A Final Word on Drones and Reaper (doc 20 pages)
A Final Word on Drones and Reaper
Last week I distributed a five part series on drones, specifically the MQ-9 Reaper. It was published at Time Magazine’s Battleland blog. This last message on the series distributes each of the five parts and the entire paper as originally written for any who might be looking for a missed part or to read the paper as one piece. But also, I attempt here to raise some broader issues.
My paper addressed Reaper as a physical system, and I take a few shots at some of the more uninformed things that have been written about drones by some people who, had they looked more into the data, probably would have been a little less effusive about the “revolution in warfare” and expectation that drones should naturally replace manned aircraft for air combat roles in the foreseeable future.
My paper only scratched the surface of the implications of the burgeoning love affair of the US defense community with drones. Some of those issues have already been thoroughly discussed in the press: such as the use of unmanned systems to pursue air to ground combat roles in friendly, ambiguous and hostile countries as a “safe” way to pursue policy makers’ objectives. The endnotes in the first part of the series referenced several excellent articles on this issue, or you might want to read Andrew Cockburn’s more recent essay in the London Review of Books at http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n05/andrew-cockburn/drones-baby-drones.