For the first time UK forces can remotely control armed drones over Afghanistan while sitting in air conditioned trailers at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The growing use of unmanned drones to simply and easily launch lethal attacks at great distances – over 3,000 miles in the case of Waddington and Afghanistan – with no risk or political consequences should be a cause of extreme concern.
Many counter terrorism experts are clear that drone strikes far from the solution, as Kurt Volker, the former US Permanent Representative to NATO said recently:
“Drone strikes allows our opponents to cast our country as a distant, high-tech, amoral purveyor of death. It builds resentment, facilitates terrorist recruitment and alienates those we should seek to inspire. Drone strikes may decapitate terrorist organizations, but they do not solve our terrorist problem. In fact, drone use may prolong it. Even though there is no immediate retaliation, in the long run the contributions to radicalization through drone use may put more lives at risk.”
Volker is not alone. Many other experts such as Professor Michael Boyle, former counter terrorism adviser to President Obama has recently outlined in the Chatham House journal how use of armed drones is directly conflicting with other long term counter-terrorism initiatives and doing real damage to global security.