Posted by: Tony Carson | 22 October, 2009

Do Robots Go To War Under A Flag?

And are drones covered by the rules of war?

If yes, then US has invaded, not only Iraq and Afghanistan but Pakistan and Syria and God only knows where else.

Drones, controlled by soldiers as far away as the Nevada desert, are in constant flight over Iraq and Afghanistan which have become laboratories for the development of ever increasingly sophisticated aerial and ground robots.

And the US is creating new armies, navies and airforces of these drones and bots at a frantic pace.

In his fascinating book, Wired For War, author P.W. Singer writes:

“In a congressional hearing on February 8, 2000 Senator John Warner of Virginia, Chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee mandated into the Pentagon budget that by 2010, one-third of all the aircraft designed to attack behind enemy lines be unmanned and that by 2015, one-third of all ground combat vehicles be driverless.”

His statistics-laden narrative indicates that the US is well on its way to meeting its objectives. Drones and bots, in a stunning variety of shapes and sizes, are everywhere US troops are and they are in greater and greater demand to carry out a wide range of missions, from surveillance to KP to combat.

And they are in huge demand, not only by the troops, but particularly by the command who are under increasing pressure to keep US soldiers out of harm’s way.

But the issue of the morality of robots in war is not under public discussion. Indeed, Singer’s book just begins to pull into focus many of the issues of robotic war, from cost to collateral damage.

And there has been a lot of reckless killing. Just this week Wired reported Up to 320 Civilians Killed in Pakistan Drone War; Real News report the deaths of Syrian construction workers in Drones and international law. Much of the story of the Afghanistan war has been about civilian deaths, often caused by robots.

And just how good are they anyway? There are many who think this sci-fi approach to war will ultimately back-fire on the US. Yes, there is a shock and awe element to being tracked by a bot armed with a machine gun but there is also an emerging recognition by the more primitive opposition that if they can just get to a few warm bodies the US will to continue its wars will evaporate.

The implications of robots at war is far too deadly an issue to leave up to the vested interests of the military.

Robots are being punched out in increasingly lethal numbers and no one seems to care.

Is it acceptable that the US is illegally flying its drones into foreign countries and killing innocent civilians?

Don’t these robots kill in the name of a people, under a flag?



  1. The object of a conflict is to win and this writer is extremely naive to think and dictate political and military policy by writing such a loser mentality article and then trying to sell it to the public as some moral .
    If the enemy has any effective weapon to use against us they will use it period,
    so Tony Carson go sleep with your mommy she is waiting up for you

  2. As a builder of robots I am shocked that the last comment was so Naive. I am dismayed that these creations of our genius are being used in war. They have the potential to help mankind survive and thrive. We are opening Pandora’s box and it will be difficult to step back. Let us consider our first steps down this path with great care.

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