The UFO craze is seeing a somewhat minor resurgence recently (nowhere even near as large as it was from the 50's to about the 70's, but still somewhat). So it's once again time to discuss a few things about it.
One common phenomenon among UFO believers is the over-reliance on eyewitness testimony. The eyewitness testimony of random people, no matter how numerous, can be discarded outright. It's 100% unreliable.
However, I would like to discuss a different form of eyewitness testimony, which both UFO believers and casual people put enormous amounts of trust into, even though they really shouldn't: That of combat fighter pilots. Also government officials.
We tend to believe that fighter pilots are extremely reliable eyewitnesses when it comes to this subject. Random people on the street? Nah. But a combat pilot! Now that's somebody who knows what he's talking about! That's somebody to listen to and take seriously. After all, this is a highly, highly trained professional, not some random chump who has no clue.
Ironically, it's precisely their extensive training that actually makes them unreliable eyewitnesses when it comes to UFOs.
I'm not here talking about them being deceitful in some kind of governmental conspiracy to hide the real truth, or something. I'm talking about genuine and honest eyewitness testimony.
How can their extensive training actually make them unreliable? They are trained to distinguish man-made aircraft, and will surely recognize if something is not man-made, has impossible technology, is making physics-defying impossible maneuvers, and so on.
And that's precisely the point: They are highly trained in identifying and recognizing enemy aircraft. Ironically, this makes them biased, and make them see "enemy aircraft" when there might actually be none. They aren't physicists, meterologists, or experts in any such field. They are combat pilots, not scientists. They have experience in recognizing machines of war, not weird unusual weather phenomena or optical illusions.
Thus, ironically, it's precisely their training that will make them think that a strange phenomenon must be some kind of aircraft, some kind of flying machine. An unidentified one. Their training makes them biased, even without realizing it themselves.
The same goes for high-ranking military personnel, but even worse. There have been a few cases of some top-ranking brass leaving the military and coming out with UFO stories. It's hard to tell if they are just inventing stuff for fame and profit, but even if they are being completely genuine, there's still the exact same problem as with the combat pilots: They are soldiers, not scientists nor experts in the necessary fields.
They might have seen tons of videos captured by fighter jets and spy satellites and whatever, with unexplained phenomena happening in them, and they may well jump to their personal conclusions about it. Sure, the military does have tons of experts to try to figure these things out, but there's often just so much that can be deduced from some blurry grainy footage (and sometimes even crispier one). It's just not possible to make repeated measurements and tests on something that happened to be captured on film, and many of these strange phenomena simply remain unexplained. (I suspect that in the vast majority of cases it's unusual weather phenomena, or other type of phenomena, either natural or human-caused, or it may be camera artifacts such as lens flares, or it may be debris that's flying very close to the camera, or a myriad of other possibilities. The problem is that it's often impossible to discern the exact reason from some grainy footage alone.)
Just because someone is a high-ranking military officer doesn't somehow make him immune to being deceived by misleading video footage and eyewitness testimony by combat pilots. On the contrary, just like with the pilots, the officers may be biased precisely because of their military training, and jump to incorrect conclusions because of that.