The military already grooms teenagers through a video game called America's Army, explicitly designed to let the user "virtually experience Soldiering in the most realistic way possible." The next step is to combine virtual combat with real consequences, by turning gamers into drone pilots. "The current generation of pilots was raised on the PlayStation, so we created an interface that they will immediately understand," says one Raytheon spokesman. Another points out, "The Air Force will be able to recruit pilots who already have the dexterity required." In fact, the Guardian reports that "operators could simply be trained to the requisite level of proficiency on … Xbox 360s or PlayStation 3s, rather than costly simulators."
Forty-one years ago, John McCain was shot down over Vietnam. He broke three limbs and spent five years in brutal imprisonment. Anyone who has been through such hell knows that drones do a great service by protecting American pilots. But kids with PlayStations live in a world where the pilot—the console operator—is the only real human being. They don't understand war's horror the way McCain does. And he isn't the military of tomorrow. They are.