January 30, 2012

THE LONG BOW THEORY OF DEMOCRACY...WITH BIGGER ARROWS:

In Defense of Drones: A Historical Argument (David Bell, January 27, 2012, New Republic)

Once upon a time, American military might was symbolized by the heavy boots of the Marine Corps, stomping ashore to reestablish order in unruly parts of the world. Today, increasingly, it is symbolized by unmanned drone aircraft, controlled from thousands of miles away, dropping bombs on accused terrorists. And to judge by the Obama Administration's new defense plan, released earlier this month, this shift will be strongly reinforced in the years to come. The plan aims to cut troops, ships and planes while concentrating our military energies more than ever on drones, spy technology, cyber warfare, jammers, and special operations forces.

With its explicit embrace of advanced technology over traditional methods of combat, the strategy seems designed to provoke the increasingly vocal critics who doubt the morality, effectiveness, and political implications of "remote control warfare." Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O'Connell, making the inevitable comparison to video games, has argued that "to accept killing far from the situation of battlefields where there is an understanding of necessity is really ethically troubling." The Economist, hardly a bastion of radicalism, has similarly asked: "if war can be waged by one side without any risk to the life and limb of its combatants, has a vital form of restraint been removed?"

Indeed, the really important question becomes: how can we justify allowing tyrants to rule anywhere when we can so easily remove them?

Posted by at January 30, 2012 6:33 AM
  

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