Under President Obama, drones have become this country’s weapon of choice in our fight against terrorism. Over half of the pilots now trained by the Air Force are drone pilots. Advocates say drones allow us to find and destroy our adversaries without endangering American lives. They can stay in the air for countless hours, tracking movement below, gathering information, and waiting for a good shot. But critics say drones too often kill civilians and function as a recruiting tool for terrorists. They also charge that drones operate outside the bounds of international law. How have drones changed the face of warfare? What are the ethical implications of this technology?
Retired Air Force Lt. General David Deptula orchestrated the largest increase in drone operations in Air Force history. His last assignment was as the Air Force’s first deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. He is now Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Power Studies.
Hugh Gusterson is professor of anthropology and international Affairs at George Washington University and author of “Drone: Remote Control Warfare.”