I’m An Air Force Pilot..

2017-12-26_13-05-29.pngI want to make it clear up front that I personally am not an Air Force Pilot. 🙂  I heard this simple phrase on a show I was watching a few minutes ago and realized that that description will come to mean something very different in the next few years.

The technology involved in our warplanes has simply outgrown the human interface sitting in them.  When air-to-air combat happens now the pilots of the two planes never actually see each other. Instead, a computer lock on to the target and all the pilot does is push a button.  Computer-guided bombs are delivered the same way. There is really no need for a human in the cockpit anymore.

In fact, the pilot is more of a liability than an asset now.  I have heard it said that half the cost our military jets is to protect the pilot. When we remove him/her planes could almost be built as expendable crafts. The use of drones is taking over on an exponential basis now.  Very soon, when someone says “I am an Air Force pilot” it will mean that he sits in a darkened room with a joystick and large monitors.

2017-12-26_13-07-25.pngTaking this to the next level, and I certainly do that don’t I, why don’t we just let our machines go to war instead of sacrificing human lives.  If your machines destroy mine then you won the war.  That’s kind of like one of my favorite techie shows on now called “Battle Bots”. All the wars in my lifetime have proven to be a total waste of humanity and resources.  Every enemy we have had are now are friends.

If we must go to war then let’s do it with our machines and not put young lives at risk…

9 thoughts on “I’m An Air Force Pilot..

  1. Sure. And then when the US looses the war we are going to just sit back and let Russia (as an example) come in and take over the country?

    I guess if you don’t think what we believe in is worth dying for then this is a fine plan. And if it’s not then why bother with war at all. What are we protecting?

    I’m sure “battle bots” would take on a very different feeling if the winners got to own the losers.

    I’m not in favor of but it’s not about “bragging rights”. It about taking territory and imposing a way of life.


    1. I am getting weary of your comments here Bob. It seems you are in the attack mode more than anything else. I don’t see where your comments here have much to do with the post they are attached to?

      If you think war is the answer to our seemingly endless fears that opinion certainly is your right. I just make the point that hundreds of thousands of our young men and women died as a result of our Korean and Vietnam wars and even though we lost one and stalemated in another nothing changed. The “bad guys” didn’t take over the world as we feared. It seems going to war is just too easy for the hawks among us. Is a “just war” needed sometimes? Yes but only as a last resort. The last “Just” war was WWII where invading armies had to be stopped. The rest were for the most part civil wars we injected ourselves into.

      We need to quit jumping into every conflict we find in the world to force our solutions onto them. Regardless of what many think, we don’t have the answers to everything. Our Middle East wars are the perfect example of that.


      1. RJ-
        My apologies for the tone of the comments. I guess I was not paying sufficient attention to the “attack mode” tone of the emails. It was not my intent to attack. I was just being lazy with this one – a quick reply without taking the time to do it properly. I also have to stop using my phone for comments makes me want to be too brief.

        As an engineer I tend to look at a suggestion such as this one, as good as it looks, and think “how would you implement this”? It may be an excellent idea, but I can’t see how it would ever work. Maybe you see a way and it would be interesting to pursue that line of thought. My intent of the reply was to pose some provocative questions as a means to further discussion – not as an attack. Sorry I came across in an attack mode. Promise to do better in future comments.

        I was commenting on the idea of having a drone war vs a bloody war, Which seemed to be the very focus of your post. Actually the last line was “lf we must go to war then let’s do it with our machines and not put young lives at risk…” This is how my original comments were related to the post they were attached to. [I also just noticed I left out the word “war” in the last line of my post “I’m not in favor of war but…” so maybe that lead to some confusion]

        Let me try again…

        I totally agree with you with regard to war and do not think that war (armed conflict) is necessarily the answer to anything (except as you noted about WWII). I lost several high school buddies to Vietnam and I have been to the memorial and done my grieving. War is a waste. To me war is a failure to take the time and effort to come to a reasonable negotiated solution to a problem. But if you can’t it may be unavoidable as in WWII. But let’s make it a last, last resort vs almost a first response.

        Partly where my comments come from is here: One of my most memorable (original) Star Trek episodes was where the Enterprise accidentally got “destroyed’ in a “computer waged war”. This war had been raging for many, many years. If you were computed to have been “killed” you had to report to a dematerialization station to be counted and really killed. Kirk refused to play and destroyed the killing station. He was told “now you have done it, if we can’t report the kills quickly enough the other side will actually attack us and there will be death and destruction for real”, Kirk replied “that is what war does, and it is why we avoid it if at all possible”. He said more than that, but this was the essence.

        My take away was that if you “sanitize war” it will never stop. Nobody will ever “sue for peace”. Perhaps not the best analogy of what you propose but I think worth considering what would happen if you made war “sanitary”. The rest of my comments have to do dealing with a “sanitary” war aka “drone war”. I am using “drone war” here as a shortcut to mean “war between entities using only machines and does not allow loss of human life”

        It seems to me that waging war either with machines or people is still war. And war arises in many (most) cases where the conflict resolution negotiations requires one side to win and the other to lose. And the “loser” side refuses or is incapable of coming to peaceful terms. It seems to me the real goal is not to sanitize war but to avoid the situation where any war is required.

        At this point a “war” is needed to settle the issue and the new rules of war require a drone war. A bloodless war would require a significant amount of negotiations to develop the specific “rules of drone war”. As the point of the drone war is to prevent loss of human life, even combatants. there would have to be some strict rules and consequences about any attacks that endangered humans.

