Notably, it is unethical for the United States to continue using drone strikes abroad. Human and Humanitarian rights norms restrict the exercise of remote violence (Bonino, 2021). With drones, countries can kill and main at an increasing distance, both psychological and physical. Through the deontological theories, people’s actions can either be wrong or right regardless of the effects (MacKinnon & Fiala, 2018). Therefore, the advocates for its uses indicate that drones are better to use and cause less harm than the aircraft and missiles, stating it is humanitarian violence. Hence, the content raises popular and political discussions, especially in countries with high technology access and extensive use of drones.
Why drone use is unethical
Considerably, it is unethical due to the following. First, using drones causes harm to national, global, and local governance. There is an impact of increasing drone use on international security and peace. A country like the US will be highly criticized by others like Pakistan, thus affecting global togetherness. Therefore, many countries can design their drones, thus sparking global warfare, leading to massive death and destruction of property. Similarly, the secrecy of the drone program has harmful impacts on the system of accountability and transparency on the rule of law. The US drones have led to the death of hundreds of civilians, many of them children, but the government refuses to acknowledge the details. Their actions result in anger and fear among the populations in the targeted areas.
Second, drone strikes threaten human rights protection. Innocent people are killed when a drone strike takes place. Countries use drones by believing it is better to kill the terrorist before they plan and execute terrorist attacks. However, the people they call terrorists have not committed terrorism themselves and may not be an imminent danger to other countries. For example, The US drone strike on Pakistan in 2011 led to the death of 45 civilians, including children, and ten causalities. Upon interrogation, the US intelligence states there were no civilian causalities despite the findings.
Third, drone attacks have an impact on the environment. Nuclear weapons used in the drones expose toxic remnants that lead to pollution hence threatening the ecosystem and human health. The pollutants pose a risk to human health and have vast effects, especially in populated areas. Similarly, the strike can cause damage to infrastructures such as power, sanitation facilities, and water, thus causing risk to their health. The missile used on drones contains explosive fills that impact groundwater and soils, thus posing a risk to the survival of the present and future civilians.
Fourth, drone strike causes traumatic harm to civilians (Heszlein-Lossius et al., 2019). They feel treachery and betrayal when drone operations are carried out. People start viewing the sky as a medium of death, thus keeping them in fear. The perception results in mental stresses that lead to physical distress, especially for families who have lost a loved one due to the drones. The mental health of people matters; thus, it is vital to address the shortcoming of using the drone. For example, the children will unlikely to enjoy their daily routines due to the depression and sadness that occur due to the anxiety of the surprise attacks.
The US view on use of drones
In contrast, the US states it is moral to use drones for the following reasons. Firstly, drones are cheaper to manufacture and use than human-crewed aircraft. At the same time, they do not put US military personnel like pilots at risk. Secondly, drones can track the terrorist to where they are doing their planning (Bevilacqua et al., 2021). It can notice their actions as terrorists do not wear a uniform and have the potential to employ camouflaged and mundane objects. They use suicide vests and plant bombs on cars, thus signifying the rules of war have changed. Therefore, drones are efficient in combating terrorist actions. Third, they indicate the use of drones to be accurate and precise, for example, while targeting automobiles, individuals, or particular rooms in a large house. The drones can integrate intelligence, thus effectively minimizing harm to innocent people. Fourth, the potential to executive its functions requires only a few personnel who manage the equipment; thus, it is objective for the country and the military force to use lower costs, thus saving its revenue.
From both perspectives, I judge that the US actions of using drones are unethical. The use of drones causes innocent death and vast effects, thus indicating the consequences of their actions are wrong. The citizens expect to live a happy life regardless of the government’s actions. Therefore, the effects do not conform to human dignity and rationality requirements when they use drones.
- What are acceptable or unacceptable policies for the development of drones?
- How can the government be made accountable for its drone strike effects?
- How can transparency on drone strike effects be enhanced among government officials?
The lack of transparency has resulted in massive killing programs, thus undermining the rule of law and losing civilians significantly. The US has carried out hundreds of drone attacks resulting in the death of many civilians, including children. Without meaningful information, the affected populations cannot debate whether the use of drone strikes is legal or unwise. Despite the effects, the US is still using and striking using drones, thus indicating the increased impunity among officials. There is a need for transparency in the government to be accountable when unethical abuse occurs.
Bevilacqua, M., Morelli, D., & Uzan, P. S. R. (2021). Striking the implied volatility of US drone companies. International Review of Financial Analysis, 77, 101832.
Bonino, J. (2021). Transparency into darkness: how the United States use of double-tap drone strikes violates ihl principles of distinction and proportionality.
Heszlein-Lossius, H., Al-Borno, Y., Shaqqoura, S., Skaik, N., Giil, L. M., & Gilbert, M. F. (2019). Traumatic amputations caused by drone attacks in the local population in Gaza: a retrospective cross-sectional study. The Lancet Planetary Health, 3(1), e40-e47. doi:10.1016/S2542-5196(18)30265-1
MacKinnon, B. & Fiala, A. (2018). Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues, Ninth Edition.Boston
Shah, A. (2018). Do US drone strikes cause blowback? Evidence from pakistan and beyond. International Security, 42(4), 47-84.