Drone Warfare Dehumanises Those Doing It and the People They Kill: The Collateral Damage

This article first crossposted on GR in April 2016 is still widely relevant until today.

In 2013 Lesley Docksey wrote ‘Old and New Wars’ – an article published in Global Research. After analysing the complexities of the ‘new wars’ she moves on to stress that the tools and training of modern warfare are dehumanising combatants – and those they kill: 

Take drones. It is hard to believe that the first armed drones were used in Afghanistan in 2001.  In less than ten years they have become an essential part of fighting war.

They are controlled from half a world away by people who have never been to the country they are targeting; who have no knowledge of the way of life, the culture of the little blobs of humanity they track in their monitors; who have no understanding of the political and corporate background to the ‘war’ they are fighting; and, most importantly, by people who are in no danger of having their own blood spilt.

The deaths they cause are meaningless to the hand that presses the button.  They have meaning enough for the people on the ground, gathering what they can of shattered bodies for burial, and unsurprisingly their use creates more so-called terrorists.

Killing at a distance dehumanizes those doing it – it is not killing but a computer game.  Scoring a ‘hit’ that involves no blood, no entrails, no broken lives brings no guilt, no remorse and no proper awareness of the hurt inflicted on others . . .” – though we add that there does seem to be a delayed reaction: the New York Times reported, “In the first study of its kind, researchers with the Defense Department have found that pilots of drone aircraft experience mental health problems like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress at the same rate as pilots of manned aircraft who are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan”.

drone dehumanizing war header

For further reading see: http://drones-and-war.weebly.com/dehumanizing-war.html

Lesley continues: “Using drones also dehumanizes the people they kill.  These are not fellow humans but terrorists, not civilians but collateral damage, not 8-year-old boys or old men of eighty but potential combatants.  The enemy becomes nothing more than a fly to be swatted, a worm to be stepped on.  President Obama has to personally authorise US drone strikes, more than 300 of them in his first four years of office.  That many of the deaths were of children cannot be disputed, regardless of the fact that the US insists that only ‘combatants’ are killed.

But at the beginning of December last year a senior US army officer speaking to the Marine Corp Times said that troops in Afghanistan were on the lookout for “children with potential hostile intent” – in other words, children could be deliberately targeted.  Lesley ends:

Yet a few days later, there was Obama weeping on camera over the shocking deaths of the Connecticut school children.  Afghan children obviously don’t rate tears . . . 

Read ‘Old and New Wars: “Dehumanizing” War. Armies facing Armies no longer happens?’ here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/old-and-new-wars-dehumanizing-war-killing-at-a-distance/5318115.

Articles by: Drone Warfare and Lesley Docksey

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