen, expatriated to Mexico. (Didn’t one of your previous posts suggest leaving the country? That’s why I posted mine, which proves the fallacy of your other one claiming “We all support the war ….” I’m saying that’s untrue, at least as it applies to me, Bonehead.)

  4. If I were saying everyone in the world supports the war, that would indeed be a falsehood.

    Being an american talking about an american war, you can probably assume I am talking about americans, if I did not say so already.

  5. @ olegna78 –
    1) “If you pay taxes you support the war.”
    2) “If I don’t like the war, I can move to another country….”
    ******
    1) I do not pay [U.S.] taxes.
    2) I moved to Mexico in September of 2006.
    Therefore, I claim that your claim that “We all support the war….” is a falsehood. Personally, I do *NOT*!

  6. @falco
    >“We” DO NOT “all support the war.”

    If you pay taxes you support the war.

    @steve
    >Even if, as several of you assert, the civilian believes that he/she shares in the culpability by paying taxes and supporting the war effort in that way, that is still a huge distance from pushing the button that turns a group of tribal elders into meat

    Who has more agency with regards to how their time and money is spent? If I don’t like the war, I can move to another country, I can work for cash only, I can go off the grid. In effect, we all have the right to go AWOL without any life-ruining repercussions. In addition, I could divulge all I know about the war from the sources I have to everyone I know. I can post these facts to the internet, and there are legal protections (still?). If an enlisted individual did the same, he would face a fate we are all familiar with from the case of Bradley Manning. Torture, solitary confinement, military justice*.

    No. I reject that the guy pressing the button has more culpability than I do. But we both see that there is a psychological discrepancy here, and that is what I am trying to chip away at.

    If you pay taxes and vote, you *actually have* culpability. Documentable culpability, in fact. If you happen to believe this fact, it should cause trauma, and if it does not, perhaps you don’t really believe it yet. I’m not prepared to go into the whole “well, a taxpayers contribution is not really that much…you can’t stop the system…no one really has agency blah blah blah” because its reverts to a sort of “how it is is how it should be” positivist acceptance which precludes useful counterfactual and creative thinking about the problem.

    >But does this mean we should rewrite the history books to describe these characters as victims of the Holocaust? Of course not. First of all, any psychological damage they may have suffered was absolutely meaningless in scale next to the severity of the harm they inflicted upon their victims.

    But their victims weren’t humans. Science said so. Also, what about getting the job done. What about your career?

    As Albert Speer points out, his actions continued to be governed by imperatives of efficiency, and faithfully executing his duty, of getting the job done well, of making the grade, while his regard for those suffering never went beyond mere sentimentality.

    The crime of the Nazi’s happened well before the levers were pulled, and the capsules dropped. The crime was a misplaced faith in science and authority with its roots in the enlightenment and its flip-side, protestantism. If we veer off into the simplicity of assigning blame to people who were mere instruments of a larger, more daunting problem, we achieve yet another level of culpability since it shows we have little interest in getting at the kernel of the problem in a way which might have a chance of making a recurrence less likely.

  7. Additional thought: I think the notion you guys are (correctly) rejecting is the “drone pilots as victims” narrative. I absolutely believe that drone pilots likely do suffer from the effects of PTSD, but, to take this argument to its logical extreme, I believe that the SS overseers at Auschwitz also likely suffered PTSD and other severe psychological damages as a result of their participation in the Holocaust. Seriously, have you ever read the diaries of some of those people? During their first week, they’d be describing the things they were seeing as a nightmare ripped out of Dante’s Inferno, but by their second week, they’d be dispassionately listing the vivisection experiments they’d performed that day.

    But does this mean we should rewrite the history books to describe these characters as victims of the Holocaust? Of course not. First of all, any psychological damage they may have suffered was absolutely meaningless in scale next to the severity of the harm they inflicted upon their victims. And also, these men and women were morally obligated to, at an absolute minimum, refuse to participate in the atrocities that they witnessed; if they suffered psychologically for their moral failure to refuse to obey their orders, that suffering does not entitle them to “victim” status. They suffered as the result of their own choices.

    And so it is with drone pilots, or even soldiers on the ground. PTSD does not reduce culpability, and it isn’t even worth talking about when compared to the magnitude of the suffering these men and women are inflicting on others.

  8. I’m not a “resident conservative,” and I think the implications of our increasingly advanced drone warfare programs are horrifying, but the idea that a drone pilot wouldn’t suffer more trauma than a random civilian looking at photographs or video footage of the war is silly. A civilian looking at war footage is a passive observer. Even if, as several of you assert, the civilian believes that he/she shares in the culpability by paying taxes and supporting the war effort in that way, that is still a huge distance from pushing the button that turns a group of tribal elders into meat that people carry away in garbage bags (psychologically speaking, at least); the fact that most of you believe that the drone pilots are particularly despicable human beings for performing their assigned duties belies this fact.

    I wouldn’t doubt that piloting a drone is a psychologically disturbing experience for decent human beings. That said, we should all be disturbed by the Pentagon’s research in this area, because I have no doubt that it will ultimately be used to justify designing drones with increasing amounts of machine autonomy, reducing human interaction with war (on our side) even further still. We are honestly only decades away from the day when we’ll be capable of fighting wars with armies of semi-autonomous aerial and ground drones, directed by a minimal number of slovenly human overseers and maybe a handful of actual soldiers on the ground.

    Now that DARPA’s self-driving car challenges have had to become increasingly complex to even challenge their entrants, their next big contest is going to revolve around programming humanoid robots (some of which will be provided by Boston Dynamics, who you may recognize as the company that produced the eerily lifelike BigDog quadruped) to drive vehicles, and then get out of those vehicles at different stations to perform assigned tasks. 20-30 years from now (at most), there will be semi-autonomous, bipedal military androids with firearms ready for field deployment.

    Seriously, however horrifying you think things are already, we’ve only just begun traveling down this road. Worse, not only do we lack the political will to prevent this future, but even in the event of the catastrophic economic collapse of the United States, whatever new power fills the void we leave will simply pick up where we left off. The future is horrifying.

  9. @aaron

    Antiwar people and other taxpaying citizens who understand the full situation in context have more agency in the situation than soldiers, who are subject to the terms of military justice, and who have a compromised worldview through no fault of their own, made all the more pronounced and forgivable by their age. We all support the war, some of us just have more say in our support than others. As I said before, we know the carnage as well. The videos are out there, and I have seen them. So what is going on here. Is the antiwar movement less in-touch with the unacceptability of war than the soldiers who are implementing it?

  10. Ah, yes, the innocent, mere 20-year-olds “just taking orders” from their war criminal superiors.

    What’s next, a lecture on “personal responsibility”?

  11. Hate the Generals, if you must; hate the policy, if you like; but to hate the soldiers–a la spitting on returning Vietnam vets–methinks will prove counterproductive.

    Drone pilots are what, 20 year old kids? They see the people that they kill. They see their body parts fly up into the air. Reason enough for PTSD.

  12. I love this. Hopefully the generals and the president and the taxpayers all start getting PTSD as well.

    But in all seriousness, and I expect the resident conservatives to weight in here, why should he have any more PTS than anyone who pays taxes and has seen footage or photos from the front?

    In other news, Did you know? We are officially allies with Al Qaeda again!
    The same day Obama issued a statement telling Assad to step down, Al Qaeda landed some heavy casualties on Syrian forces.

    The thought of people at the state department looking over Al Qaeda transcripts and deciding which attacks to allow and which stop makes me all fuzzy inside.

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