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Thread: In praise of UAVs (drones)

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    Politics.ie Member Kevin Parlon's Avatar
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    Default In praise of UAVs (drones)

    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
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    Politics.ie Member Amnesiac's Avatar
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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.

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    Politics.ie Member neiphin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Parlon View Post
    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
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    Politics.ie Member gracethepirate's Avatar
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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.
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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.

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    Dylan2010
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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.

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    Politics.ie Member Kevin Parlon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan2010 View Post
    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?
    "It is amazing how many people think that they can answer an argument by attributing bad motives to those who disagree with them." - Thomas Sowell

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    Quote Originally Posted by gracethepirate View Post
    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.

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    Dylan2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Parlon View Post
    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?

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    Politics.ie Member seabhcan's Avatar
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    I'm sure it wont be long before US police are using these things to target gangs and fugitives.

    "Civilian casualties are an unavoidable consequence of policing" they will tell us.

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