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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Combat Drones

The email I got from Steve today contained: Today's headline: 'Missiles fired from Nevada controlled drone aircraft kill Taliban leader' along with this video:

A quick search on Google turns up Drone pilots have a front-row seat on war, from half a world away (an article in the LA Times from earlier this year).

I am not sure this is such a good idea. I don't have a problem with killing terrorists: there are some people who deserve to die, and people who plant bombs to kill civilians are in that category. I don't have a problem with killing enemy combatants. Sometimes forces beyond our control force competing groups of people into armed combat.

What I have a problem with is remote control killing from half a world away. The drones have to be transported to the combat area. They have to maintained, supplied and armed there. Why would you want to control these machines from so far away when you already have this huge support structure in place?

Okay, maybe it's just a technological exercise, to see if we can do it. And maybe they are planning ahead for the day when can launch drones from the continental US to deal with a problem anywhere in the world.

Or maybe they think that removing the pilots to a distance will lessen the psychological impact, which seems to be becoming a bigger problem these days.

What I don't like is that the pilots are combatants, where ever they are, and so they and their work location are valid military targets.

Maybe that doesn't matter anymore. World War II put an end to discrimination between civilian and military targets. The military is supported by the civilian population, either with or without their consent. The civilian portion of the population provides the military with arms, supplies and soldiers, i.e. everything they need to fight the war, therefor any damage inflicted on the civilian portion of the population is bound to damage their ability to fight the war.

If our country performs an act of violence against anyone outside of our borders, then simply by being citizens of this country, we all become valid military targets.

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