Staff Editorial: Drones destroy more than targets

By Duke Staff

As the War on Terror continues in Pakistan, lives are being both lost and saved thanks to modern technology. The evolution of weapons is one of the key components of this development and has been argued for centuries whether this decision is morally just or not. Explosives, artillery, blades and all other forms of weaponry have slowly become accepted into the battle front but what we currently face speculation on is a new species of weapon all its own: Drones.

Drones used in warfare have become a pressing concern among political factions, many considering the technology an act of war crime. Other countries are calling for transparency toward drone use in an attempt to minimize victims and institute some form of global regulation.

These controlled agents can be designed with virtually any task to enter dangerous combat zones that would be considered extremely difficult compared to human force. While drones have reduced deaths among our troops significantly, these remote controlled weapons have also been endangering the lives of innocent civilians.

According to a recent article in The Guardian titled ‘US drone strikes could be classed as war crimes’ 900 civilian deaths from 2004 to 2012 have been reported due to drone strikes in Pakistan alone. This data was compiled by Amnesty International, a human rights group looking to bring justice to those victims. In contrast, the U.S. has repeatedly stated that the number of drone related deaths is far smaller.

The conflict we are faced with is not the use of drones, but the current accuracy of them.

According to the same article from The Guardian, drones often times will circle their target for hours, even days targeting specific quadrants so as to minimize damage to surrounding areas and their inhabitants. But when attacks go off course and civilians’ lives are taken, many are left questioning the accuracy of these modern technologies.

With the aim of reducing casualties and destroying specific targets, drones in theory are practical weapons in which the U.S. should continue to invest time and resources. But what must first be solved is the effectiveness of these devices.

The cannon was designed to launch large forms of artillery into an enemy’s lines. The torpedo was created to propel explosive war-heads through water in hopes of detonating the targets. Today’s modern drone however is claiming to minimize collateral damage while still destroying its target, a concept yet to be fully realized.