Drones and Collateral Damage
Americans are gradually becoming more concerned about the use of drones and the morality and legality of this new stealthy and lethal technology. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs have changed the nature of warfare in the last ten years, and one would like to think that the American public is sharing Pakistan’s moral outrage over their use when innocent civilians are being killed along with the so-called legitimate targets.
But it is not the deaths in Pakistan causing the outrage. Civil liberty activist groups are protesting the use of the drones’ artificial intelligence in seeking out crime in the U.S. homeland. As a surveillance tool, domestic drones are being used increasingly to spy on suspected drug smugglers, illegal immigrants and potential terrorists. The fear is that the next development will be arming them, but fortunately the U.S. Congress hastily passed legislation on June 15 2012, to bar any Department of Homeland Security funding for “the purchase, operation, or maintenance of armed unmanned aerial vehicles.” Armed drones are incredibly powerful and dangerous weapons, and troubling new questions arise about the potential militarization of the police and wondering what Americans are willing to accept as collateral damage on their own soil.
Because mistakes do happen.
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