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In praise of UAVs (drones)


Kevin Parlon

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For all the stink raised about the use of US Military Drones and criticism of their increased use by Obama, casual observers might be forgiven for thinking that the use of these drones must be resulting in increased rates of reckless destruction of innocents. Well, the opposite is actually the case. Civilian deaths in Afghanistan are not only down overall (despite determined efforts by the Taliban) but the number of deaths due to the US Military (a small and shrinking fraction of all civilian deaths to begin with) has slid by 42% year on year.

Civilian deaths (which are of course life-shattering catastrophes for those who lose loved ones) are an unavoidable consequence of war so this is very positive news indeed as the drones are not only very effective against the enemy but have the added benefit of hugely reducing civilian casualties to boot.

Drones, war, and civilian casualties: How unmanned aircraft reduce collateral damage. - Slate Magazine
 

Amnesiac

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Official figures on civilian deaths from drones have been questioned. You can think of it as a conspiracy, or maybe it's just difficult to tally the numbers. Either way, I have no trouble imagining the US low-balling the number when Obama has been so active with this strategy. I'll take the stats with a pinch of salt.
 

neiphin

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For all the stink raised about the use of US Military Drones and criticism of their increased use by Obama, casual observers might be forgiven for thinking that the use of these drones must be resulting in increased rates of reckless destruction of innocents. Well, the opposite is actually the case. Civilian deaths in Afghanistan are not only down overall (despite determined efforts by the Taliban) but the number of deaths due to the US Military (a small and shrinking fraction of all civilian deaths to begin with) has slid by 42% year on year.

Civilian deaths (which are of course life-shattering catastrophes for those who lose loved ones) are an unavoidable consequence of war so this is very positive news indeed as the drones are not only very effective against the enemy but have the added benefit of hugely reducing civilian casualties to boot.

Drones, war, and civilian casualties: How unmanned aircraft reduce collateral damage. - Slate Magazine
in every war
 

GDPR

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Drones are good in that they make the US armed forces' death and injury negligible, and also if they are substantially reducing civilian deaths in these current wars.

It is difficult to get accurate stats and reports from the areas where US drones are used, but I have read of children there being absolutely terrified if they hear anything like the sound of a drone. Now two questions arise: do the drones make sounds, except that of destruction when they hit their targets? Is the report accurate about terrified children?

Drones will be used by anti-west forces, eventually. What comes around, etc. I am sure the US is also working on drone detection and destruction as I write.
 

Franker65

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Jun 7, 2012
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Civilian deaths in Afghanistan are not only down overall (despite determined efforts by the Taliban) but the number of deaths due to the US Military (a small and shrinking fraction of all civilian deaths to begin with) has slid by 42% year on year.
It's usually civilian deaths in Pakistan that cause the most controversy as the drone strikes are a violation of that country's sovereignty. Still, the modern Predator and Reaper platforms are far from reckless - the laser guided hellfire missiles they carry are relatively accurate and do not cause mass casualties. Many of the targets surround themselves with wives/kids in much the same way Bin Laden did when his house was raided.

Unfortunately, when you strike a car containing an Al-Qaeda target, more often than not, you'll kill the guy's family as well. And if the drones weren't carrying out these attacks, I'm sure an F-16 or something similar would be. So far, they have been credited with dismantling the Al-Qaeda leadership and plunging the organisation into chaos. It's a dirty unconventional war. The US/NATO use drones, strike the enemy from afar and sometimes civilians get killed. The Taliban use IEDs, strike the enemy from afar and civilians die far more often.
 
D

Dylan2010

Irish people were quick to say that Maggie T was the best recruiter for the IRA. Drones seems to fall into the general pot of how to irritate millions of peasants which will help create the next generation of terrorists.
 

Kevin Parlon

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Irish people were quick to say that Maggie T was the best recruiter for the IRA. Drones seems to fall into the general pot of how to irritate millions of peasants which will help create the next generation of terrorists.
By killing and injuring less of them? That's what we hear alright, but it doesn't stack up, given the hugely reduced numbers of collateral damage caused by their use over conventional airstrikes?
 

ManUnited

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Nov 16, 2009
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Drones are good in that they make the US armed forces' death and injury negligible, and also if they are substantially reducing civilian deaths in these current wars.

It is difficult to get accurate stats and reports from the areas where US drones are used, but I have read of children there being absolutely terrified if they hear anything like the sound of a drone. Now two questions arise: do the drones make sounds, except that of destruction when they hit their targets? Is the report accurate about terrified children?

Drones will be used by anti-west forces, eventually. What comes around, etc. I am sure the US is also working on drone detection and destruction as I write.
That soldiers are not coming back in body bags is a problem Grace. It removes a powerful restraining factor on politicians' willingness to go to war. The public don't like it when the body count goes up, and the dogs of war lose their support.
 
D

Dylan2010

By killing and injuring less of them? That's what we hear alright, but it doesn't stack up, given the hugely reduced numbers of collateral damage caused by their use over conventional airstrikes?
small picture stuff, the hunger strikers in NI werent even part of the general public. What inside knowledge do you have of what will make millions of peasants "like" you more or less?
 
