Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, have evolved to be a major source of debate in modern society. In the last decade, drones have increasingly been used as a deadly weapon in the US war on terror. Furthermore, the unmanned aircraft have often aroused fierce criticism from human rights organizations, who point out that the drones have killed civilians in countries like Afghanistan. On the other hand, military official’s argues that the drones allows them to attack dangerous terrorists much more precise and therefore save civilian lives . Despite the drones preciseness, estimates suggest that the CIA drone attacks has killed up to 3,533 people between 2004 and 2013 .
When a new military weapon is introduced and used in war, issues and ethical questions naturally arise. Just like the atom bomb, drones evoke a range of different opinions and debate has raged about the morality of using such a weapon of indiscriminate power. Drones has become a part of the American military’s strength, and has in it’s own way changed the battle situations. And, it may sound like a successful story, but the American community or media, haven’t considered the loss of lives on the other side of the planet. The vice-chairman of Stop the War Coalition, Chris Nineham argues that drones is giving: “Carte blanche to governments to fight wars behind the backs of people with no public scrutiny or accountability” . The people of America deserve to be heard on their opinions on their countries’ use of drones, because the government is of the people, by the people and for the people. Drones are useful from what the politicians and media tells us. However, if we look in depth of the use of drones only 2/3 of the drone strikes the U.S carries out are accurate, while 1/3 of the attacks wipe out civilians.
There have always been a desire to win a war and take out the enemy from a safe distance. That goal is thousands of years old, and no country would try to win a war without the use of technical advances available to them. The use of guns became popular not only because of its efficiency, but because it could keep troops at a greater distance from the enemy. With drones and other modern weapons, you can now wage war without dead of thousands of soldiers. However, the increased number of civilian lives lost does not count in this context since the U.S does not detect the opponents’ losses. We are moving towards a time, where war is cruel, devastating, and has many civilian casualties. Nevertheless, the media report the wars as clinical and successful, as there is no loss of soldiers.
Your physical presence will determine whether you fear the war or believe it’s clinical and without consequences for the war-torn country. Think of the homes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, which has been razed to the ground with their owners inside them, or think of those who have lost their parents or children to an erroneous drone attack. There is almost no media coverage in the western world concerning failed drone attacks. The drone war is carried out in some of the world’s most dangerous regions, and it’s extremely challenging to report on. Getting details in the aftermath of a drone attack is a huge challenge because the strikes often happen in remote districts, and there can be a lot of misinformation about who was killed. If we can kill with such ease while protecting lives in the west and avoiding the costs of troops, will the bar be lower for governments to make war? We can already see that we are moving towards a permanent state of war, via drone strike. In 2012 alone, the Obama administration has conducted drone strikes against terrorist in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. We can’t lose our controlling humanity and make war more likely than ever. Furthermore, these speculations become even more complex, with the fear that, as drones become more advanced, they will be able to launch attacks without a human input.
Drone attacks are a very easy to complete and this ease of usage may mean that governments spend less time to devise non-violent solutions to problems. Usually it’s said that technology devolvement is a step forward in the right direction. However, sometimes it’s just smarter take one or two steps back, and consider the need for the technology and then decide what you want to do with the technology.
But, the consequence of drone strikes goes far beyond its currents practice as there is a similarity between simulation and real deadly effect that is dystopian: a state in which our ability to know about matters of death and life is eroded. There is comparison between realistic video games, which so many teenagers entertain themselves, and remote simulators that kill people on the other side of the earth. A former predator drone operator admitted that flying war drones was like ” playing the same video game four years straight on the same level” .
Ultimately, drones are dangerous for their pilots as well because they generate a video game mentality. This extreme geographical distance creates a feeling of invulnerability. The increasing vulnerability of the attacked people allows the option of recruitment for the militant opposition- the Taliban or other terrorist groups. In addition, maybe drones do provide an alternative to the total destruction of regular war. However, the killing of a single leader in terrorist group will not ensure a more peaceful future. A new leader who is possibly more supported by his own followers will quickly replace a dead leader.
Unfortunately drones fall into two different categories: weapons and annoying flying toys. Amazon use them for delivery of packages and the military use them for war. Earlier this year a company started to deploy a fleet of drones in Rwanda, where the machines will deliver medical supplies . this proves that drones can be used to something else than war and it might change the way people look at drones. Although public views will differ, media reporting has caused views to remain unchanged. With better media efforts on the appropriate information and full report of all the drone attacks, then perhaps society can align their own opinions with the governments.