Death by Drone, Ctd

by Chris Bodenner

Tim Heffernan joins the debate:

I am not sure why [Poulos] thinks it's better to have our people rather than our robots do our killing because it's more honorable? Produces fewer civilian deaths? Both are reasonable and both are debatable, but I won't speak for him and instead hope he will explain. In any case, to me the reason to prefer human to robotic war is a cold and brutal one: because it brings war home to the citizenry in the form of the dead and wounded, and the citizenry may then be less likely to support future wars except out of clear necessity. I don't like the logic of that argument and cannot defend it morally, but the distancing of civilians from their wars is a serious matter that both I and the Department of Defense have been concerned about for a long time, albeit for totally opposing reasons.

Dominic Tierney observes:

Rami Khouri, a scholar and editor based in Beirut, described how the Lebanese viewed the Israeli drones in the 2006 war in Lebanon: "the enemy is using machines to fight from afar. Your defiance in the face of it shows your heroism, your humanity...The average person sees it as just another sign of coldhearted, cruel Israelis and Americans, who are also cowards because they send out machines to fight us." America's population is as frightened as the lion from the Wizard of Oz. And its robots are as heartless as the tin man. Americans will not face death, whereas its enemies embrace it. In anti-American circles, the suicide terrorist may look like a brave rebel resisting the evil Galactic Empire.