Monday, July 16, 2012

Immoral Drones

Sad but true!!

Since 44 went all the way the counter terrorism way there are like sev metric tonnes of inappropriate boring assetted handwringing about the operational art of drones.

Quizes about the attorney specifics of using drones in nation/states of sorts that are not at war with Great Satan (or anyone else), the LOLable Sovereignity cry amdmidst cats that cannot appear to uphold Writ of State, the semi Rumsfeldian style rubic that drones violently anger certain excitable elements in predominantly you know what countries while cranking out more enemies than may be needed at the same incredible instant.

Oh snap!
 All of the concerns just listed either miss their mark and do not challenge the ethical obligation to employ UAVs in principle or else do not rise to the level needed to override the principles which form the basis of ethical obligation for UAV employment. Remotely controlled weapons systems are merely an extension of a long historical trajectory of removing a warrior ever farther from his foe for the warrior’s better protection. 

UAVs are only a difference in degree down this path; there is nothing about their remote use that puts them in a different ethical category.

An article of faith amidst the faithless for eons now about those naughty hottie Drones Gone Wild are any accidental  innocent civilian casualities they leave arranged around smoking craters
From the desolate tribal regions of Pakistan have come heartbreaking tales of families wiped out by mistake and of children as collateral damage in the campaign against Al Qaeda. And there are serious questions about whether American officials have understated civilian deaths. 

So it may be a surprise to find that some moral philosophers, political scientists and weapons specialists believe armed, unmanned aircraft offer marked moral advantages over almost any other tool of warfare.
A concentrated study of remotely piloted vehiclesconcluded that using them to go after terrorists not only was ethically permissible but also might be ethically obligatory, because of their advantages in identifying targets and striking with precision. 

Since drone operators can view a target for hours or days in advance of a strike, they can identify terrorists more accurately than ground troops or conventional pilots. They are able to time a strike when innocents are not nearby and can even divert a missile after firing if, say, a child wanders into range.

Clearly, those advantages have not always been used competently or humanely; like any other weapon, armed drones can be used recklessly or on the basis of flawed intelligence. If an operator targets the wrong house, innocents will die.

Moreover, any analysis of actual results from the Central Intelligence Agency’s strikes in Pakistan, which has become the world’s unwilling test ground for the new weapon, is hampered by secrecy and wildly varying casualty reports. But one rough comparison has found that even if the highest estimates of collateral deaths are accurate, the drones kill fewer civilians than other modes of warfare.

The real moral dilemma of course, is that vaporizing bad actor outers means their cell phones and laptops are vaporized too - no doubt denying Great Satan smoking hot gossip and actionable intell not unlike what Captain Liddel Hart termed the "other side of the hill."   

Plus, it’s a lot harder to capture a terrorist, keep them alive for interrogation, and figure out to do with them afterward than it is to kill by remote control thousands of miles from the battlefield.

Pic - "Drone employment is not only ethically permissible, but is, in fact, ethically obligatory."


René O'Deay said...

I know it's Harsh, but I've never forgot that quote from the awful Sand Creek massacre by the Denver crew: "Nits make Lice!" never more true than with these tali-bans and mustards.