I’d Like To Take a Moment to Talk About the Plight of Drone Veterans.
BY LUKE BURNS
Today I want to talk about how we, as a nation, have failed our heroic drone veterans. I’m here to speak for the drones because they cannot speak for themselves, because they were not built with the hardware or software necessary to simulate speech. We ask the drones to sacrifice so much for this country, and when we’re done with them, we just throw them away. We literally throw them away.
The general public doesn’t realize that drones are not eligible for any of the benefits offered to human veterans. When drone vets come home with bent antennae and chronic engine sputtering, they have to pay for their own repairs. These costs are simply too much to bear, especially considering the high rate of drone veteran unemployment. Maybe if we gave drone vets access to job training programs, we could put them to work carrying out targeted hellfire missile strikes for the private sector. But only human veterans are allowed to take part in retraining programs. As it is, the number of homeless drone veterans is simply shocking. That drone who asked you for change on the subway this morning is probably a veteran.
Let me tell you a story about a drone named RB-347DC21. RB-347DC21 was manufactured in a small town in Arizona, and since the day his components were assembled, he wanted nothing more than to serve his country. That’s all he was programmed to do. RB-347DC21 was only two days from retirement when he suffered a rudder malfunction and was lost in the mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Now RB-347DC21’s wife, a hard-working, patriotic microwave, has to support her children—a travel alarm clock and a table lamp, one of the tiny ones—without any help from the government.
There’s no support network for drones like there is for human veterans. Just try bringing a drone into a VFW hall and see what happens. I did, and people said things like, “Hey, you can’t bring that thing in here. It’s too big, it would break something." These are their fellow veterans!
The general public can be even crueler. My good friend, GL-091YM13, a Mark 4 Annihilation drone, can’t even fly down to his local supermarket without someone coming up and calling him an “unfeeling killing machine.” Well, he may be a machine, and he may have been designed specifically for killing—but unfeeling? Folks need to spend time with the drones. Look deep into their infrared cameras and you’ll understand how affected they are by the things they’ve seen and done in these wars. The data they’ve gathered with their multi-spectral targeting systems is seared into their memory banks. Drone veterans have to live with this information until the day they are decommissioned, or until their hard drives are erased as part of a weekly maintenance routine.
Someday these wars will end, and they’re going to try to make you forget about what drones like RB-347DC21 did for this country. Unless we change things, drones will never be allowed to march—well, hover—in Veterans Day parades. No drone will ever have a Medal of Honor welded to its chassis. There will be no drone memorial to record the alphanumeric designations of our fallen drone heroes. So it’s up to each and every one of us to make sure that the drones are honored. Never forget: what our drones do over there, they do for all of us.
SUGGESTED READSHumor in Uniform
by Tom Nissley (9/8/2000)
An Interview with Karen Kwiatkowski: Part 2 of 2
by James Post (9/22/2004)
In These Deserts: War Stories From Afghanistan: Column 1: The Misunderstanding
by Nathan Bradley (10/5/2010)
RECENTLYThe Old Farmer’s Almanac Predicts “We’re All Fucked” This Winter
by Kimberly Harrington (12/1/2015)
Inside Witnesses: One Crime’s Many Narratives
by Marti Jonjak (12/1/2015)
List: Talking Points for Meeting to Discuss Titles for the Next Now That’s What I Call Music! Album
by Jameson Doris (12/1/2015)
POPULARThe Four Horsemen of Gentrification
by Zain Khalid (11/3/2015)
Monologue: An Extremely Pregnant Woman Has a Few Questions for the Motherhood Maternity Customer Service Desk
by Amy Rolph (8/4/2015)
Monologue: As Your Governor, I Will Protect You From Mass Shooters If They Are Syrian
by Pete Reynolds (11/18/2015)