The BBC's Radio 4 has been granted rare insight into the life of a US Air Force predator drone pilot. Retired Lt. Colonel Bruce Black recounted his experiences on the channel's Broadcasting House program, showing the human hand at the controls of politically sensitive weapons responsible for the deaths of an estimated 3,000 people in 10 years.
Black would leave his home in Las Vegas and travel 45 miles north before climbing into a box and remotely flying his lethal MQ1 UAV — better known as a predator drone — over combat zones in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He would, he says, make choices between human beings living and dying, then walk back into his house and "work out if [his daughter] was going to wear a blue tutu or a pink tutu." The interview demonstrates the strange and powerful disconnect between his immersive connection to the life-and-death situations he was dealing with while at the drone's controls, and the comparative normality of Nevada's civilian surroundings.