WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Army and Air Force program to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in combat has had catastrophic results because the drones have killed large numbers of civilians, but have not had significant impact on the scale of terrorist activities, KnowDrones.com Coordinator Nick Mottern told Sputnik.
“The evidence is this program is an absolutely total failure on any level and particularly with respect to reducing violence or terrorism,” Mottern said on Monday. “Now we have to understand that under law, every single person killed by a drone is innocent, because none of them were tried in court.”
“A key factor… is the stress on the drone pilots who do remote control killing, particularly when they go home…. [A]t the same time, they are acting as executioners,” Mottern said.
The US Air Force, he added, has not investigated the effect of the emotional stress on pilots.
On Thursday, a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated that the US Army and Air Force were experiencing a shortage of drone pilots. The report highlighted the need to upgrade training of the military drones' operators as many as one third are insufficiently prepared to carry out their duties.
“The reasons for the drone pilots' shortage include the expanded drone use under President Obama — in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, etc. — beyond 'legitimate' declared wars,” anti-war activist Ed Kinane told Sputnik on Monday.
Kinane explained that drone operator re-enlistment rates are low because of poor working conditions and post-traumatic stress disorder.
He called the drone program “shameless,” and added it “assassinates civilians robotically.”
Kinane called on the US government to abolish the use of lethal drones worldwide.
He also demanded that the US military use them only in legally-declared wars.
Finally, Kinane added that the United States should stop using warrantless drones as a means of surveillance.
On April 23, 2015, the US government announced that its counterterrorist operation against al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan in January accidentally killed US citizen Warren Weinstein and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto. They were held as hostages by the terrorist group.