B

Boggle

For all the stink raised about the use of US Military Drones and criticism of their increased use by Obama, casual observers might be forgiven for thinking that the use of these drones must be resulting in increased rates of reckless destruction of innocents. Well, the opposite is actually the case. Civilian deaths in Afghanistan are not only down overall (despite determined efforts by the Taliban) but the number of deaths due to the US Military (a small and shrinking fraction of all civilian deaths to begin with) has slid by 42% year on year.

Civilian deaths (which are of course life-shattering catastrophes for those who lose loved ones) are an unavoidable consequence of war so this is very positive news indeed as the drones are not only very effective against the enemy but have the added benefit of hugely reducing civilian casualties to boot.

Drones, war, and civilian casualties: How unmanned aircraft reduce collateral damage. - Slate Magazine
I can see how drones have the potential to reduce casualties as the soldier isn't afraid of dying if too slow to shoot but it is a scary thought as it makes killing people into a video game and makes war far more likely.

I'd say the taliban love them. Every person killed/hurt/scared by a drone probably recruits 10 in his place.
 

Cassandra Syndrome

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Aug 23, 2009
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16,908
In praise of MURDER. I see this place is as classy as ever.

Here's a better idea that doesn't cost a dime. Don't send any murdering machines to these places at all.
 

RahenyFG

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Jun 17, 2010
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Great for Call of Duty to help you beat your enemy but in real life they do serious human damage.
 

H.R. Haldeman

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Oct 1, 2008
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Drones are a proxy for people's objection to the United States' right to wage war in Afghanistan at all. Or, perhaps, an objection to American foreign policy in general, past, present and future.

Which of course are entirely legitimate opinions to hold, but they are not the same thing as having objections to drones per se. There's a muddle to the debate in this regard.
 
B

Boggle

Drones are a proxy for people's objection to the United States' right to wage war in Afghanistan at all. Or, perhaps, an objection to American foreign policy in general, past, present and future.

Which of course are entirely legitimate opinions to hold, but they are not the same thing as having objections to drones per se. There's a muddle to the debate in this regard.
How would we feel if we were under threat from drones? There used to be some honour in war which was reduced with the introduction of long range weapons. With drones it is now gone forever and war will be far more common in the future. Next step is robotic infantry and then the powerful will no longer need public support and will be able to do what they like.

It won't be a threat of a court case but a threat of a military strike for downloading that movie.
 

Clanrickard

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Apr 25, 2008
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33,022
In praise of MURDER. I see this place is as classy as ever.

Here's a better idea that doesn't cost a dime. Don't send any murdering machines to these places at all.
Here's an even better idea. The bearded savages who want to use suicide bombers to kill as many people as possible, throw acid in women's faces and shoot girls for going to school could stop their activities and behave like human beings and there would be no need for these drones.
 

H.R. Haldeman

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How would we feel if we were under threat from drones? There used to be some honour in war which was reduced with the introduction of long range weapons. With drones it is now gone forever and war will be far more common in the future. Next step is robotic infantry and then the powerful will no longer need public support and will be able to do what they like.

It won't be a threat of a court case but a threat of a military strike for downloading that movie.


Totally untrue Boggle. War is hell. There is no honour or mercy or discrimination to it and there never was. Is is bad in all instances and without exception. The drone war is no different. The only question is about degrees. Are drones less bad than other forms of war-making? That is the question the article asks, and it is a question worthy of more than a generic objection to the horrors of war, which nobody should disagree with.
 

Hitch 22

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Dec 26, 2011
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How would we feel if we were under threat from drones?
Why would we be under threat from drones?

There used to be some honour in war which was reduced with the introduction of long range weapons.
The terrorists behead, amputate, stone, shoot, bomb and hijack. So f*ck 'em.

With drones it is now gone forever and war will be far more common in the future.
Wars are actually becoming less common and deaths from conflicts are going down.

Next step is robotic infantry and then the powerful will no longer need public support and will be able to do what they like.
When noble born knights in armor probably had the same whinge when their luxury of riding on horseback and cutting down peasants came to an end when there were being killed by peasants with longbows and crossbows.

It won't be a threat of a court case but a threat of a military strike for downloading that movie.
Give me a break!:lol:
 
D

Dylan2010

I believe people in the US are messing around with mounting machine guns on model airplanes, how long before terrorists start dropping hand granades into shopping areas from something bought from a toy shop. Its time to disengage, not come up with more "clever" ways of recruiting terrorists.
 
B

Boggle

Totally untrue Boggle. War is hell. There is no honour or mercy or discrimination to it and there never was. Is is bad in all instances and without exception. The drone war is no different. The only question is about degrees. Are drones less bad than other forms of war-making? That is the question the article asks, and it is a question worthy of more than a generic objection to the horrors of war, which nobody should disagree with.
Soldiers used to line up on a battlefield for a battle. There was at least some honour in that as you had to face your foe to beat him. Now it's done through a playstation... how can you argue that war is no less honourable than before?

Bad and all as war is, it will be a hell of a lot worse now that we have unmanned weapons.
 
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