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'Did We Just Kill A Kid?' — The Six Words That Ended A US Drone Pilot's Career

Bryant was one of them, and he remembers one incident very clearly when a Predator drone was circling in a figure-eight pattern in the sky above Afghanistan, more than 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles) away. There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs, as Bryant recalls. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing… ( Más...

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David Sims 11
Unfortunately good and innocent people are often casualties war. The PC term is collateral damage, but that doesn't change what it is. This should be a reminder that one, we are still at war, and two, that wars should be avoided if at all possible.

I often wonder about the mental effect on these UAV operators. They may fly a mission just like this, then get off work and return home like any other person. This has to present a whole new dynamic to a soldier at war. I know talking to others, getting off the plane when they return home was a difficult transition, imagine doing it every day.
joel wiley 6
Good points- once the mission is over, does 'collateral damage' include the mental effect on the UAV operators and their families?

'Light casualties' are seldom, if ever, light to the casualties.
Peter Steitz 4
Now, now kids, I thought this was an aviation board--not a board where we bash each other's countries. This thread branched out way too far and too quickly off topic for me. Exactly what is the meaning of the topic? Are we to feel badly for the child or the drone pilots? Bad things happen when people fight. Wars have been fought since the dawn of men. Nothing has really changed--just the methods. Sadly, this won't be the last incident to be ashamed of. I hope the pilots get counselling.
Very concerning thought processes from some on here.
W S Webb 3
"For more than five years" That tells me he has been in job way too long. He needs a break. My experience was Viet Nam 68-69 with M-16. I don't care if its a hand weapon to a nuclear weapon. Continue action robs you of your life. Poor management.
bbabis 6
War is hell. Ever heard that? There is no way to make it smell like a rose. All we can do is our best and always try to get better. We are doing that. We are a far cry from tons of unguided bombs falling down on schools and hospitals in an effort to get a factory. Today our enemies knowingly use women and children as shields because they know how hard we try to avoid killing the innocent. Once again, we do our best but there will be loss of innocent life. Pray for all involved.
Dave Mathes -2
uh, yea.....what "war" are you talking about?
JetMech24 2
Uh, yea...WWII.
Casey Duke 5
Without sounding like a pacifist, let's just get the heck out of those third world S#!T holes. Does anyone expect those places to look any different 24 hours after the last soldier leaves, than they did 24 hours before they got there? Face it, if you are stuck in the 4th century, no amount of "peace buidling" will sway you to a democratic way of thinking. Presuming a democratic way is best for them may not be practical or achievable.
thomkurt 2
This account leaves much to speculation. We do not know how the intended target became a target. Had he just fired on a passing convoy and fled to his home or were his past activities the cause? Was the strike executed in haste while supporting troops under fire or was it after hours of careful observation? We don't know why the child came to be in the line of fire, but what doesn't change is that a young life was cut short. No one intended for it to happen and to justify it in any way is disgusting and unnecessary. That child played games like any other kids in the world and probably with a lot less. All parties involved would change the outcome if they could, of that I am sure.

One other thing.... The reason snipers have always been greatly feared is the patience, precision and discrimination in which they are able to strike the enemy. RPA's are the aircraft equivalent.
bill Hanley 2
Welcome to the ugly, nasty part of waging war. This is what is not shown on TV into the living rooms of America. It really started back in Vietnam with the sanitized version beamed into homes. I suppose no one side can be called the villain in this. But it is the reason people want ALL bloodshed ended. Civilian casualties always outnumber military casualties exponentially. For all involved.
Casey Duke 2
We could achieve anything we desired if we could only remove the media element. ROE would be based on tactical and strategic objectives and not media biased opinions. If we accept an arguement that our way is the best way (and I am not necessarily promoting "our way"), than an all out results based campaign should be waged and not a "touchy feely let's not hurt anyone's feelings before we prematurely depart the area of operation precluding doing any more damage without actually achieving any appreciable victory, all the while continuing to kill them" approach. I still stand by a "lets worry less about those who would see every American (infidel) parrish in flames" and worry more about our own failing domestic policies. BTW, As the world didn't end, looks like I can't put off the NY resolutions any longer.
Jason Feldman 1
Touchy feely-

I never understood why we should try to not offend the people we kill.

I'm not saying we should or should not kill - I'm strictly making a statement about offending our enemy.

I'm torn regarding war
1. I love my nation
2. I want to protect it
3. I want to avenge those killed on 911
4. I want to stop it from ever happening again
5. I realize we have real enemies that can't be reasoned with or bargained with
6. I love the military - the planes are beautiful


I wish there were no more wars
I wish people could get along
I would love to not even need a military

But there is no way to make my wishes come true. Our enemies want to kill us. War cannot ever be clean. I understand that civilians will get hurt or killed especially when our enemy cowardly as they are hide behind human shields


So we must not allow our rules of engagement to dictate how we wage war. Only by making war so disgusting can future wars be avoided. When the good people of a village report or stop terrorists from attacking us because they fear the retaliation. Only then can we really achieve peace. Peace through strength.

