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Do Drones Undermine Democracy? – NYTimes.com

Peter W. Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, argues that, “[d]rones are blurring the civilian and military roles in war and circumventing the constitutional mandate for authorizing it,” in the 1/22/12 Opinion section of the New York Times.  Singer writes about killings by the U.S. Government using unmanned aerial vehicles:

And now we possess a technology that removes the last political barriers to war. The strongest appeal of unmanned systems is that we don’t have to send someone’s son or daughter into harm’s way. But when politicians can avoid the political consequences of the condolence letter — and the impact that military casualties have on voters and on the news media — they no longer treat the previously weighty matters of war and peace the same way.

Singer, whose book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century was named a Book of the Year in 2009 by The Financial Times, is not arguing about the morality of the drone strikes.  Rather, he explains his concern about the policy and legal implications of this technology, writing:

I do not condemn these strikes; I support most of them. What troubles me, though, is how a new technology is short-circuiting the decision-making process for what used to be the most important choice a democracy could make. Something that would have previously been viewed as a war is simply not being treated like a war.

The article is entitled: “Do Drones Undermine Democracy?” and the permalink for the article is: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/opinion/sunday/do-drones-undermine-democracy.html .

Do Drones Undermine Democracy? – NYTimes.com

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