The Ethics of Drone Warfare

Topics: Laws of war, War, Unmanned aerial vehicle Pages: 4 (1547 words) Published: June 19, 2013
The Ethics of Drone Warfare
Jason Hollas
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
MGMT 325 Social Responsibility & Ethics

The Ethics of Drone Warfare

Eleven years ago, the United States Air Force launched a missile from a drone for the first time at a test range in the Nevada desert (Drone Test) . The use of armed drones has risen dramatically since 2009. Now drone strikes are almost a daily occurrence. In 2011 the use of drones continued to rise with strikes in (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia. Proponents of armed drones argue that their ability to watch and wait, with their highly accurate sensors and cameras gives increased control over when and where to strike its both increasing the chances of success and minimising the harm to civilians. Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula is the first Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Deptula contends that “the precision, the persistence, and the accuracy that remotely piloted aircraft bring to the equation actually enhance our ability to accomplish our objectives while minimizing loss of life”. There are good reasons for using more drones. Cruise missiles and jet fighters work against fixed targets, concentrations of forces or heavy weapons on open ground. They are not as useful, however, in today's “wars among the people” fought against insurgents and terrorists. Drones such as the Predator and the Reaper can loiter, maintaining what one former CIA director described as an “unblinking stare” over a chosen area for up to 18 hours. Edward Barrett is director of strategy and research at the US Naval Academy’s Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership. He says “If you believe that a society has a duty to reduce unnecessary risk to its combatants, then these systems do that, so that would be actually one moral obligation, and then also the state has an obligation to effectively and efficiently defend its citizens, and these systems are effective and efficient. A soldier...
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