Air Force Trains More Drone Pilots than Actual Pilots Now
By design, the so-called War on Terror is never meant to truly end.
Ex-Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta basically condoned a never-ending drone war back in February before he retired:
“I think it depends on the nature of the threat that we’re confronting. We are in a war. We’re in a war on terrorism and we’ve been in that war since 9/11.”
The nature of what we’re confronting is the continual invasion and hunting down of CIA-backed boogeymen in a war so vaguely defined, there will undoubtedly always be more ‘terror’ to fight.
Tendrils of a war that began with the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 have spread into Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and beyond; now the U.S. is building a new drone base in the capital of Niger. Further plans for more are surely underway.
And U.S. Military Command confirmed just today that armed U.S. drones will remain over Afghanistan long after 2014, signaling once again the absence of closure in America’s longest military conflict.
After John Brennan replaced Panetta as CIA Director in March, it was reported that U.S. Air Force Central Command (a decision made with NATO) would no longer bother turning in data on drone strikes in Afghanistan.
So much for the promised transparency. Accountability or informed public debate is clearly impossible under these conditions. The government is going to continue its not-so-covert illegal war and not even report any data on the damage it is dealing out, ensuring that the American people will be left in the dark about what is really going on.
Yet, data or not, it is clear that all things drone are escalating – rapidly.
Today Reuters is reporting on the new “art of war,” emphasizing the drone pilot training facility the U.S. Air Force (USAF) runs out of New Mexico. Not only is ‘drone school’ enrollment up nearly 400 percent since 2009, but now the USAF is training more drone pilots than actual pilots:
“Drone pilots make up less than 10 percent of Air Force pilots, but the service says in recent years it has trained more pilots to fly drones than fighters and bombers combined – 350 drone pilots in fiscal year 2011 compared with a total of 250 fighter and bomber pilots.”
In fact, USAF now has 1280 drone pilots, a figure that has more than quadrupled since 2007, and bases in four states are now used to launch the unmanned aerial vehicles.
As Truthstream has previously reported, even though the Obama Administration has ramped up its illegal and imprecise drone war, the White House cannot even be bothered to attempt explaining how targeting ‘suspected’ people in a preemptive offensive is in any way legal.
The Federal Aviation Administration projects we’ll have 30,000 drones over American skies by 2020, and Congress seems to be A-OK with that. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security just spent another $443 million to buy 14 more predator drones, bringing their on-record fleet total of the unmanned death machines to 24.
Drones are becoming so commonplace in this country that reports like this one, where a Tennessee college sports team is using them to film their practices, are becoming typical trendy page-fillers.
Here at home, the proliferation of drones has become a buzz-worthy trend, while most of the public has simply turned a blind eye to “over there”, desensitized toward the unaccountable death of a few supposed bad guys mixed in with now thousands of innocents including women and children, all rendered by a “pilot” sitting comfortably somewhere inside a stateside base.
It’s pretty clear our government isn’t going to stop. How will the future look as all these unmanned aerial watchers and killers continue to literally and figuratively dehumanize our world?