Book Review: ‘Precision Guided Munitions and Human Suffering in War’ by James E. Hickey

READING WEEK: A short series of book reviews related to the use of armed drones.

Nick Gilby reviews Precision Guided Munitions and Human Suffering in War by James E. Hickey

HICKEY PPC(240X156)pathIn this very interesting book, a member of the American military, James E. Hickey, tries to evaluate whether the use of precision-guided munitions (by the American military) has reduced the level of suffering in the conflicts he analyses. As he points out, in general throughout history technological advances have tended to increase the amount of destruction, killing and suffering in war, the development of nuclear weapons being the logical culmination of this trend. However, since the late 1960s the development in America of laser-, electro-optical- and GPS-guided (or so-called “smart”) munitions has made possible wars which lessen human suffering compared with what would have happened had conventional “dumb” munitions been used. Read more