An American World of Drone Warfare
The U.S. has acquired experience in using drones against suspected terrorists and other kinds of its foes in at least six countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.
U.S. officials have disclosed plans for further deployment of its drone planes in East Africa. A base on the Seychelles for Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles existed from September 2009 to spring 2011. Now, the U.S. has decided to reopen it. Another one is to be established in Ethiopia, in addition to the existing one in Djibouti.
Now the whole region of East Africa and the Gulf of Aden is going to be covered by U.S. drones. The area for this relatively new type of combat is expanding, and one could only wonder whether there is going to be an end to it.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan the drone strikes resulted in numerous casualties among civilians with a ratio of militants to civilians being hard to determine…
The political consequences are also well known. The U.S. has spoilt its relations with long-time allies in the region – both Pakistan and the present government of Afghanistan.
The difference between a drone aircraft and, say, an F-16 fighter is that the former is operated from a computer which can be located hundreds and even thousands miles from the actual battlefield. This reduces the number of casualties among the military, but not among the local population. For any U.S. president this will definitely mean additional points in the public opinion.
But, on the other hand, all this looks like turning a real war (which is always a tragedy) into a kind of computer game when the operator of a drone aircraft can easily confuse a virtual picture with reality. Thus, any new war will be simply turned into a game, which it definitely isn’t.
And this is what is really alarming.