Tag Archives: tech

General Atomics: there is no trauma

An amazing claim by UAV maker, General Atomics about their products:

“General Atomics UK Ltd does not recognise claims that UAS (Unmanned Air Systems) developed and maintained by this company have the effects on children as depicted in your article.

“Our own studies indicate that, on the contrary, people in Afghanistan and Yemen feel safer under the protection of General Atomics Predator Series systems, which often provide their only protection from the Taliban, AQAP and other terrorist entities…”

Given my own reporting in and around Pakistan’s Tribal Areas, the claim that children are not traumatized by drones, beggars belief. I suppose it is true that the 168 to 197 children hit by Hellfire missiles can be said to not be “traumatized” by drones since they are, quite simply, dead. Among the living, stories about children cowering in their beds, especially at night–since most drone attacks happen in the night hours–abound.

I do wonder, sometimes, whether journalists have a responsibility to¬†refuse to publish statements that are utterly and absolutely detached from any probable realm of the real. Although a slippery slope argument can be made, and likely¬†will be made (ie. who’s to decide what’s totally detached and what’s not?), and although I understand that publishing these comments is sometimes a way to illuminate the gap between the rhetoric and the reality, it does give me pause because rhetoric–particularly about faraway places–often creates its own reality.

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