Drones in an ethically unknown territory

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  • Pippin Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 13, 2012 3:27 p.m.

    @ SG in SLC

    Thank you for your respectful disagreement.

    It seems to me that international warfare agreements like those you named are flawed, since they elevate Nazism, Communism, or Islamic Totalitarianism to equal footing with Freedom (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness). It seems like we're saying that all these causes have equal validity and therefore, should fighting break out, all should abide by equal rules of engagement. It is this moral egalitarianism that I disdain.

    So, I argue that our own moral correctness, rather than the methodology should be the topic of debate. Freedom and liberty is the moral. Compulsion and all its subsets is not. Are we right to fight? If so, then the only limit that seems reasonable to me in a struggle for life and liberty is the limit of victory i.e. once unconditional surrender is achieved, the fighting should abate. And morally, that victory must come with the greatest speed and least destruction to a country's own soldiers and treasure as possible... even if that victory comes from an orbiting or airborne weapons platform.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2012 5:45 p.m.

    "If warfare is moral, the means of the warfare is NOT up for debate."

    I respectfully disagree. Civilized humanity has moved beyond *jus ad bellum* (acceptable justifications to engage in warfare) and also recognizes *jus in bello* (limits to acceptable warfare conduct), which includes international humanitarian law, the Geneva and Hague Conventions, and the legal framework which dictates the Rules of Engagement for various military operations.

    The discussion regarding the ethics of armed UAV use (I don't think anyone is questioning UAV use for surveillance and intelligence-gathering) needs to be in the context of established *jus in bello*, weighing (among other things) the outcomes of armed UAV use versus prohibition and the relative likelihood of armed UAV use by enemy combatants against U.S. interests.

    Right now, I'm not sure where I stand on this complex issue.

  • Pippin Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 9, 2012 12:27 a.m.

    No, there is absolutely no discussion that needs to take place concerning the use of drones. This editorial is totally confused. The conversation that needs to take place is the conversation that will un-confuse the author of this editorial: the morality of warfare. Clearly the author is squeemish about warfare and likely considers it immoral to value his life over that of his would be killers.

    If warfare is moral, the means of the warfare is NOT up for debate. If war is moral, you can morally prosecute the war to a speedy and decisive end with whatever means and whatever ferocity and upon any supporting resource, even civilians, that is judged needful by those prosecuting the war with their own lives.

    Most importantly, if war is moral, then it is the nature of the enemy that makes it so. To expect our soldiers to play on an "even playing field" against an enemy of evil nature is an outrageous suggestion. Our soldiers fight for THEIR life and freedom and that of their loved ones. The honor of victory derives from the morality of the war's purpose (properly the defense of life and liberty), not from its methodology.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 6, 2012 7:46 p.m.


    how do you avoid a war when the bad guys blow up three buildings in New York and Washington murdering 4000 Americans in the process? I guess you could just do nothing and let them do it over and over and over again. Doubt that mentality would have worked in 1939 with a guy named Adolf. Peace through strength is what won the cold war - not appeasement and cut n run.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 6, 2012 4:32 p.m.


    "There is no way to fight a clean war."

    You can avoid it in the first place!

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 6, 2012 4:27 p.m.

    Not any more or less ethical than firing a missile or pilots carpet bombing cities in past wars or dropping the atomic bomb. In fact, if using drones could save lives, American and others (though well planned surgical strikes) than it could be argued that NOT using them is unethical...

    As Sherman said, "War is All Hell" and when a country chooses to fight, one should fight to win.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 6, 2012 3:46 p.m.

    SO what is more ethical - sending a drone to kill the bad guys and risking none of our troupes or sending in our own guys on the ground - losing many of them - and still killing the bad guys? Seems to me drones provide a way to save life and so I'm sure what this talk about ethics is all about. There is no way to fight a clean war.

  • Fred Bastiat Provo, UT
    Aug. 6, 2012 11:55 a.m.

    In WWII, fighter planes were used to target German and Japanese commanders. This greatly shortened the war and led to fewer Allied casualties. We have to remind ourselves that although the war on terror is not in the same scale as WWII, we face an enemy no less radical and no less evil. Against such we should employ whatever technology is the most efficient at defeating them. Just because other nations might use the tech in unethical ways doesn't mean we should abandon our own tools of war. I doubt anyone would have objected to targeted drone killing of Hitler, Himmler, or Goering.

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Aug. 6, 2012 11:44 a.m.

    NRA response: Drones don't kill people.......

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 6, 2012 9:51 a.m.

    cjb, agreed with the first two. But (3) are you going to find a way to fly a drone into a theater?

    But also, how about making sure all the wars we engage in are ethical, really necessary wars?

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 6, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    1. Drones are our most effective way to kill terrorists

    2. They kill terrorists with no loss of American life


    3 minimal loss of innocent life in theater.

    If this isn't ethical then I don't want ethical.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 6, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    As a pilot, I'm very worried about unmanned drones with no pilot's eyes in the cockpit. There is already enough danger of mid-air collisions for aircraft operating VFR (visual flight rules) without adding unpiloted aircraft to the sky.

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Aug. 6, 2012 7:49 a.m.

    Drones are a tool. It all depends on the application. If we were delivering medical supplies with them it would be fine.

    The applications need to be discussed. I don't think anyone here thinks about what it would be like to live under the constant threat of a wedding or other social event being bombed because some guest you don't even know is on the bad list of a country half way around the world.

    That actually sounds like terrorism to me. So no, I don't think we should be using drones, planes or any other weapon for terrorism.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Aug. 6, 2012 7:14 a.m.

    Amen. Part of the discussion should be whether or not we should be engaging win "Wars of Choice" regardless of the weaponry employed. And how do we determine whether a particular conflict is a war of choice, or one of necessity?

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 6, 2012 7:02 a.m.

    Personally I am more concerned with the drones that Federal, State, and Local either are or will be operating in the US. It's my understanding that the EPA is already using drones to monitor farmer's agricultural practices in the midwest. Police Departments are hoping to be able to use drones domestically. We better start having some conversations about drones.