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Fri Feb 15, 2013, 03:21 PM

Game of Drones

The recent release of White House memos outlining the legal justifications the Obama administration believes it has to use drone strikes— against both foreign nationals and American citizens—reminds us that while the American public was otherwise occupied, a revolution in warfare was beginning. This revolution has some ways to go—we're not quite at the point where our next war is going to be fought by nothing but robots on land, sea, and air. But drones become more important not just to our military but to militaries all over the world with each passing year.


While it's unlikely that any country will be launching drone strikes onto U.S. territory any time soon, the time when only the United States sends an unmanned aircraft over a border to execute "kinetic" operations may not last much longer. As Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland of the New America Foundation wrote, "Just as the U.S. government justifies its drone strikes with the argument that it is at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates, one could imagine that India in the not too distant future might launch such attacks against suspected terrorists in Kashmir, or China might strike Uighur separatists in western China, or Iran might attack Baluchi nationalists along its border with Pakistan."

And we're helping along the proliferation that could make it more likely. The United States is far and away the world's leading arms merchant, supplying both developed and developing countries with all manner of weaponry, and we're selling drones abroad as well. Last year the Defense Department released policy guidelines listing 66 countries that would be eligible to buy drones from U.S. manufacturers. As yet, the government has allowed armed drones to be sold only to a few close allies, with the rest being allowed to buy surveillance drones.

Those that can't get the drones they want from us buy them from elsewhere (Israel is a big seller) or develop them themselves. According to a 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office, there are now 75 countries that possess unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), from large powers like the U.S. and China all the way down to places like Angola and Latvia. But that covers all kinds of UAVs; the International Institute for Strategic Studies has identified 11 countries—the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, India, Iran, and Israel—that have armed military drones.


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Arrow 1 replies Author Time Post
Reply Game of Drones (Original post)
Redfairen Feb 2013 OP
rachel1 Feb 2013 #1

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:21 PM

1. Murder is 100% OK if suspects & civilians are killed in the name of security/freedom/democracy

We wouldn't mind if our family and/or friends were slaughtered by foreign drones on our soil!

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