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Ear to the Ground

Medals for Drone Pilots?

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Posted on Jul 11, 2012
podknox (CC BY 2.0)

The Pentagon is considering awarding distinctions to personnel in air-conditioned rooms who use remote control airplanes to kill people 7,500 miles away.

The push for praise and recognition for drone pilots would support the Pentagon’s efforts to legitimize the government’s controversial use of armed drones. As Salon blogger and former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald writes: “Justifying drone warfare requires pretending that the act entails some sort of bravery, so the U.S. military is increasingly taking steps to create the facade of warrior courage for drone pilots.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

The Washington Post:

[Army Institute of Heraldry chief Charles] Mugno said most combat decorations require “boots on the ground” in a combat zone, but he noted that “emerging technologies” such as drones and cyber combat missions are now handled by troops far removed from combat.

The Pentagon has not formally endorsed the medal, but Mugno’s institute has completed six alternate designs for commission approval.

… The proposed medal would rank between the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Soldier’s Medal for exceptional conduct outside a combat zone.

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