Tags: Military Suicides

This is What Really Happens in the Drone Program from an Insider

Over the weekend, Heather Linebaugh wrote a powerful Op-ed in The Guardian newspaper lamenting the lack of public understanding regarding the American drone program. Heather should know what she’s talking about, she served in the United Stated Air Force from 2009 until March 2012. She worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program during the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here are some key excerpts from her article:

Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I’d start with: “How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?” And: “How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” Or even more pointedly: “How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?”

Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.

I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from the mosque.

What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?” I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.

Moreover, the many civilians being incinerated without a trial are not the only victims here. So are the actual drone operators themselves, many of whom end up committing suicide. Recall my article from December 2012: Meet Brandon Bryant: The Drone Operator Who Quit After Killing a Child. Of course, our so-called political “leaders” never get their hands dirty, other than to take a lobbyist bribe that is. Now more from Heather:

Read the Full Article »

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Anti-Suicide Nasal Spray Coming to Keep Troops From Killing Themselves

This story, as much as any I have read, perfectly demonstrates the mindset of the elite power structure in the United States.  Faced with the highest number of suicides ever in the military do they try to figure out why?  No.  Of course, it can’t have anything to do with the fact that these troops are merely fighting for corporate interests and the petrodollar.  No, couldn’t be that.  It couldn’t be the fact that they see the government implementing a police state back home for their friends and relatives while they fight for “freedom” abroad.  It couldn’t be the fact that more and more military personnel realize the whole “war on terror” is a fraud and that the elites think of American citizens as the real terrorists.

No, it couldn’t be any of that.  So what is their brilliant solution to the suicide problem?  Figure out a method of delivering a hormone that will make people mentally and emotionally unable to recognize their abuse at the hands of their own government.  First, let’s look at the problem.  From The Daily:

Suicide among American troops has increased steadily since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In July, the number of suicides among active-duty soldiers reached 26 — more than double the number in June and the highest for any month since the Army began keeping such statistics.

The Pentagon reported in June that suicides among soldiers have averaged one per day this year, an 18 percent increase in suicides during the same period last year, and have now surpassed the rate of combat fatalities.

Now enter the solution: Thyrotropin-releasing hormone, or TRH.

From The Army Times:
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana University School of Medicine scientist has been awarded $3 million to develop a nasal spray intended to combat suicidal thoughts among soldiers.

IU said TRH is known to have antidepressant and anti-suicidal effects, but it isn’t suitable for injection or oral use. So Kubek and other scientists at Purdue and at Hebrew University in Jerusalem are developing a nasal spray designed to deliver appropriate doses of the drug to the brain over time.

The project is part of a national effort designed to combat suicides in the nation’s military.

Guess what will happen next.  Yep, you guessed it.  When the suicides migrate here to our shores and increasingly affect the civilian class, which they invariably will, what do you thing the solution will be?  Grow the economy?  Nope, give a serf some nasal spray!

We are better than this.

In Liberty,
Mike