The Implications of Unmanned Weapons Platforms

In a very interesting op-ed piece published today in the New York Times, Roger Cohen discusses the technological, psychological, military, political and ethical implications of drone warfare (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/opinion/13iht-edcohen.html?_r=1&ref=global).  Mr. Cohen begins with a bio-mechanical description of how fruit flies navigate, and then explains why the US military wants to use the insects as a model for the next generations of unmanned aircraft.

Mr. Cohen details how the use of robotic vehicles for military purposes has skyrocketed since the Iraq War began in 2003, and notes that the Obama administration has eagerly embraced drone airstrikes as a method of attacking enemies in Pakistan.

Mr. Cohen decries the lack of transparency and clear guidelines relating to the use of Predators for targeted killings.  He also points out other ethical issues surrounding unmanned weapons platforms, such as the psychological impact of techno war on pilots, and the degree to which removing American warriors from harms way will make policymakers more inclined to use military force.

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