The world as free-fire zone

How drones made it easy for Americans to kill a particular person anywhere on the planet
June 13, 2013

Reaper drone (credit: USAF)

“The rise of the drone is not a case of technology run amok. It is the result of human decision: of political calculation and, too often, strategic evasion,” says author Fred Kaplan in MIT Technology Review.

“Judging from its expanded use over the past five years, the drone’s chief danger is that it makes war too easy — so easy that commanders, including the commander-in-chief, can fool themselves into thinking they’re not fighting a war at all.

“The drones hover at godlike heights. There’s no need to send in troops; even their pilots sit in a trailer on a military base half a world away. In the aftermath of two decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where nearly 7,000 Americans have been killed and more than 16,000 severely injured, remote-­control warfare has an understandable allure — not just for military commanders and politicians but for all Americans.” [ ...]