The Air Force Times is publishing an ad urging military drone pilots to disobey orders by refusing to fly attack missions.
The advertisement is being run by a US veterans’ organization and has the support of several other groups.
It comes at a time that the Air Force is having trouble retaining drone operators because of the stress the job causes.
Many argue that drone operators do not know what they’re getting into when they sign up for the job.
“What this ad is trying to do is to say, ‘look at this now, understand the consequences and follow your conscience and do the right thing,” KnowDrones coordinator Nick Mottern told RT. “Given the fact that the president and Congress won’t act to stop this, we’re appealing directly to the people who are being ordered to do the killing, and who have to bear the weight of this on their conscience to put a stop to it.”
The ad was supported by organizations such Iraq Veterans Against the War, Code Pink and Veterans for Peace, but a lot of the money came from private individuals using the crowdfunding website GoFundMe.
“It costs over $5,000 to run this half-page ad for one week, and the vast amount of that money came from military and ex-military people.” Mottern said.
This level of support does not surprise Mottern, who is a veteran himself. The KnowDrones campaign, which has ads targeted through television broadcasts near military bases, is concerned with the wellbeing of those who operate drones in addition to those who are victims of them.
“I know people who suffer from PTSD because of these experiences,” Mottern said. “The idea that everyone who supports this has is to prevent more people from going through it, and to prevent more people from being killed.”
The turnover of drone pilots has been something of a problem in the Air Force. The Government Accountability Office found that the Air Force “faces challenges to recruit, develop, and retain pilots and build their morale” in a 54-page field study from 2014.
The report goes on to say that the Air Force has not even set out guidelines to pick candidates based on how psychologically fit they are for the task.