The World as Free-Fire Zone

The use of drones in warfare can reduce total casualties, but increase cross-border attacks, raising concerns about boundaries and nonchalance over war, even as human operators choose targets and pull triggers. Small, accurate drones are most often used for surveillance or support of ground troops, explains Fred Kaplan for MIT Technology Review, but the “controversy – which persists today – began when drones started hunting and killing specific people in countries where the United States was not officially at war.” He adds, “Judging from its expanded use over the past five years, the drone’s chief danger is that it makes war too easy – so easy that commanders, including the commander-in-chief, can fool themselves into thinking they’re not fighting a war at all.” For now, the US leads in drone warfare, though 80 nations also have drones in their arsenals. Other countries resent rapid innovation in weaponry on the part of one country. Kaplan concludes that killing individuals does not win hearts, minds or wars. – YaleGlobal

The World as Free-Fire Zone

A key concern about drones as a weapon is that they make war and killing more distant, too easy; other countries resent US lead in drone warfare
Fred Kaplan
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fred Kaplan is national-security columnist for Slate and the author of four books, including The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War (Simon & Schuster, 2013).

MIT Technology Review © 2013

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