WASHINGTON—In an effort to limit the fallout from any unintended collateral damage, the Pentagon has dispatched a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles to the Middle East specially designed to express condolences for the civilian casualties of U.S. drone airstrikes, sources confirmed Wednesday.
The remotely piloted aircraft, known as the M2-Griever, have reportedly targeted bereaved individuals in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and other restive regions. Military officials confirmed that the state-of-the-art drones have already flown hundreds of covert condolence missions in an effort to convey the U.S. government’s official regrets to those mourning the death of innocents caught in the midst of American combat operations.
“The Griever represents the future of warfare damage control,” said U.S. Air Force general Mitchell Holt, who explained that standard operating procedures now call for the immediate deployment of a condolence drone upon determining that a prior Reaper drone attack resulted in the accidental death of one or more noncombatants. “This unit is equipped with the most sophisticated commiseration technology available, and with it we can swiftly and efficiently deliver our deepest sympathies to those who have lost a friend or family member in an erroneous or inaccurate drone strike.”
“From our command center in Nevada, we possess the tactical capability to project compassion anywhere in the world,” he added.
Following the inadvertent killing or maiming of an innocent civilian, Pentagon officials said that it often only takes hours, sometimes even minutes, for a Griever drone to reach either the site of the bombing or, if reliable intelligence is available, the resulting funeral proceedings. Defense Department sources confirmed that the unmanned aerial vehicle, which is painted in a somber all-black finish, will then maintain a holding pattern 30,000 feet above the ground while relying on a combination of infrared cameras and motion sensors to identify the distinctive movements of the hysterically weeping next of kin.
“With the Griever, we can pay our respects to dozens of survivors in a single fly-by.”
After confirming the sorrowful individual’s identity with reasonable certainty, the drone will then engage the mourner, strafing his or her location with hundreds of sympathy cards before circling back and shelling the target zone with its 1,500-kilogram payload of precision, laser-guided gift baskets. The drone reportedly also possesses eight high-powered loudspeakers, which broadcast a series of pre-recorded messages indicating that the deceased is now in a better place and that their family members will henceforth be in the U.S. government’s thoughts and prayers.
Sources confirmed that the Griever’s highly advanced onboard computing systems allow it to declare tender reassurances with pinpoint accuracy, having proven capable of isolating a sobbing widow within a crowd of sympathizers and unleashing a barrage of comforting words to the appropriate residence, hospital, or mosque during her time of need.
“Simply put, these drones provide the safest and most efficient means of expressing contrition in an active combat zone,” said Holt, adding that the After Action Reports from condolence operations indicate that the military’s expressions of pity reach the intended party in 87 percent of cases. “Normally, unfavorable conditions on the ground would limit our consolatory efforts in these regions to administering slow, arduous door-to-door emotional support, but with the Griever, we can pay our respects to dozens of survivors in a single fly-by.”
“The condolence drones have proven especially effective in Yemen and Somalia, where we have been deploying them dozens of times per week,” he added. “We expect them to continue to be a central component of our campaigns there going forward.”
When reached for comment, men, women, and children throughout the Middle East confirmed the increasing presence of the Grievers, telling reporters that the faint, empathetic murmur emitted by the drones as they pass overhead has become an inescapable aspect of life in a war zone.
“Shortly after Ahmed was killed, we were preparing his body for burial when we heard a second drone flying above us,” said Afghan farmer Sayed Noyan, referring to his brother, who was caught in the blast radius of a Hellfire missile strike while walking near the home of a suspected Taliban operative. “I remember there was a loud, echoing voice intoning that Ahmed was a good man, and that he would always be remembered. That’s when everything went black.”
“The next thing I know, I come to on the floor and realize that the roof was destroyed and our living room was littered with dozens of floral bouquets and scented candles,” he continued.
At press time, the Pentagon had issued a formal apology for an incident last month in which a Griever accidentally consoled two Western hostages.