Thursday, January 24, 2013

Technology And The Inhumanity Of Drones

It would be naive to think the use of unmanned drones could make war any more palatable. Of course it doesn't.  What it might do is make us more insensitive to it.

Consider the human life it spares and doesn't.  It could at some point make a huge impact on the need for boots on the ground.

On the other hand drones cannot decipher  between civilians and militants thereby causing unwanted civilian deaths.  Pakistan has been particularly hard hit by our drones going after Taliban and al Qaeda at which they've been quite successful.  Yet there are the civilians of whom we are constantly reminded.

I wonder how long it will be until 'war' is no more than a giant chess game with the 'soldiers' apply their strategies other from afar.  The losers of course are those who do not yet have the advanced technology.  But they will.

That is why, in response to requests by China, Russia and Pakistan, the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has launched an investigation into whether or not drone strikes and the resulting civilian casualties constitute war crimes.

The fear is that this technology will escalate into an untenable situation. The face of war would change dramatically.  I certainly would like it to no longer be our young men and women and the too often tragic results of combat.  On the other hand seeing it become the innocent who are victims for no more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time is not an acceptable alternative.  Consider Syria.

It brings to mind an old episode from M*A*S*H where a young pilot had to bail and was languishing at the 4077th until he could get back to his base and evening meals at the officers club. He saw the war as an inconvenience to the pleasure he derived from flying. A severely injured child was then brought in and the sight shocked him.  He questioned who had hit her village.  The Chinese or the Americans?  Hawkeye responded, "Does it matter?"

That's the point, isn't it?  No matter how technically sophisticated the necessities to fight a war become those who have no ambition but to survive will suffer the most.  Those not involved in the fighting, or if there is no fighting because of these great advances, will still be on the receiving end of the bullets or rockets or bombs that will inadvertently hit them.

That is and always will be the other face of war.  Not those whose ambitions call for them nor the countries who fund them.  Just the people.  Men of all ages, women, children, the elderly.

If looking at our own wounded warriors isn't enough, perhaps we need to see up close and personal those we don't have to look at here because they aren't here.  They're there, where ever that may be.

This may be one instance when technology is doing us no favor and those who would condemn it are.


marlu said...

Mari, for once I completely agree with you! (Forgive me but there is room for all opinions, right?) My husband and I cannot understand why we are sending drones to Yemen and Somalia and wherever else they are killing people. This is an invasion of those countries.
And when they get the technology, is there any doubt where they will send their drones? And we would deserve it.

Margie's Musings said...

This is one I really, really agree with you on, Mari!

And also there's always the very real possibility that our "enemies" will also develop the drone and use it against us just like we are using it against them.

Remember the atom bomb? Now nearly everyone has it. And there's always the threat that some madman will decide to us it against us.

Mari Meehan said...

Since two of my long time readers took the time to comment, I'd just like to clarify that if I disagree with what the administration is doing it is party neutral. I'd be saying the same things if the Republicans had the power. My commentary comes from observation of what is provided by the media. From that my opinions are formed.

That being said, Marlu, if there weren't room for other opinions there'd be no discussion would there? How boring would that be?