Sticks and Stones? Or Drones?
Are drones leading us to war?
Albert Einstein once said that he didn’t know how World War III would be fought, though he did know about World War IV – with sticks and stones. He was warning us that our escalation of nuclear weapons would lead to a war where very little – and very few – were left standing. Today, what would Einstein think of the recent escalation of combat drones?
Defense planners argue that drones save lives, sparing those who would’ve had to fight the enemy face to face, or gun-sight to gun-sight. Now, with drones, or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), they’ve removed the human factor. War-fighters are safely out of the battle, and in many cases, out of the country.
Targets are destroyed by remote control.
Critics, on the other hand, argue that drones make it too easy to kill – more like a computer game than actual killing. They say it will desensitize us to the horrors of war.
At present the U.S. is the clear leader in this technology with the Predator, Reaper and Global Hawk. China is catching up fast, however. The PRC unveiled their new line of drones during a recent military parade and expo.
Jane’s Defense Weekly reports that the Chinese Wing Loong II has a range of over 2100 miles and carries laser-guided bombs and missiles. Russia, Iran, Japan and Israel all manufacture their own drones and soon many more nations will join the ranks. With all sides employing this inexpensive technology, is there a risk that war will become too removed, too easy?
Remember that Star Trek episode where the dirty business of war was sanitized? Where citizens had to report to killing booths? War was clean and efficient. It was also never-ending. Remember Captain Kirk (again violating the prime directive) insisting that facing the ugliness of war was essential in preventing it? It made sense when he said it, didn’t it?
Author’s Note: Fully autonomous drones are already here, and so is the ‘awesome’ weaponry launched from them. It’s not a matter of time whether drones fight battles on their own, but a question of will. Will we?
If we are to heed the advice of an Einstein, we’re going to need a Captain Kirk to straighten us out, as well. Otherwise, the last man standing might very well be a drone.
Learn more about it:
UAVs in the U.S. Military at Wikipedia.
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Editor’s Note: The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily those of Art Bell, Dark Matter News or Dark Matter Digital Networks.