Attack of the Drones
The US government’s growing reliance on aerial drones to pursue its war on al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere is proving controversial – as evidenced by the international reaction to recent drone missile attacks along the border with Pakistan.
But Barack Obama’s administration is undeterred, favouring the technology more and more because it reduces the need for American troops in those countries and the risk of politically unpalatable casualties.
But this strategy is giving rise to anxieties that conflict is becoming just a big computer game, in which ‘desk pilots’ in air conditioned bunkers far from the battlefield can kill a few enemy fighters and then go home to their families, remote from the human consequences of their actions or the anguish of associated civilian casualties.
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