The Pros and Cons of Drone Technology and Why it Should Never Become Routine

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Drones continue to perplex me. I believe that they are the best of all evils when it comes to combating terrorism worldwide. The Obama administration has embraced them and feels that they can help eliminate an imminent threat to the safety of the citizens of the United States. The drones have proven to be effective and have been a vital aspect in the abating of al Qaeda and the Taliban’s influence all over the Middle East. Since 2005, fifty top al Qaeda leaders have been killed including Anwar al- Awlaki, the American born extremist, Abu Yahya al-Libi, the second in command under Ayman al- Zawahiri, and Saeed al-Shihri, the second in command in Yemen’s branch.

With all of that being said, the idea of drone technology being used for the wrong purposes is extremely frightening. Drones should only be used for defense against dangerous terrorists abroad. Under no circumstances should they be used within the United States to kill anybody, even suspected terrorists. They should also never be used overseas to kill small-time criminals that pose no threat to the United States.

China almost gave the world a great example of when not to use drones. The Chinese government thought about using drones to kill a large-scale drug dealer located in Myanmar. The drug dealer killed a number of Chinese sailors, which initially prompted China’s angry response. Fortunately, China decided to hunt for the dealer and eventually arrest him.

If China did use a drone strike, they would have opened the floodgates for a litany of other unnecessary reasons to use the weapon. It would have also prompted other countries who have similar technology to use their drones on all enemies of the state no matter how minor they happen to be. Nobody wants to live in a world where drones do the work of police officers.

We, as global citizens, have a responsibility to make sure that the use of drones does not become casual or typical when it comes to fighting crime.  In order for that to happen, the Obama Administration might have to stop using them as often as he does. We still have time to make sure two things do not happen regarding the drone: they do not become a tool of local law enforcement and they do not end up in the hands of rogue regimes such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. To avoid those two occurrences, the United States might have to make short-term sacrifices that will pay off in the long-term.

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1 50th Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in 338th Drone Strike. The News. Web 4 Dec. 2012.

<http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-146419-50th-al-Qaeda-leader-killed-in-338th-drone-strike>

2 Perlez, Jane. Chinese Plan to Kill Drug Lord With Drone Highlights Military Advances. Web 20 Feb. 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/world/asia/chinese-plan-to-use-drone-highlights-military-advances.html?ref=global-home

Image from: http://dronewarsuk.wordpress.com

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16 responses to “The Pros and Cons of Drone Technology and Why it Should Never Become Routine

  1. I agree. Drones are very bad to be over used. But also, technology in generally is not the greatest to fully develop. It makes it so it is easier for a society to fall fast. One easy example is terrorism. A small event can spark fear into society. This is the weakness of nations today. They cannot prevent the effects terrorism has even though generally we invented the weapons terrorists are using.

  2. You bring up a good point Jason. As a society, we have to decide whether rapid technological advancements are worth the sometimes horrifying side effects. I personally believe that progress is inevitable in a free-market country like the U.S. However, laws and regulations must be enacted to control the dangers that come with advancement.

  3. I am not particularly in favor of drones, but there are both good and bad things about them. Sending anything, even pint-sized drones into another country to spy on their citizens or kill them cannot be expected to be a good thing. However, there are some benefits of drones. Border patrol security, emergency preparation and disaster response. I think that war has such a different meaning then it used to. A drone can spark so much chaos and things can go down hill very fast. I also feel like in most wars, too many innocent people are dying from them.

    Law enforcement (pursuit or search and rescue)

    • Agreeing with Olivia, there are many good things about drones and many bad things about them.
      PROS: 1. They defend us against any terrorist threats, without having to put an actually human’s life in danger. 2. They work quietly and efficiently.
      CONS: 1. There are people out there that are able to hack drones and use them for bad reasons. 2. Some drone attacks are unnecessary, but because we have the power to use them, we go ahead and cross the line sometimes. Over all, I do not know were I stand with this.

  4. People are against drones because they fear the unknown and are not confident in making decisions that effect others. Drones encourage people to ask/ think: “Is it right to allow machines to follow out human decisions?” Since there is no real answer to this question most fear it. Drones are controversial because they take lives. They are a terrific advancement when it comes to war technology, but also go against many peoples ethics. My own opinion is that drones will just create more restriction laws but countries are not going to do anything like band them because they are in a lot of ways moving us forward technologically.

  5. I am totally for Drones as long as they are being used in the right way. If they are being used for things such a taking down top terrorists abroad as we have been doing then thats fine. I think it’s a great way to take down our enemies with out putting ourselves at risk. It’s also much more convenient and less costly. However, a major problem with the Drones is that in almost every strike, many innocent people are killed and we absolutely can’t have that. It doesn’t matter who our target is, if innocent people are going to die as a result then we should’t fire one more Drone, ever. They also have to be used in moderation, they should never be used domestically and should not be used unless the intended target posses a major threat to the security of the country.

