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: Drone: Remote Control Warfare
: Hugh Gusterson
: The MIT Press
ISBN: 0262034670
: 2016
: 213
: pdf (true)
: 10.17 MB

Drone warfare described from the perspectives of drone operators, victims of drone attacks, anti-drone activists, international law, military thinkers, and others.

Drones are changing the conduct of war. Deployed at presidential discretion, they can be used in regular war zones or to kill people in such countries as Yemen and Somalia, where the United States is not officially at war. Advocates say that drones are more precise than conventional bombers, allowing warfare with minimal civilian deaths while keeping American pilots out of harm's way. Critics say that drones are cowardly and that they often kill innocent civilians while terrorizing entire villages on the ground. In this book, Hugh Gusterson explores the significance of drone warfare from multiple perspectives, drawing on accounts by drone operators, victims of drone attacks, anti-drone activists, human rights activists, international lawyers, journalists, military thinkers, and academic experts.

Drone strikes generally take place on the edge of American public awareness. Although the United States has been using drones for what it calls targeted killings for over a decade, this was not formally acknowledged until a 2012 speech by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director John Brennan. Even after that speech, CIA censors prevented Leon Panetta, the previous CIA director, from mentioning drone strikes in his memoir. A U.S. State Department special envoy complained that drones were a deeply classified topic in the government. You could not talk about them in public, much less discuss whom they were hitting and with what results.

Gusterson examines the way drone warfare has created commuter warriors and redefined the space of the battlefield. He looks at the paradoxical mix of closeness and distance involved in remote killing: is it easier than killing someone on the physical battlefield if you have to watch onscreen? He suggests a new way of understanding the debate over civilian casualties of drone attacks. He maps ethical slippage over time in the Obama administration's targeting practices. And he contrasts Obama administration officials' legal justification of drone attacks with arguments by international lawyers and NGOs.

Drone : Remote Control Warfare


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