Give Drone Jockeys the "Blowback Ribbon"by Will Grigg
Feb. 15, 2013
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They work out of air-conditioned offices in the United States. They do not face enemy fire, and usually go home to their families every night. They operate joysticks, rather than pulling triggers. Yet drone operators insist on being called “combat pilots” – and the Pentagon is devising a combat ribbon to commemorate their service.
The new medal will be the first combat-related award to be created since the Bronze Star was introduced in 1944. It will also be the first commendation of its kind presented to people who were never exposed to personal risk on the battlefield. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claims that the award reflects the “changed ways that wars are fought,” and it recognizes the efforts of drone operators who “remove the enemy from the field of battle, even if those actions are physically removed from the fight.”
Because drone warfare is indiscriminate, it actually creates more enemies than it destroys. Witness the fact that drone attacks on Pakistan have turned nearly the entire population of that country against the United States.
Although the new award is called the Distinguished Warfare Medal, a better name would be the Blowback Ribbon, or the Al-Qaeda Recruitment Medal.