  6. I agree with Sabine and this article in many cases. First, i agree with Sabine because she brings up the point saying, that drones allow you to think of the worlds future, and them being able to handle human capabilities. With Siri, the talking and conversating app on the i-phone, and many more similar inventions, drones also allow you to think, can robots perform the sam actions as us? That was a valid point i felt Sabine made. Second of all, I definitely agree with this article. Drones are very over used, and they expose the whole society around the terrorist to danger. The missile could kill many innocent people, and this is not fair to the societies that do not know if a missile will come down at any minute. I don’t think it makes a difference if it is the U.S.A or a foreign country, the point is, that Drones should only be used in extreme emergency situations, and if we can hunt this guy down and put him in custody, that should always be the number 1 option.

  7. I agree in part with this article. Drones have been overused and have caused many unwanted casualties. But at the same time, you have to consider that if we stop using drones, the terrorist that we would be trying to target might get away. If this one terrorist escapes, he can potentially plan another attack which will definitely cause more than a “few” casualties. I think that drones should be kept in service but if there are options in a situation I think drones should be at the bottom of that list.

  8. I think the overuse of drones has crossed the line already. Drones are a huge advancement in war technology and can save troops from going and taking the target out themselves. However, when drones are used in areas that are highly populated, and there is a large chance of other innocent civilians being killed by the bomb to take the life of one or even two targets, it can cause moral issues in the people controlling the drones. These issues could be things such as the loss of value for human life, because of how easily they can just press a button and have them killed without a second thought. Another problem with overuse could be laziness from the people in charge, therefore making the US army more vulnerable, causing even more use of drones. Worst of all, countries will fight back. If the US is constantly bombing people without authorization, as they have done before, certain countries will retaliate. Overall, my view is that drones should be used, but used morally, strategically, and with rarity.

  9. I agree with this article that the US shouldn’t be as dependent as it is when it comes to drones, but you do have to really look at the benefits for having drones, while also looking at the many problems that we have with this newly developed technology. If you look at this in a US point of view having drones are great. None of our soildiers are in any harms way and its convieniet and also a money saver. But when you look at the other side of this problem many innocent people are dying from these drones. Now I do believe that we should still use drones but we are using it way to often, so my opinion is that drones should be used but we shouldnt be to dependent on this dangerous technology.

  10. I agree that Drones should not be used to kill people even if they are not good people. but i think that if they used non-lethal means of using drones, like using tranquilizers, the drones could be very useful.
    and dont use them on raids but use them for things like border patrols.

  11. I understand that people want to defend themselves and their people as best and as much as possible but drones, while they do that they also allow for others to go on the defense and/or attack more fiercely . So in the end drones just create more conflict, more people dying, and war, which costs a lot of money which could be used for all the social issues, hunger, education, health. Drones have a lot of repercussions if it all goes wrong and even if it all goes right ! And there has been examples of it already.

  12. Personally i do agree with drones but only to a certain extent. I believe that drones should be used on extreme groups or extreme people such as the Taliban or people such as Osama Bin Laden. One reason I think drones are good is because they do not put peoples lives at risk and instead put a machine at risk. Certain missions such as taking down leaders of the Taliban is very dangerous and would put many peoples lives at risk. But the drones can replace people and nobody but the person being targeted will be harmed. This also would not be taking away peoples jobs in the military because there are people needed to build drones, program drones, and control drones. The drones can save peoples lives and it can also provide people in the military with safe jobs.

  13. Being an American is hard to not support the drone program as it has been incredibly successful in the Middle East at combating terrorism. But taking a non-biased stance on the use of drones in a sovereign nation changes everything. If the government of a nation does not comply with an American drone an attack one should not take place. The use of drones also makes human life seem less valuable because there is no face behind killing only a machine with the driver tens of thousands of miles away. Tactically drones are an amazing invention but I personally fear that they are making killing to easy.

  14. The effectiveness of drones when combating terrorism misleads the government into believing they are the answer to every obstacle. Although drones have proclaimed many victories for the United States, they often pose a threat to the lives of many innocent civilians.
    Limitations must be placed on the use of drones. Without these limitations further conflicts can arise, the conflict in China is an example. With limitations and repercussions, the use of drones should continue. However, if innocent civilians continue to be killed and drones do not eliminate great threats to the United States, another less dangerous tactic of defense should evolve.

  15. It is difficult to say whether drone warfare has done more harm than good in the Middle East, but the evidence suggests they are helping limit terrorism. Drones save the lives of our American soldiers, and isn’t that the first and foremost rule regarding our government’s duty to its citizens? In the American constitution, it is stated that the American government is required to “provide for the common defense and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. Drones kill several innocent lives, but those lives could have been spared if the terrorists of the Middle East took responsibilities for their actions.

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