To underline the controversial nature of the "war on terror" and the pragmatic weapon (armed drones) fashioned for its prosecution, some of the elements of this controversy have been interrogated in this book. They include, amongst others, the doubt over whether the war should have been declared in the first place because terrorist attacks hardly meet the United Nations’ casus belli – an armed attack. There are critics, as highlighted in this book, who believe that the "war on terror" is not an armed conflict properly so called, and, thus, remains only a "law enforcement issue."
The United States and all the states taking part in the war on terror are obligated to observe International Humanitarian Law (IHL). It is within this context of IHL that this book appraises the drone as a weapon of engagement, discussing such issues as "personality" and "signature" strikes as well as the implications of the deployment of spies as drone strikers rather than the Defence Department, the members of the U.S armed forces. This book will be of value to researchers, academics, policymakers, professionals, and students in the fields of security studies, terrorism, the law of armed conflict, international humanitarian law, and international politics.
Since the end of the Cold War, US technological superiority has led to a more proactive and, some would argue, high risk approach to international military intervention. New technologies including the capacity to mount precision military strikes from high-level bombing campaigns and, more recently, the selective targeting of individuals from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have facilitated air campaigns, supported by Special Forces, without the commitment of large numbers of troops on the ground.
Such campaigns include, for example, NATO’s high-level aerial bombardment of Milosevic’s forces in Kosovo in 1999 and of Gaddafi’s in Libya in 2011, and the US operation involving Special Forces against Osama Bin Laden. The development of UAVs and electronic data intercept technologies has further expanded the potential scope of interventions, for example against Islamic militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
This volume examines three key and interrelated dimensions of these new precision-strike capabilities: (1) the strategic and foreign policy drivers and consequences; (2) the legal and moral implications of the new capabilities; and (3), the implications for decision-making at the strategic, operational and tactical levels.
This book will be of much interest to students of war and technology, air power, international intervention, security studies and IR.
The creation of the first weapon in history whose operators can stalk and kill an enemy on the other side of the globe was far more than clever engineering. As Richard Whittle shows in Predator, it was one of the most profound developments in the history of military and aerospace technology.
Once considered fragile toys, drones were long thought to be of limited utility. The Predator itself was resisted at nearly every turn by the military establishment, but a few iconoclasts refused to see this new technology smothered at birth. The remarkable cast of characters responsible for developing the Predator includes a former Israeli inventor who turned his Los Angeles garage into a drone laboratory, two billionaire brothers marketing a futuristic weapon to help combat Communism, a pair of fighter pilots willing to buck their white-scarf fraternity, a cunning Pentagon operator nicknamed "Snake," and a secretive Air Force organization known as Big Safari. When an Air Force team unleashed the first lethal drone strikes in 2001 for the CIA, the military's view of drones changed nearly overnight.
Based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews, Predator reveals the dramatic inside story of the creation of a revolutionary weapon that forever changed the way we wage war and opened the door to a new age in aviation.
Assassination by drone is a subject of deep and enduring fascination. Yet few understand how and why this has become our principal way of waging war. Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story; its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs that made UAV operations possible, the ways in which the technology works and, despite official claims, does not work. Taking the reader inside the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests - military, CIA and corporate - that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy -- and the multi-billion dollar contracts they spawn -- have been put to the test. Drawing on sources deep in the military and intelligence establishments, Andrew Cockburn's Kill Chain unveils the true effects, as demonstrated by bloody experience, of assassination warfare, a revelation that readers will find surprising as well as shocking.
"[A] thoughtful examination of the dilemmas this new weapon poses."
Drones are changing the conduct of war. Deployed at presidential discretion, they can be used in regular war zones or to kill people in such countries as Yemen and Somalia, where the United States is not officially at war. Advocates say that drones are more precise than conventional bombers, allowing warfare with minimal civilian deaths while keeping American pilots out of harm's way. Critics say that drones are cowardly and that they often kill innocent civilians while terrorizing entire villages on the ground. In this book, Hugh Gusterson explores the significance of drone warfare from multiple perspectives, drawing on accounts by drone operators, victims of drone attacks, anti-drone activists, human rights activists, international lawyers, journalists, military thinkers, and academic experts.
Gusterson examines the way drone warfare has created commuter warriors and redefined the space of the battlefield. He looks at the paradoxical mix of closeness and distance involved in remote killing: is it easier than killing someone on the physical battlefield if you have to watch onscreen? He suggests a new way of understanding the debate over civilian casualties of drone attacks. He maps “ethical slippage” over time in the Obama administration's targeting practices. And he contrasts Obama administration officials' legal justification of drone attacks with arguments by international lawyers and NGOs.