The U.S. drone war is in crisis and not because civilians are dying. Back in the United States, a combination of lower-class status in the military, overwork, and psychological trauma appears to be taking its mental toll on drone pilots.
In the wake of the most recent attack, US drone policy has spiraled downward in a vicious circle that only a marked change in US policy can stop, a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party charges.
News that the Pentagon is considering a special "Distinguished Warfare Medal" for drone pilots tells us much about the American war-making moment. Leaving aside issues of bravery or courage of drone operators, let's consider the name of the medal, with its stress on "distinguished warfare."
Much controversy has surrounded the use of remote-controlled drone aircraft in the war on terror. But another, still more awe-inducing possibility has emerged: taking human beings out of the decision loop altogether.