Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Remotely Piloted Aircraft ("Drones") the ethical and legal considerations.

An excellent discussion from the George W. Bush Institutes' show Ideas in Action

Featuring Gary Solis of Georgetown U., P. W. Singer of Brookings and Abraham Sofaer of the Hoover Institution.

An extended discussion of the ramifications involved with civilians (CIA personnel) flying these aircraft. What is their status under the law of armed conflict? As use of these aircraft spreads, the laws of war, just war theory, treaties, all will have to adapt. But, Sofaer makes a good point. There is precedent for CIA personnel as combatants. CIA folks helped target in Afghanistan. They were on the ground, and therefore combatants. Answer the question how they are to be treated legally, and you've gone a long way toward answering how remote pilots should be treated.

The discussion of collateral damage seems to have missed a primary point: CD is lessened with the use of this technology (despite ID errors that can be made), so, at least in regard to that aspect of armed conflict, it seems RPA are morally justifiable. Certainly more so than blind missile attacks. This is especially so when they are used with low yield munitions and extended monitoring of potential targets. But, Singer points out a frustrating PR fact. We make these efforts with the end in mind of limiting CD, but some in Pakistan hold us to blame, and consider us "enemy number one" for using "drones."

All three are agreed that the laws of war are lagging behind technology. That is also true of the ethics of warfare. But, as long as there is war, and technological advancement, this will be so. No reason not to forge ahead and work toward solutions to these questions.

Will Afghan "surge" be a success?

Discussion between:

"Joining me to discuss this topic are Thomas Donnelley, director of the Center for Defense Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He worked with a group of military experts to develop the strategy for a military surge in Iraq. Matthew Hoh, served as a marine captain in Iraq. In 2009 he went to Afghanistan as a civilian political officer. He resigned later that year protesting continued U.S. involvement in what he termed a 35-year-old civil war. Andrew Exum, a fellow with the center for a New American Security. He served as an army captain in Afghanistan. He's helped assess the current strategy there as a civilian advisor to General Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. The topic this week, the surge in Afghanistan. Can the U.S. use the same playbook it used in Iraq?"

Bryan Magee interviews self, and Frederick Copleston, subject: Arthur Schopenhauer

Woody Allen: My film "Bananas" was really a bit of wishful thinking.

From the LAT

Ignorant rabble are just messing things up. Damn nuisance that democracy:

"It would be good...if (Obama) could be dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly," Allen is quoted as saying.

Allen is also said to have said:

I am pleased with Obama. I think he is brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him.

Out of the way wascally wepublicans!

Tuesday Blues: Etta James - Tell Mama