Drone Warfare – Part Two

I shared in this space yesterday my unease with drone warfare as it is being carried out by the United States these days. All I could conclude with was the thought that we need a serious conversation about this technology and some restrictions put in place. I should have waited a day until I opened my May 25 edition of The Christian Century (arguably the finest Christian publication on the market today).

Kenneth Himes, a Franciscan and associate professor of theology at Boston College, has written a new book entitled Drones and the Ethics of Targeted Killing. According to the thoughtful review by Brian Stiltner, an ethics professor at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut: “…Himes concludes that the tactics of targeted killing ‘is neither always to be permitted nor always to be opposed.'”

“What officials should do instead is to bring drone policy into the light of day so it can be controlled by the standards of just war and international law. Himes argues that political leaders should be more careful in choosing targets and less reliant on drones overall. He recommends the elimination of signature strikes (in which the individual is targeted on the basis only of suspicious behavior) and the creation of a nonpartisan independent commission to review targeted killings.”

This seems completely sensible to me and the least we can do to bring some manner of sanity and oversight to this new method of “distance warfare.” I hope someone sends a copy of this book to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump immediately.


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