Drones Are Controversial But Legal

U.S. Navy Photo

AA Font size + Print

Just because drones are more technologically advanced than other weapons doesn't mean they violate international law. By James Jay Carafano

I hate Obama’s drone war — but, under the law, he has a perfect right to fight one. Armed drones in war may be new, but their use introduces no new ethical or legal issues.

In the Western world, the laws of war are built on the foundation of the Just War tradition. The principles for employing force are fairly simple and realistic. The use of force has to be under a competent sovereign authority. And it has to be proportional—that is, the level of force used must be appropriate to the military mission, with appropriate care taken to avoid harming innocents.

Those rules apply regardless of the weaponry involved, be it hand grenades, nukes… or armed drones. As I said, nothing new here.

Our laws and treaty obligations place a legal framework around the principles of the Just War tradition. At times, the United States has modified these legal instruments to account for the unusual destructive power of certain weapons — their ability to inflict intentional and unnecessary cruelty or to pose an indiscriminate threat to innocents. For example, the U.S. helped pen conventions on poison gas and biological weapons, as well as treaties to help stem the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Drones, however, present none of these issues. There is nothing novel or unusual about the destructive potential of a drone strike.

Read more at The Atlantic

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download
  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Top 5 Findings: Security of Internet of Things To Be Mission-Critical

    As federal agencies increasingly leverage these capabilities, government security stakeholders now must manage and secure a growing number of devices, including those being used remotely at the “edge” of networks in a variety of locations. With such security concerns in mind, Government Business Council undertook an indepth research study of federal government leaders in January 2017. Here are five of the key takeaways below which, taken together, paint a portrait of a government that is increasingly cognizant and concerned for the future security of IoT.

    Download
  • Coordinating Incident Response on Posts, Camps and Stations

    Effective incident response on posts, camps, and stations is an increasingly complex challenge. An effective response calls for seamless conversations between multiple stakeholders on the base and beyond its borders with civilian law enforcement and emergency services personnel. This whitepaper discusses what a modern dispatch solution looks like -- one that brings together diverse channels and media, simplifies the dispatch environment and addresses technical integration challenges to ensure next generation safety and response on Department of Defense posts, camps and stations.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.