I always wanted a remote control car when I was a kid. This may have been in part because I couldn’t legally drive, but even more so was this fascination about remotely driving a car that has stuck with me to this day.
Turns out I wasn’t alone.
The government has invested billions of dollars over the last decade into different unmanned vehicle programs (popularly known as drones), which leads me to believe that whoever made that remote controlled car I wanted is now inventing something a tad bit more complex.
In the last six years, drones have taken the forefront of news stories and have even been featured in movies and video games. In almost every instance, they are portrayed first and foremost as aerial weapons of war. The public is drawn to stories of drones conducting assassinations and accidentally killing innocent people, or the constitutionality of using a drone strike to kill a U.S. citizen on American soil.
More political and social discussions are bound to arise concerning these remote controlled machines and how we use them, but my concern is deeper than the current concerns over the efficacy and constitutionality that is currently being debated.
By developing more sophisticated drones, it’s likely that our soldiers will be put in harm’s way far less than any time in history, but I believe that our penchant for violence will increase with it.
Please bear in mind that I’m in no way advocating that we discontinue the use of military drones; they’ve proved effective on a number of occasions and will continue to be helpful on the field of battle.
However, one of the reasons wars become unpopular is that soldiers and civilians dislike the idea of running into a barrage of bullets or losing loved ones.
Militarized drones take away that fear of dying on a battlefield. Before you know it, other countries start fighting back with drones of their own, and then we find ourselves in a real pickle.
When drones fight drones, I’m afraid our opinion of war will be akin to playing the next Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game. This may seem like an amusing notion until war becomes a popular form of foreign policy as it was in the dark ages.
I’ll admit that a firm solution to the problem evades me, like the remote controlled car I never received as a child. It may be firmer legislation on the use of drones or something entirely different.
Either way, the government and the public need to be wary that they don’t fall into the belief that unmanned vehicles take the violence out of war for both sides.