Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Dangers of Drones

Anyone with a rudimentary awareness of American politics knows about the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, in American warfare. Republican Senator Rand Paul’s 12+ hour old-school filibuster provoked a strong debate over the American usage of drones that is even now making political waves.
It is important to remember that drones, in and of themselves, are not evil devices. Indeed, the use of drones will prove to be incredibly useful in future warfare. Unmanned drones are increasingly accurate, inexpensive, and small enough to avoid radar. More importantly, they will be unmanned – meaning the risk of friendly casualties will be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, during future wars. Drones will also prove to be incredibly useful for espionage, serving as effective unmanned reconnaissance vehicles due to their small size.
The problem with drones is not that they are evil, per se. Indeed, drones are a technological innovation that, properly used, could save thousands of lives. The advantage of having an unmanned aerial force is incalculable; thousands of lives could be saved.
However, it is clear that drones are devices which can be easily abused. There is little to no risk of “friendly fire,” so there is a greater opportunity for governments to engage in “trigger happy” behavior. There is the problem of that drones can invade foreign airspace with impunity. There is also the problem of anonymity: a drone can swoop out of the sky and kill without warning, with no one the wiser as to the identity of the aggressor. Already, multiple governments use drones in their arsenals. Drones may even get so cheap that they may become viable weapons for rich individuals and corporations, as well as by governments.
Drones are not evil in and of themselves, but they must be used very carefully, else grave harm will result. And fallen human nature being what it is, the leaders of governments will find ways to use them for evil.

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