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Preventive ForceDrones, Targeted Killing, and the Transformation of Contemporary Warfare$
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Kerstin Fisk

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479857531

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479857531.001.0001

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Why Drones Are Different

Why Drones Are Different

Chapter:
(p.115) 5 Why Drones Are Different
Source:
Preventive Force
Author(s):

Stephan Sonnenberg

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479857531.003.0005

In September 2012, the author of this chapter co-authored a report documenting the inefficacy, unpopularity, and presumed illegality of the US drones program as it was carried out in northwest Pakistan. The main findings of the report have since been confirmed by subsequent investigations and official documents released to the public. In this chapter, however, the author reflects on the question that was not addressed in the report, namely whether—and, if so, how—drones are different from other weapons designed to kill people during times of conflict? The question is controversial, in that it pits traditional laws governing war against emerging popular notions of ethics in confusing and sometimes contradictory ways. But it is also an important question to address, both to understand the emotional reaction that the US drone program continues to engender at home and abroad, as well as to develop ethical policies to govern the use and further development of drones technology worldwide.

Keywords:   Drones, Conflict, Law, Pakistan, Policy, Ethics

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