Maybe if we leveled cities again we can have peace. Only then will fear stop future attacks. After such pummeling Germany and japan never shot a gun in anger against us. And now we can either live and let live or be friends. If we dilly dallied with them too - we may still be fighting.

In many ways - being more gruesome and deadly may save lives. God help is
I wholeheartedly agree. My war was Viet Nam. “Rules of Engagement” My directions to my people were, “If there is incoming, I want it to stop! I don’t want any heroes, I want everyone here for tomorrows muster, BUT, I want it to stop!
mike truman 3
some people can snipe some people can't im glad some can
ReddogKS 2
Those of you who have not experienced the horrific task of being a war fighter and sit there and criticize, buzz off. And if you think that these things happen without serious emotional regrets then you are again badly mistaken. I tell you, when you're starring down the barrel of a weapon aimed at you by someone that you just encounter in a firefight, you don't question if he deserves what you might unleash on him or if not you, your fellow mates. And I guarantee, you don't ask to see a certificate of proof of age. And you foreigners, stay out of it.
Jason Feldman 1
Most importantly - Thank you for your service, I always support our troops, always

BUT: The act of war itself is necessary from time to time, to preserve our way of life, freedom and survival

Just because I always treat vets with extreme respect for all they went through - I don't always agree with the war itself. People who haven't been in combat do have the right to discuss war.. You kind of made it sound like those who haven't been fired at shouldn't have an opinion. obviously that is not the case- maybe I misunderstood your comment

My problem: This new "commute to war, sit in computer control center, drop bombs and go home to play with your golden retriever and have a few beers - COUNTING ON THE GOVERNMENT TO SAY, OH YEAH, HES A BAD GUY, DROP BOMB HERE - I have a problem with.

I don't want to see ANY of our troops put in harms way - and yes we should use any and all tactical advantages as possible, but when you don't see for yourself what is going on, and the government says drop bomb here, kill these people there - its getting a little too..... god, I don't even know how to describe it.

Whats to say it isn't abused by some war mongering sadist - authorizing the attack. Or, where is the line that should not be crossed. If its not defined, how do you ensure not crossing that line.

The reason I am posting without fully knowing what I am feeling is in hopes others may brainstorm and I can learn a few things. There were instances where MIL INTEL said - go here, sweep and clear, and when you arrived it was a village without a single weapon (vietnam). Things like that happen.

Again - not an attack on you, Im just a little weirded out about how we are now projecting deadly power anywhere around the world at the push of a button. ...

We know that drones are now patrolling American cities.. and we all know the oath to protect the US from all enemies foreign and domestic. Id hate to see this tech used against enemies of the US living in the US - just because they have an alternate political view - or some other perversion of this weapons system.

Im sure there are more often than not - fully clear, no question - this is a really bad guy, kill him. But unlike your situation where you came face to face with you enemy - these guys never saw it coming, never had a chance to be ID'ed in person before pulling the trigger -

its both a terrific and horrific weapon system
TWA55 1
If you are going to fight a war then expect this kind of thing...don't punish those who w/out malice inflict death in a war on the "innocent" especially when you are not the one willing to do the dirty work yourself.
War is Hell but functional. It does have purpose. Innocent people have been caught in the crosshairs as far back as history can record. Do you think that other countries would try to prevent this same thing from taking place if the war was on our soil? Thank again! Every citizen of this Country should be fighting against any form of gun control because this is the very reason that the United States has not been invaded and I assure you that when our guns are gone we will have every nation that we have fought against will band together and take this country. I hate the fact that Mr. Bryant is a casualty of his job. I also ask that everyone support him and reassure him that he was following orders and I appreciate the job that he performed while on duty with our military. As for the media, Let's back up. I never see the media reporting on the good things that do take place as a result of war. I cannot think of any news agency that supports our men and women in uniform. The media is our worst enemy and the United States is still the greatest Nation. Remember this! This nation will never come together like it did during the great wars. Whats gonna happen when your president sells you out to all of the nations that do not like the United States. I am truly sincere when I say that the loss of school children and teachers should have never happened. We have lost more children in this country because of a U.S. Citizen with a serious personality disorder and we are not at war with anyone on this soil. Being a soldier is a difficult thing and do not question the soldier if you have not been in his shoes. Quit complaining and support your country and those that defend it. Remember those that founded this country and the principals that is was founded on. Remember GOD ???? Do Ya!!!!!
smoki 0
This article was a lot of B.S. designed to elicit sympathy and crocodile tears for someone, the Bryant kid, who obviously was too young and didn't have the stomach for combat who probably should have been monitored more closely and replaced much earlier. I give more credit to the pregnant female who toughed it out and carried on. The kind of people needed for this kind of duty are not kids who are proficient video game players but people with nerves of steel like Carlos Hathcock, the legendary Marine Sniper in Vietnam who did not hesitate to pull the trigger when he had the opportunity to take the shot after days of stalking his prey even when his prey was another sniper who was stalking him.

