The military’s widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles to attack and surveil various war zones from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and others has been some what controversial as a weapon of war. But the ubiquitous drone is now being utilized in domestic police forces, presenting even more serious legal questions than before.
The use of drones is “a Supreme Court case waiting to happen,” wrote Peter W. Singer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, quoting an unnamed U.S. federal district court judge. The U.S. Defense Department operates more than 7,000 aerial drones and 12,000 unmanned ground systems, Singer wrote, and now police departments in Miami, Utah, and elsewhere have sought licenses to operate surveillance drones.
Dangerously, the Obama administration and the Pentagon have already tried to draw a distinction between engaging in war and utilizing deadly drones. They have argued that the use of drones in the various countries aforementioned is actually a police action, instead of an act of military aggression.
Singer writes that the U.S. Air Force says that its unmanned spy planes, if targeted by enemy radar, have the same right to retaliate as manned airplanes. But ascribing a right to self-defense to drones could lead to legal disputes and international crises, he wrote, “as well as a huge (and probably unintentional) first step for the cause of robots’ rights.”
“Using a submarine to attack shipping, for example, was once science fiction,” Singer wrote. “When it became reality, the dispute over ‘fair use’ of such technology” drew the U.S. into World War I after its ships were sunk by German submarines.
6 thoughts on “Legality of Drones Are Questionable, Dangerous”
But who is going to question the legality of drone wars? Not the inept US Congress. Not the sold-out-to-necons US courts that approve of anything the government wants. If patriot acts are legal, then drone wars must not only be legal but downright exemplars of US justice.
Legal? Says who?… It's whatever, wherever and whenever they want. The only constraint they understand is the cold hand of death around their wretched necks.
Over a thousand innocent civilians have been killed by the United States drone attacks in Pakistan.
These cowardly terrorist attacks, committed by the Ultimate Manifestation of Terror, the United States Government , just continues slaughtering entire communities of innocent Women and Children.
When we as Americans are too afraid to face our enemy eye to eye and only sneak and creep to murder innocent women and children, we strike terror into the hearts of the whole World, not just our helpless victims in Pashtunistan.
The Whole World watches America and is in Terror of the very poor representation of Christian Values and Freedom we have become. If anything the World will only hate us and turn to China for leadership and financing, while the United States diminishes from power and World prestige.
Yes, those who cause suffering, must then endure suffering. Fascist amerika IS in for a lot of suffering !
If police drones are completely unarmed, with no provision at all for weaponizing them, and they are used in a role as an observation platform ONLY I say sure go ahead; it's not any different from having a manned aircraft or helicopter in the sky and probably a lot cheaper.
HOWEVER, if the drones are armed in any way- and this includes such stores as tear gas, smoke, etc.- it is inevitable that one day someone will be killed by one by mistake. When that happens, expect everyone from Washington on down to the cop on the joystick to be named in a lawsuit. I wonder how many criminals will be trolling for black market Stingers to take down the drones?
It all will become crystal clear when the first drone attack on US soil happens. Then we'll hear how this is, in fact, an act of cowardly aggression etc etc..
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