Drones and PTSD

Drones are used for essentially one purpose – to target and defeat terrorists. Recently, drones have become an extremely high profile topic in the mass media. Drones are unmanned military aircrafts that attack and drop bombs on terrorists and their camps, and they are controlled by pilots who are safe and sound in secluded areas. Many people value these type of attacks, because if there are no pilots on the drones, many pilots’ lives are saved.  In addition, fewer pilots may be needed, making drones an efficient, money saving weapon. On the other hand, many individuals do not appreciate that various drone strikes have hurt civilians who should not be harmed (no matter what their  sex, race, or religion is).

A recent study supporting those who oppose the use of drones has found that drone pilots working from secure locations experience severe mental health problems at the same rate as pilots of manned aircraft in war-torn regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Why are drone pilots suffering from PTSD? Drone pilots watch the live video feeds of bombs and gases that fall to the different regions, and feel as if they are virtually there. Additionally, because drone operators and pilots have to work in reclusive areas under an immense amount of stress, they miss the normal routine of life.

“Remotely piloted aircraft pilots may stare at the same piece of ground for days,” said Jean Lin Otto, an epidemiologist who was a co-author of the study. “They witness the carnage. Manned aircraft pilots don’t do that. They get out of there as soon as possible.”

Drones are a vital part of the American army, and aren’t going anywhere soon. American citizens have to recognize all the hard work and stress the drone pilots are under, and thank them for their dedication and efforts that they go through to help us live peaceful lives at home, under our little bubble of serenity.