Lethal drones have been used in the last 12 years by the United States to strike targets and eliminate terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and a few other countries. Details of how armed drones are being used, in or outside of declared wars, are closely guarded secrets by all three states known to use them.
However, these drones have also been responsible for killing and injuring thousands of civilians, including women and children, besides destroying homes and property. The US and its allies have claimed that the drone strikes have been spectacularly successful—in terms of both finding and killing targeted enemies. Drones have been projected as a military necessity and their market is growing fast, especially for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The use of unmanned drones to target belligerents raises many complex issues. It is of crucial importance that traditional ethical rules and practices are applied; that rules of international law are observed even while engaging with terrorists. There are a few who justify the use of drones, but their argument is somewhat similar to the argument used for dropping atomic bombs over Japan in WWII. Lethal drones are a weapon of rich nations who have used them to attack poor, defenceless nations. This book discusses the ethical, legal and strategic issues relating to the use of drones in armed conflict.
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