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Don’t Turn Drone Operators Into Heroes

Via Salon, Glenn Greenwald on the Pentagon’s effort to build an aura of valor and bravery into postmodern, video game-style warfare in which villagers are blown up like bugs:

The effort to depict drone warfare as some sort of courageous and noble act is intensifying: The Pentagon is considering awarding a Distinguished Warfare Medal to drone pilots who work on military bases often far removed from the battlefield.

So medals would be awarded for sitting safely ensconced in a bunker on U.S. soil and launching bombs with a video joystick at human beings thousands of miles away. Justifying drone warfare requires pretending that the act entails some sort of bravery, so the U.S. military is increasingly taking steps to create the facade of warrior courage for drone pilots:

The Air Force has been working to bridge the divide between these two groups of fliers. First off, drone operators are called pilots, and they wear the same green flight suits as fighter pilots, even though they never get in a plane.

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