        One point I was trying to make in my original post had to do with what happens even if you wage a drone war. You still have winners and losers and the losers must agree to conform to the terms. Considering that they got to the point of needing a “war” because peaceful negotiations failed I think it would be a good bet the losers would still refuse to surrender according to the war terms. Eventually you would have to find a way to enforce the terms. Real war? Suppose you tried embargos or blockades to enforce the rules. Same rules on loss of life I assume so how would you enforce these? Force? It seems difficult for me to understand how the outcome would ever be enforced if the purpose is to prevent the loss of human life.

        Further thoughts:

        Consider if the countries had the ability to create an endless supply of drones. How would it ever end? The war would continue to suck resources and have no resolution until one side just runs out of resources – which may never happen as drones are fairly inexpensive – especially if you don’t have the cost of bombs to drop. What about help from allies that would enable even more resources. For example, I could see Canada (and the UK) aiding the US in a Russian war of drones. To ensure Communism did not show up in the US. I wonder how that would be managed so allies don’t prolong the war. Negotiations again?
        Consider how you would referee this war. What happens if a country breaks the rules”? What happens if a country just decides to not participate any longer but does not surrender? Kind of like “what if somebody started a war and nobody came?”

        There are probably many more scenarios where drone to drone warfare would be problematic.

        The other thing I mentioned to consider in making this concept work deals with the result that the winner gets to impose cultural changes on the looser. As we would want to impose democracy and capitalism on a loser country (as we did in Japan after WWII) and Russia would want to impose communism as they did after WWII. So, there are other consequences to losing a war than just loss of territory.

        When I said “I guess if you don’t think what we believe in is worth dying for then this is a fine plan. And if it’s not then why bother with war at all. What are we protecting? I was just contemplating how the US population would react if the government came out and said, “we lost the drone war with Russia and we are tearing up the Constitution and we are now a Communist country”. I would suspect that the country would not be in favor of this solution which might lead to a civil insurrection. I was only noting that our way of life seems so important to us such that even if we lost a drone war there probably be armed resistance to this and we would end up in either a civil war or violent resistance to the change. Many people would feel the need to violently resist this type of change. It is important enough for them to resist with their lives. We still did not necessarily avoid a bloody war.

        I am not against a” drone war” concept but I was interested in further discussing how you would see it implemented.

        I have tried the best I can to be respectful of your position and hope you do not see these comments as an attack. They are intended only to facilitate further discussion.

        And… if you prefer comments that do not lead to further discussion such as this please just let me know and I will stop commenting with this intent.


  2. The Air Force is losing pilots to an aging commercial transportation system so quickly they were forced to offer HUGE incentive pay for them to stay. Why keep them on? Your scenario is now. The number of drone missions was incredible the last few years. We never, really, knew who we killed and who we battered. We just bombed. In March 2015 we let out 1,000 drone strikes at a cost of 8.5 million. It is said that we dropped 26,000 in 2016… I would not call that cheap. According to my Air Force pilot nephew, it was mostly bots and few pilots in the seats in those conflict (not war) zones. Was it just or even ethical, many ponder that. Battle bots to the max in the skies! No dog fights though- darn!

    Can we agree to say the people with the most money or desire for power (buying the crazy machines that our defense industry builds and sells) win. They, then, can make up any rules they want for the people they now control and don’t have to buy anything more? The people under them have no right to disagree and fight- they just do it because their leaders have the cool machines. Then we can walk away. No need to supply the UN or NATO! Why should we buy into the battle bots at all? Most wars are caused by power hungry thugs far away from us anyway. We need better education, health care and the end of homelessness. Let’s put our money into our own people! We can still send out aide and feel good that we are helping.
    I really wish this were possible. I hate war. I hate bullies. I wish people would just hold hands and be friends.


    1. As usual Janette, I agree with some of what you say and disagree with some. But that is what makes our discussions interesting. 🙂

      I will continue to hold on to the power of the vote. If all of us would do the work to become informed and then vote, much of our problems today could be quickly changed.


  3. Thanks for the explanations Bob. Yeah, some things do get lost in the translation. I do agree with most of your very expanded explanation. Maybe there are a few things you need to understand about me and how I post here at RJsCorner.

    Much of what I post, particularly in the political vein is patterned around my hero Will Rogers approach. Please don’t take everything literally, my words are primarily meant to cause people to think outside their boxes and much of it is satirical in nature. Most are just snippet of thought and are not meant to be established thought ready for action. I too am an engineer, at least by a college education. I spent almost 20 years in that profession until I discovered where I really belonged. Analytical thinking is part of my nature but that is something I need to reign in most of the time.

    One of my very top issues in life is that I am pro-life in all regards. That includes: abortion, being a brother’s keeper / (human condition), the death penalty, and especially war. I proudly share those beliefs with my Quaker friends. The drone war thoughts were spurned by this issue.

    I value your thoughts here but maybe you need to do what I do in that I seldom write posts over 500 words in length. That requirement makes me think more concisely about things. I just don’t think it is appropriate for commented thoughts to exceed the post they are attached to. 🙂 Another reason for this is that I don’t want my readers to have to spend too much time here. They have other things to do, so I try to keep my daily visits with them short and to the point. Do I always accomplish that? Nope…

    That being said, I do welcome your thoughts but maybe they could be a little more concise my friend.


    1. RJ-

      Good points. I agree with the <500 word limit. I do fundamentally understand that it is difficult, if not impossible, to have any real complicated conversation in email or blog post. I need to keep that in mind.

      Thanks for your reply.

      I love your bird photos. We live just northeast of Indy (just within in the greater metro area) in a newer subdivision without bigger tree and we don’t get Cardinals at our feeders. Just a few sparrows and doves.


      1. Years ago I lived in Fishers which might be in your neighborhood but MUCH has changed there in the 20+ years since I left. We live in a very forested area in SW Indiana now and do appreciate all the birds and there are LOTS of them whenever it snows.


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