The drone wars
International law will not make them humane.

dvande / Shutterstock.com

The most important military revolution of our time, the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), is well under way. In 2000, our military had 60 UAVs. Today it has at least 6,000, with more to come. From the Hellfire-missile-carrying Predator to the Global Hawk with its wingspan of 130 feet to the tiny Raven, which carries a camera the size of a peanut, UAVs are becoming ubiquitous, and drone strikes increasingly precise. Many people wonder where this technology is heading — and whether we need new laws and international agreements to keep the drone revolution from flying out of control.

Former New York Times editor Bill Keller has proclaimed that drones are “propelling us to the day when we cede . . . lethal authority to software,” while legal scholars question whether death by drone might violate international law. Radford University philosophy and peace-studies professor Glen T. Martin has written that this technology is “attacking the heart of civilization itself,” while two authors recently opined in the Wall Street Journal that, thanks to drones, “the West risks, however inadvertently, going down the same path” as the one that led to Auschwitz. These fears are misplaced and overstated. History shows that the best safeguards against the abuse of new technologies are new technologies themselves.

Editor's note: This piece originally appeared in the December 16 edition of National Review Magazine. It is available by subscription only.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

John
Yoo

 

Arthur
Herman

What's new on AEI

Defeating ISIS: AEI experts weigh-in before the president’s address on Wednesday
image Degrading, defeating, and destroying the Islamic State
image Wealth Building Home Loan: Building wealth through homeownership and retirement savings
image The $3 iPhone
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 15
    MON
  • 16
    TUE
  • 17
    WED
  • 18
    THU
  • 19
    FRI
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constitution as political theory

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceasar, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

Event Registration is Closed
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:10 a.m. – Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Third international conference on housing risk: New risk measures and their applications

We invite you to join us for this year’s international conference on housing risk — cosponsored by the Collateral Risk Network and AEI International Center on Housing Risk — which will focus on new mortgage and collateral risk measures and their applications.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Speaker of the House John Boehner on resetting America’s economic foundation

Please join us as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his five-point policy vision to reset America’s economy.

Friday, September 19, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reforming Medicare: What does the public think?

Please join us as a panel of distinguished experts explore the implications of the report and the consumer role in shaping the future of Medicare.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.