Do Drone Attacks Make Life & Death Worth Less ?

The thousands of US officer reports from Afghanistan appearing on Wikileaks yesterday show how technology can imperil a military’s secrecy and operations.

But there is another side to that relationship.

The technologies used by militaries to kill by remote control, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated and prevalent, are transforming warfare.

A senior United Nations official recently warned of the emergence of a “PlayStation mentality to killing”, conjuring up an image of armies on the battlefield being replaced by unseen, nerdy teenagers spraying bullets and missiles with joysticks as wantonly as they already do when playing video games.

Israel is one of the pioneers of these technologies.

The first remote-controlled machines were surveillance aircraft built to fly over Lebanon in the early 1980s, as Israel invaded and then occupied the country for 20 years.

Today Israel is the world leader in developing and selling unmanned aerial vehicles – or drones, as they have come to be called.

Israel’s disproportionate role in researching and developing this technology should not surprise us.

Despite being a tiny country with a small population, Israel has had vast sums of military aid thrown at it by the United States.

As a result, its regional ambitions have sometimes outstripped the human resources available to carry them out.

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Thu Jul 29 , 2010