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Killer Drones in the Empire State


Killer Drones in the Empire State

Norman Solomon

At dusk I stood on a residential street with trim lawns and watched planes approach a runaway along the other side of a chain-link fence. Just a few dozen yards away, a JetBlue airliner landed. Then a United plane followed. But the next aircraft looked different. It was a bit smaller and had no markings or taillights. A propeller whirled at the back. And instead of the high-pitched screech of a jet, the sound was more like… a drone.


WAR IS US. Thanks for staying on this.


Hell, it's about time this got some coverage - locally it seems pretty much "under the radar" for our local news organizations - these folks have been demonstrating for years .- the base has been used as a base for drone pilots - long before the drones themselves took off an landed from there .... .

Rather obviously it makes a target for any blowback ffrom the folks getting whacked by them - ..

I have been to a couple of those trials - in the last one, they were acquitted - with one juror on the way out saying "I agree with what you are doing, keep it up"


I am shuddering my way into holding this as one of my big concerns, though for years, since I learned the drones were being operated from out in the US deserts, that it's wrong, in addition to the "collateral damage" over there, in what it does to people who operate those drones by remote control and then go home to their family dinners. The other week I happened on this program on PBS:

It tracks two whistleblowers whose lives were ruined by this madness. It contains captioned recordings of strikes, in which the operators joke about how those, like one whistleblower, doing her job as defined, can tell which of the people in their sights are women and children. They debate how young a child has to be to not be a threat.

It's too hard on our fellow citizens to do this and care, and it's horrifying for them to do it and not care. My only conclusion is that we must. not. do it.


I live near the syracuse airport. The drones have been here for a few years now. It was actually announced in the local news that they would be training controllers at hancock. I see the drones everyone once in while, sometimes with small cesna spotter planes following. Sometimes they fly high and it is difficult to identify them, other times they are just a few hundred feet above and you can clearly make them out.
I see them in the day, but they fly at night also. They have a distinctive propellor sound than the other small planes or helicopters.
My neighborhood didn't have planes flying over us until a while ago they changed the takeoff runways. So when the drones came, they take off and land on the runway facing me. Sometimes I wonder if they are surveilling the ground below, watching me watching them.


That is a very powerful film. I have tried to describe to people, to ask them to put themselves in the place of those who live in constant fear. "Do I dare go to the store?" "Should I take the children, or leave them at home?" "What if they hit the home?" "What if they are playing with sticks in the field out back, will they be killed?"
* "My cousin Mahoud was killed yesterday while planting trees. Do I dare go to his funeral? Several friends have been killed at funerals or weddings."
* Our mosque was hit during prayer and many died or were injured. Why does Allah allow people to be killed in his house?"
* Can you imagine what it would be like to live here and continually hear about drone strikes blowing up cars and killing people, of drones targeting homes at night when people are sleeping?
* How would you feel to know that if you go to the hospital, it may well be bombed, as was the Macy's downtown on Saturday afternoon?
* What would you think if ten or fifteen people in your neighborhood were missing limbs, were disfigured, or were walking with prosthetic limbs, and most of them never saw it coming? Some of them are missing family members from when he/she was hit.
* Many great teachers, of all faiths, have repeated the same message:
* "Do not unto others as you would not have done unto you."
* If we all can develop enough empathy and compassion to put ourselves in the place of just average people in the Middle East, it matters not where, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine or elsewhere, perhaps we will gather enough strength to stop what is being done in our names, mainly for somebody else's power or profit.
* The power to stop it must come from within.


These drone operators are not pilots!! Stop using that term. They are are just computer operators. They are never at any kind of risk except possibly psychological for the murders they commit, or no more than any of the rest of us as we drive to work. They are literally assassins spraying an area with lethal weapons which kill indiscriminately much innocent life while terrorizing those who must constantly live beneath the fear of death from a hunting season that seemingly has no end.


According to the film I cited just upthread, "pilot" is one of several job titles given to spread the feeling of responsibility for these strikes.

My Mother used to tell a story of her bomber-pilot brother (who later retired a full Col., resentful only that he'd been denied the Pentagon posting that would have come with a Gen.'s star) bringing stories of his exploits to the kitchen table after WWII in Europe. As he talked about one frustrating mission, in which they tried again and again to hit a particular factory in Germany, unable to understand why their bombs missed, their other brother paled and broke out in a cold sweat. When someone noticed, they asked Andy, who'd been in the Signal Corps, what was wrong. He verified the date and location, and revealed that his unit had been holed up in that very factory. The story did not include consideration of what happened all around the factory, where Gail's ship's load did fall.