The United States has been employing the use of drones for quite some time now, and much controversy has surrounded their usage in warfare. Personally, I approve of their employment. I believe that drones are especially useful for fighting the kind of war that we find ourselves embroiled in currently. Let me be clear, I am not arguing for their use here on domestic territory, I simply want to express my approval for drone use in combat areas.
The kind of war that we are fighting now is different from ones the world has seen in the past. Instead of fighting against a nation with borders and a capital city, we are fighting against organizations that hide in the shadows. And instead of fighting against soldiers that wear distinct uniforms which clearly display their allegiance, we are fighting terrorists who blend in perfectly with their surroundings. To defeat this enemy, namely Al-Qaida or the Taliban, we cannot march with armies, capture and hold down cities in sovereign nations and impose martial law. This kind of enemy must be removed with surgical precision, and drones are the surgeon’s tools of choice.
Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide several advantages in warfare that cannot be contested. Since drones are unmanned, American lives are not at risk. Drones in combat zones are operated by pilots from a military base out in Nevada, who are not in danger of being shot or killed by militants or insurgents. Being removed from the threat of death, pilots make better judgments than their counterparts stationed in the war zones wielding weapons. This leads to reduced collateral damage, something that is very desirable for the United States and the nations where we are conducting these operations.
Because drones do not carry any human flight crews; they transcend the limitations normally imposed on any item utilizing a human element. Pilots can only fly aircraft for so long until they must take care of their needs, whereas drones are liberated from these humanly constraints. Some records detail instances where drones have been in flight for upwards of three days. Additionally, drones can also pull off aerial maneuvers beyond the capabilities of humans. For example, they can make much tighter turns.
Regardless of the ethical consequences of drone use, other nations will inevitably use drones regardless of the actions of the U.S. Other nations have started to develop and use drone technology and will continue to do so. The world is moving towards high-tech warfare, and the United States can either be at the forefront or it can fall behind, and falling behind will have dire consequences for the future of our nation. In warfare, victory goes to the side with the best weapons. Other nations, such as Great Britain, have been developing drone technology for themselves.
To reiterate what I have said earlier, drones are useful in combat zones. The numerous benefits that we have already begun to see are not likely to be given up, and the United States has a duty to stay in the weapons development game that every other nation plays. Given the kind of war that we are fighting, and the kind of enemy we are fighting against, we need weapons with capabilities like drones to win.
Adam Farence is a second-year student majoring in history. He can be reached at AF764146@wcupa.edu.