Drones and the Future of Armed ConflictEthical, Legal, and Strategic Implications

Drones and the Future of Armed ConflictEthical, Legal, and Strategic Implications

David Cortright, Rachel Fairhurst, and Kristen Wall

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780226258058

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Drone technology is racing ahead, while efforts to develop guidelines for the use of remotely piloted weapons remain underdeveloped. The emergence of lethal drones raises new questions for the ethical and legal analysis of the use of armed force and the impact on human rights. Drones have the capacity to be more accurate and discriminating, yet they do not eliminate the problems of collateral damage and civilian harm. They reduce risks for those employing such weapons, although by making the use of force appear easier and less costly, they may increase the propensity to resort to force. The lack of transparency about criteria for identifying targets and launching strikes impedes democratic accountability. Drones are considered a means of countering terrorism, but the ability to kill specific targets has not brought success in countering terrorist insurgencies in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen. This book presents the work of leading scholars and policy experts addressing these and other related questions. The authors highlight the need for the United States and other nations to work together in establishing an international regulatory framework to ensure that drones are used in compliance with ethical standards and the principles of international law.