Collateral damage when high explosive warheads are used is unavoidable despite best efforts to satisfy all the rules of engagement. The only part of this story that was regrettable was not being able to warn the friendlies about the presence of the IED they ultimately traversed. What is equally disturbing and regrettable was not being able to provide help to the SEALS and other embassy staff personnel under enemy fire in Benghazi who pleaded hours for it only to be slaughtered and for all intents and purposes ignored and forgotten by the ONE directly responsible. I suppose the decision to help them was "above his paygrade."
Matthew Unger 0
There are plenty more to take his place. In the Army, MOS 15W (UAV operator) is a highly sought after job. School slots are booked for the next two years. Army 15Ws also get flight pay for doing this job.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Toby Sharp 12
come on Phil....still an innocent kid....they could be saying that over the recent news of last Firday........

[This poster has been suspended.]

Chris Donawho -6
Ah here we go. Phil sounds like Hitler to all the baby huggers in here. Phil is absolutely right on. Those kids, unless Toby decides to adopt them and move them to Happytown, USA, are friggin terrorists in training. Unfortunate, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. And Toby, I imagine "they" ARE saying that over the recent news of last Friday. These people do not care who dies, as long as it's American, it's a victory for them.
Godwin's Law
linbb 0
Do some think that the pukes inside the shack cared about there kids or anyone else that might be affected by there actions? Hell no its too bad there were anyone else involved but the adults that chose to be killers of others. Those kill without reguard of who or what else gets blown up or shot by them so what is the point of the ones who say poor kid? Those men that are ours are being killed every day by the ones inside the shack and who says to our peoples familys gee we are so sorry that your children wont have a father. If the pukes didnt shoot and blow stuff up then we wouldnt kill them.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Dave Mathes 3
...a painful loop, isn't it...let's collect our chips, our troops, pack our ego into a box that's happily lit and call it a day...
Chris Donawho 2
Keep taking it back.... The next step backwards in this is 9/11. We can play this take it back another step until the cows come home. Hate is at the forefront of this. The "poor kid" would have been taught to hate Americans. Not because his dad just got blown to hell by us, but because the Taliban would have raised him to have unconditional hatred towards everything that is not in line with their Muslim Extremist position.
Toby Sharp 3
everyone is completely innocent up until some point of their life
joel wiley -3
And "original sin"?
Isia Maria 3
You believe that this all started on 9/11? Seriously?
Jason Feldman 1
On 9/11 we had no troops in Afghanistan Iraq - after 9/11 we did. So yeah - I do think that this war was started by a deep hatred for the west. And let's not BS ourselves - the US is not the only place effected by Islamic extremism. All of Europe is dealing with Islam - sleepy countries like holland have been attacked from within - was holland also at fault against the innocent Islamist extremists? Why is it the only people that are innocent are those who terrorise - you have such a bleeding heart for this kid who died - but not for the 3000 who died - all civilian - not one was killing a single person - not one was burning Koran - or doing anything to anyone. Since the enemy is embedded in civilian populations we have to root out the bad elements, house bu house to ensure it never happens again. What do you want us to do? Did you want is to get attacked and do nothing? Or maybe stop eating McDonald's and apologize for making them kill our civilians? Should we let people who had a part of the attack go unpunished - and risk another attack? I've got a deal for you - get these Islamist extremists to fight like men - not cowards using women and children as human shields - and we will promise to not hurt another innocent kid. But we cannot let murders go without being stopped or punishished. Do you really think there is a conspiracy? Ate you one of those who think 911 was an inside job? I can't understand your position - clarify it for me - show me where I am wrong - sorry - where WE as a nation are wrong in stopping people who attacked us first.
Trouble is Boyd you would kill them regardless, history has proved that. If you can steal something from them you Americans kill them.
bbabis 4
Whoa Colin. Someone has been studying their revisionist history. I put your age at about 15. Please do not post again in your ignorance and obvious disdain of an America that throughout history has only promoted freedom and self rule with the sacrifice of our military men and women.
Isia Maria 2
not to further derail what is actually an insightful article but...

Because yes, the Brits, the French, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Chinese and various other nations and nationalities all have such stellar records when it comes to pillaging, resource grabbing, and conquering within only the last 150 years...

I guess there was no war before Americans came along!
Hey Phil if you Yanks didn't behave as obnoxiously as you do by raping and pillaging other nations for your own economic "benefit" and of no benefit at all to those you bully, there would not be those who wish to terrorise you. Your stupid choice of George Bush - both senior and junior, has to be the worst decision any country has ever made, especially in foreign relations.
Get out and do some real work and earn your living without stealing that of others less fortunate than yourselves and you will get friends not enemies.
They are innocent kids until hurt - usually by Yanks...
joel wiley 4
Colin, if you want to refer to us Americans as Yanks, do you mind if we refer to you and your UK countryfolk as Tommys aka Tommy Atkins? As for the selection of the president Molly Ivans referred to as 'the shrub', the 2000 election was extremely close and was only decided by the US Supreme Court decision to terminate the vote recount in the State of Florida and declare Bush the winner on a 5-4 decision.

As for that being the worst decision 'any country has ever made', may I respectfully request you compare and contrast that with the German Endloesung. If you still maintain your assertion, we will have to agree to disagree.
ReddogKS 2
I'm just going to say this in a way that I believe you will understand. _ _ _ _ off, Colin.


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