Book Review: ‘Drone Theory’ by Grégoire Chamayou (Trans: Janet Lloyd)

drone-theoryREADING WEEK:  The second in our short series of book reviews related to the use of armed drones.

Henrietta Cullinan reviews  Drone Theory by Grégoire Chamayou

‘One side loses people, the other side loses toys. All that is left is the shooting and the dying…..and toys don’t die.’
Toys against the People, or Remote Warfare,   Science for the People Magazine, May 1973, quoted in the Epilogue

When US armed drones, operated by teams in the Nevada desert, conduct air strikes over Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, countries the US is not at war with, when the battlefield is a ‘killbox’, when drones are only one step away from fully automated robots, it is time for philosophy to demolish the arguments put forward in support of their use. Read more

An initial response to the report of the Birmingham Policy Commission on Drones

SecurityImpact_cvr
Click to download (pdf)

The Birmingham Policy Commission has released a new report entitled The Security Impact of Drones: Challenges and Opportunities for the UK. While Drone Wars UK welcomes the attention this important report brings to the issue – and would support some of its recommendations – we have to disagree with the main conclusion and thrust of the report.

The Birmingham Policy Commission says that its aim is to “to bring leading figures from the public, private and third sectors together with Birmingham academics to generate new thinking on contemporary issues of global, national and civic concern.” A specific group of ‘commissioners’ are gathered together to look at each particular issue and the Commission on drones is chaired by Sir David Omand, former Head of GCHQ, and made up of academics, former military officers, and representatives of the ‘defence’ industry. Jen Gibson of Reprieve seemed to have the sole responsibility for representing civil society organisations (a full list of Commissioners for this report is here). Read more

Pausing at the crossroads – drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa

under MQ-9Over the past decade the use of armed drones has dramatically increased and spread with drone strikes reported to have taken place in up to ten countries. Although the US use of drones in Pakistan and  Yemen has been most controversial and received  the majority of media coverage, Afghanistan has been the real centre of armed drone use.  The first combat drone strike took place in Afghanistan just weeks after 9/11 and the vast majority of drone strikes have taken place there although exact figures remain shrouded in secrecy.  It is not surprising therefore that the forthcoming end of NATO combat operations in Afghanistan later this year brings the drone wars to something of a crossroads. Read more