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Attack of the Drones!

The Ethics of Remote-Controlled Warfare

Publication Date:
12/2/2009
Pages:
0
Session(s)
1
Product Type:
Internet Download
Adult Study
Product Number:
TC0421

Throughout the summer and fall of 2009 we have been provided with accounts of amazing new weapons that have the potential to revolutionize how wars are fought. These weapons are often referred to as drones, though their official designation is "unmanned aerial vehicles." Used in great numbers over Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to hunt down insurgents, they are controlled from an Air Force base in Nevada by skilled members of the military--people who will never see the damage that they do and who remain immune from physical danger.

The development of these new weapons constitutes a technological achievement of truly impressive proportions--and raises ethical issues that are equally complex.

For example, what (if anything) can be suggested about the long-range consequences of these new and amazing forms of warfare? What will be their impact on what it means to be human and on how human beings relate to one another in the future? Is it easier to kill when we're not required to see the carnage our weapons cause? Does controlling a long-range weapon insulate us from the horrors of war in ways that direct participation in ground combat, for example, cannot?

Edward LeRoy Long Jr. is Pearsall Professor Emeritus of Christian Ethics and Theology of Culture at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is the author of several books, including A Survey of Christian Ethics, A Survey of Recent Christian Ethics, War and Conscience in America, and Peace Thinking in a Warring World.


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