Thu, 04 Oct 2012 15:10:29 +0000
by Ezra Van Auken
The Pentagon is looking to build advanced technology that will allow the already infamous unmanned drone to be operated without any human assistance. Agence-France Presse interviewed US chief scientist for the Air Force, Mark Maybury who described the drones as, “Before they were blind, deaf and dumb,” now “we’re beginning to make them to see, hear and sense.”
A professor at the Georgia Institute of Tech, Ronald Arkin commented on the matter to the AFP, “It is not my belief that an unmanned system will be able to be perfectly ethical in the battlefield, but I am convinced that they can perform more ethically than human soldiers are capable of,” supporting the idea of drones independently assassinating humans during wartime.
However, without the new technology being deployed, there is already an outcry of negativity against drone usage. Pakistan’s ambassador, Sherry Rehman explained at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, “I am not saying drones have not assisted in the war against terror, but they have diminishing rate of returns,” associating drone attacks with the fact that strikes are only creating more militants, not diminishing.
Peter Singer, a senior member for foreign policy at the Brookings Institute noted, “Without any actual political debate, we have set an enormous precedent, blurring the civilian and military roles in war and circumventing the Constitution’s mandate for authorizing it,” which exercises other points that Obama’s administration has been relatively quiet on drone attacks in the Middle East.
When Pakistan’s spy chief met with head of the CIA, David Petraeus, in August for discussion of drone use over Pakistan, little was said. An official for Petraeus told reporters, “The discussions today between General Zahir and Director Petraeus were substantive, professional, and productive,” which contradicted the Pakistani ambassador’s hope of working to decrease drone deployment over their country.
Concerning the transparency of drones, ACLU members took the CIA to court recently, which was geared to bring about more information on the drone program. Although, nothing was learned other than CIA officials admitting that they do operate drones throughout the world, which is something that the CIA would not convey in prior court hearings. ACLU’s lawyer, Jameel Jaffer described the CIA’s defense as being “repackaged”.