Monday, May 27, 2013

Interesting paper from a commenter numero uno

I don't always get to respond to commenters - perversely some of the comments that require the most in depth response are harder to get around to responding to than the quick responses. But I do read all of them and often commenters bring really great material to my attention. There's a backlog of a few of those so I wanted to make sure I shared before I forgot.


First, from Hume, a new paper (a chapter actually) on drones by a former professor of his and a co-author titled "Drones and the Dilemma of Modern Warfare". I haven't read it but the summary sounds like it hits some themes that I have here (particularly in this post). They suggest that some issues around drones are plagued with misconceptions and not as important as many people suppose, including questions about targeting individuals, humanitarian concerns, or that drones make war "too easy" (that nasty old "we need to make sure young men suffer and die so that old men can make good decisions" argument). Instead, the authors argue that the central questions around drones are the questions about what actions justify the use of military force in an age when technology focuses us on the "individuation of personal responsibility". In other words, its not the headline questions that people bicker about - it's the more fundamental question of whether it is a good idea or not to go to war with these machines. This is the question that Obama publicly considered this past week (although I'm sure he's been thinking about it for years now). I tried to focus on this sort of question in my discussion of the Rand Paul filibuster (linked above) when I wrote: "People freaked out about airplanes when they were developed for war too. A decade from now this allegedly valiant Constitutional stand will look stupid and we'll just be arguing about the important stuff - good and bad uses of a very lethal tool." (emphasis added). Whether we ought to use lethal force is really the important question here (and it is a question).

No comments:

Post a Comment

All anonymous comments will be deleted. Consistent pseudonyms are fine.