Something I’ve long wondered a lot about, As Stress Drives Off Drone Operators, Air Force Must Cut Flights.:
What had seemed to be a benefit of the job, the novel way that the crews could fly Predator and Reaper drones via satellite links while living safely in the United States with their families, has created new types of stresses as they constantly shift back and forth between war and family activities and become, in effect, perpetually deployed.
I mention this toward the end of my review of The Burglary, the story of the 1971 antiwar activists, and it’s something I’ve been trying to pull from potential authors as we’ve put together an August Friends Journal issue on war. Much of the day-to-day mechanics of war has changed drastically in the past 40 years — at least for American soldiers.
We have stories like this one from the NYTimes: drone operators in suburban U.S. campuses killing people on the other side of the planet. But soldiers in Baghdad have good cell phone coverage, watch Netflix, and live in air conditioned barracks. The rise of contractors means that most of the grunt work of war — fixing trucks, peeling potatoes — is done by nearly invisible non-soldiers who are living in these war zones. It must be nice to have creature comforts but I’d imagine it could make for new problems psychologically integrating a war zone with normalcy.