UAV Remote Video Warfare: The U.S. has Opened A Pandora’s Box with Drones
by Darrell L. Shahan
January 3, 2012
-By being the first to use drones, we have unleashed a Pandora’s box upon the world. Imagine a world where your every move outside your home is monitored. Drone warfare demands that we learn to settle conflicts without war.
Modern warfare has entered a new era. Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, can fly thousands of miles, conduct surveillance or target and kill individuals with precision. Unfortunately, this precision does not prevent collateral damage, the military term for unintended civilian deaths. Military experts predict this will be the pattern for future military conflicts.
Quite often, the drones are operated by personnel who are far removed from the conflict. They kill enemy combatants by day and go home at night to their families. A definite advantage is the fact that unmanned aircraft do not place any pilots at risk.
Now for the dark side. A disadvantage is that this type of warfare depersonalizes warfare and reduces it to just another video game. The warfare acquires an antiseptic quality that could make the decision to go to war more likely and acceptable. The popular perception is that, because of our advanced technology, the United States has a virtual monopoly on drones. According to CNN, nothing could be farther from the truth. Quoting the article, “As many as 50 countries are developing or purchasing these systems, including China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Iran.”
In Palestine, Hezbollah used a small drone for surveillance. It flew so slowly that the Israeli jets could not reduce their speed enough to shoot it down.
Drones are now available commercially. Farmers could use them for the purposes of dusting crops. This application would appear to lend itself to the distribution of biological weapons over a metropolitan area, by an enemy. Terrorists could conceivably buy a commercial version.
The Iranian capture of a U.S stealth spy drone over Iran, which was conducting surveillance of their nuclear program, undoubtedly will aid the drone development program of other countries.
There also are disturbing legal questions. Military personnel are authorized to operate drones during war, but it is reported that they also are operated by civilian CIA members under their covert programs. This dilutes responsibility and prevents scrutiny by the public.
The FAA is expected to issue rules allowing drones to be used by law enforcement in the U.S. The ACLU fears drones might be used indiscriminately, leading to constant monitoring of the public, in any outdoor location, instead of only gathering evidence in specific cases. The ACLU wants specific guidelines defining their use. Citizens now are under constant monitoring in many municipal settings. The only privacy left would be in your own home. Would invasion of the sanctity your home be next? Freedom usually is not lost in one fell swoop. It usually disappears piecemeal. When the public becomes accustomed to the newest incremental change, the next one is implemented.
By being the first to use drones, we have unleashed a Pandora’s box upon the world. Imagine a world where your every move outside your home is monitored. Drone warfare demands that we learn to settle conflicts without war.