Foreign Policy #1: Drones

These things.

This is a relatively new and relatively relevant (whoa) issue, and it’s featured in the prompt very deliberately. Therefore, I shall blog about it.

Before getting into the meaty controversy behind drones, it’s good to know what those weird robot-airplane-things are. This here blog provides a very simple-to-understand definition:

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), also known as drones, are aircraft either controlled by ‘pilots’ from the ground or increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission.

Thank you, WordPress Blog Completely Dedicated to Drones.

Anyway, the brewing controversy mostly concerns the moral value of using drones. In the U.S., the military and the CIA both have their own squadron of drones to control, and these drones can be used for either reconnaissance/surveillance or actual bombing/destroying things.

Pew pew…?

The really interesting part about these things (and also one of the points of contention) is that the pilot doesn’t have to be anywhere near the drone while piloting it. In fact, most of the drones flying over the Middle East right now are being controlled by pilots sitting comfortably in the U.S., most likely somewhere in the desert outside Las Vegas.

On This Hand:

To those in support of drones, more drones means less soldiers that have to put their lives at risk killing terrorist leaders and whatnot. Not so much “morally right” as “more moral than an invasion force… right?”

Drones are also cheap, or at least cheaper to build than manned aircraft.

On The Other Hand:

Drones are scary. So far, they’ve been used by the CIA for targeted killings, which creep a lot of people out in their implication that the government has the power to deploy flying robot assassins. 

The morality of operating a flying death machine from the other side of the world has also been questioned. Some think that picking off little people-shaped blips on a computer screen like it’s a poorly-designed video game is desensitizing, and that it’s dangerous to get used to this kind of warfare since the operator seems to be detached from the suffering. While no evidence confirms this, some evidence shows that drone operators can still suffer from PTSD and similar ailments.

There’s another argument floating around that drones kill innocent civilians like there’s no tomorrow. Whether it’s drones or some other branch of the military, innocent civilians always end up killed, usually in unpredictable numbers, because war has a tendency to do that (war is bad).

So What?

So, are drones any better than manned aircraft/military units? Are they any worse?

Depending on what you think of drones (I personally regard them as soul-less, life-destroying deathcopters), this issue may or may not be of great import to you. The government (and notably the CIA) seems to have taken to the use of predatory drones to the point where it’s become routine.

If you’re against the use of drones, this isn’t good news. It means that changing the way things are right now is going to take some work, because in order for the government to change, it needs to be told by its people that change is needed, and in order for the voice of the people to be heard, the people need to stop engaging in the collective shrug. The collective shrug doesn’t do anything.


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11 Responses to Foreign Policy #1: Drones

  1. SkeetaBomb says:

    ok nvm, can’t give you the link, but if you go on my site and go to the WIP section its like the second or third down.

  2. Austin Marlowe says:

    Well, as an Air Force kid I’ve heard about the rise of drones for a while. I’m also quite pro drones, and not just because of my military back ground. I see little reason to stop something that is more efficient at doing the job and think most of the arguments are just standing in the way of progress. There is some worry to be said about their domestic use, but I think there are allot of benefits to them and support their use.

  3. SkeetaBomb says:

    I love the topic of drone use and I think it’ll make for a really great civic issues blog! I am completely against the use of drones and in fact last semester my group and I did our controversial issues topic project thingy on the use of drones in the Middle East. We put together around a 10:00 minute movie that actually ended up being really amazing. We explored various ideas, stipulations, and consequences of drone use in the Middle East and you can certainly benefit by taking a look. I have no doubt you’ll get some really good ideas from the movie as we brought up some really interesting points. Plus if you’re really interested in this topic you should find our project pretty cool, heres the link, to the link, if you want to take a look:

  4. Ryan Dieter says:

    To me the opinion that the drones are “scary” isn’t the biggest criticism. When the CIA strikes a terrorist they usually do it at some formal gathering where the target is out in the open. That means funerals, weddings, and things like that. The problem is that many times the only person there that doesn’t end up dead is the target. Now that said, I think it is a lot better to use drones than to risk putting American boots on the ground.

  5. Mike Stavrakos says:

    You make some valid points about why drones aren’t necessarily the best path for our military to follow, but think about it like this: is there any difference between what the drones physically do and what a fighter jet with a pilot does? Either way, you’re still dropping a bomb or shooting a missile and ultimately killing the target on the other end. In either situation, there is clear potential for casualties. When using drones, though, there’s no possibility that a soldier won’t return home from the mission. In my opinion, it’s a good sign of progress that our military is beginning to gradually reduce the number of fallen US soldiers through means such as drones.

  6. Steven Weiss says:

    That’s the real downer: any government powerful enough to protect its citizens and their interests is powerful enough to kill said citizens in their beds.

  7. Ryan Ivins says:

    Quite honestly, I’m more concerned about the surveillance-type drones that are to be employed by the police agencies of the US. But when it comes to talking about them, I find the topic is especially suitable for trash-talking Obama and his association with drone strikes in the Middle East which are said to be killing innocent children. On a less relevant note, I actually had an ROTC instructor in high school that was once a in a commanding position at the base you speak of.

  8. May says:


  9. May says:

    I personally found the entire drone deal especially frightening…to me it’s like a way to be destroyed in the “comfort of your own home” (if you’re being targetting). Ofcourse, I don’t know all the details about how drones work, but the thought of something going terribly wrong can result and resulting in innocent deaths is absolutely unbearable.

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