Burning Rain

Pretty chilling language in this riveting article on the boredom faced by drone operators stationed halfway across the world from their targets:

A lot of military drone operators take issue with the word “drone.” They prefer to call what they fly Remote Piloted Aircraft, or RPAs. The problem is that “drone” implies thoughtless automation, a robot going through the motions, doing what it’s told. While that description may be accurate for the big objects soaring through the skies over Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, or Yemen, the system is far larger than that. It includes human beings who have to think, analyze information, and make decisions.

The operators are right: drones aren’t robots. They’re human-machine hybrids tasked with carrying out military operations. Sometimes those operations entail spying on unsuspecting people as they go about their day, and other times they require staring directly into the rapidly cooling pool of blood forming around some father or toddler who has just been killed by a missile.

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