From a New York Times article (in the “Business” section, oddly enough) about the operators of the Preadator and Reaper drone planes used over Iraq and Afghanistan (and Pakistan):
At other times, the crews monitor insurgent compounds and watch over troops in battle. “When you’re on the radio with a guy on the ground, and he is out of breath and you can hear the weapons fire in the background, you are every bit as engaged as if you were actually there,” Major Morrison said.
I wonder if they asked the guys on the ground what they thought about that.
Everyone wants into the fun. Supposedly, an Iranian drone was shot down in Iraqi territory by US planes in February.