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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Drone Strikes

   
Author Topic: Drone Strikes
GaalDornick
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I've read a few articles and watched a John Oliver video on criticism of the government's use of drone strikes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4NRJoCNHIs), but there is something I'm not getting. It seems to me like the problem people have is with bombings, the drones are just the means to launch them. What would make it any better if there was a pilot sitting in the plane launching a missile at the same location?

When people criticize drone strikes, what is it specifically about drones that makes them any worse than other methods used to launch missiles at targets?

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Lyrhawn
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I've wondered the same thing whenever someone talks about banning drones, or how we don't want drones in America, etc. etc.

I think drones are used as a shorthand for bombings, and if actual bombers were doing it, it wouldn't be any more acceptable.

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Rakeesh
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Part of it is simply that drones are new, I think. New and thus in the public mind.

Much of the rest is probably the United States' approach to air power in the world, which can be...let's just say 'intrusive' when interacting with a nation that lacks any conceivable chance of opposing it. We have a habit-not particularly different from any nation, I think, when faced with a more or less powerless objector-of treating air strikes almost as though they're not really violent military incursions on foreign soil the inhabitants might object to. Or of obtaining permission for such activity from a government known to be brutal, oppressive, and non-democratic (in fact we may criticize them for this before and after the permission) towards its people, for use on some of those people.

There is also an emasculating component as well: we don't even need to be here to kill you, and in fact we can keep a weapons platform in your sky indefinitely, waiting for a chance. Can and do. There's an added stifling element there not present with 'traditional' air strikes, where an attack is measured in hours instead of minutes.

All of that said, it's true that much of the criticism is silly when you bear in mind that drones are not very different from a bomber. Better, cheaper, more useful, but not really fundamentally different.

I do wonder how closely public opinion in the United States will wind up mirroring that towards nuclear weapons, though. In terms of policy, we had a lot less of a problem with nuclear saber rattling when we had the only ones. Right now we are the only ones making use of drones, but that will change.

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Wingracer
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If manned bombers were dropping ordinance in Yemen, it would be all over the news. Drones fire missiles killing civilians in Yemen and we hear almost nothing about it. I have nothing at all against the tech itself but how it is being used is kind of appalling.
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GaalDornick
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What makes you think it would be all over the news if those strikes were manned?
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Elison R. Salazar
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Its not the drones, its the constant bombings of innocent people without oversight or transparency.
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scifibum
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I don't think it's the main thing, but there's something about the different thresholds of urgency for finding it necessary to kill other people vs. putting your own people at risk.

But the main thing is the bombing, for sure.

(And I don't think we should put our people at risk more than we do, but I don't think that entirely erases the something that I'm talking about.)

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Elison R. Salazar
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I don't see how it matters, if there weren't any drones the bombings would still happen. Soldiers are always sacrificed in the name of what the politicians consider to be national interest.
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