Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, pepinsky.blogspot.com
October 25, 2013
Retired Air Force drone pilot Brandon Bryant was today’s guest for most of the hour on democracynow.org. I have long been curious about the minds and feelings of US drone warriors. I have supposed that they had grown up adept at video games. I could not have asked for a better guide to life as a drone warrior than Brandon Bryant. Like so many strong, reflective, non-defensive extreme trauma survivors who have graced college classes of mine, Brandon’s is the honest, open voice I seek most to hear. Not about drone warriors, but by a drone warrior.
When asked, he straightforwardly describes watching a probably innocent man bleed out through the stump of a leg after his first kill. He believes he was doing what “the American people” wanted him to do. He admits to being haunted “spiritually and mentally” by the thought that he violated the US Constitution; he volunteers that he claims no Nuremburg defense. He volunteers that his openness about his experience have made him an outcast among his peers. He acknowledges that there are some pretty scary guys. He passionately defends the vast majority of his peers for taking their power seriously and personally. He thinks the public should know how honorable his peers are as a group, and of the toll that the job takes. He is plain-spoken and concise. He left Democracy Now! to testify before the UN body inquiring into drone strikes. He is one helluva witness.
Please watch the episode online at your leisure, democracynow.org. love and peace, hal