Drone: Remote Control Warfare (Paperback)

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Drone warfare described from the perspectives of drone operators, victims of drone attacks, anti-drone activists, international law, military thinkers, and others.


"[A] thoughtful examination of the dilemmas this new weapon poses."
Foreign Affairs

Drones are changing the conduct of war. Deployed at presidential discretion, they can be used in regular war zones or to kill people in such countries as Yemen and Somalia, where the United States is not officially at war. Advocates say that drones are more precise than conventional bombers, allowing warfare with minimal civilian deaths while keeping American pilots out of harm's way. Critics say that drones are cowardly and that they often kill innocent civilians while terrorizing entire villages on the ground. In this book, Hugh Gusterson explores the significance of drone warfare from multiple perspectives, drawing on accounts by drone operators, victims of drone attacks, anti-drone activists, human rights activists, international lawyers, journalists, military thinkers, and academic experts.

Gusterson examines the way drone warfare has created commuter warriors and redefined the space of the battlefield. He looks at the paradoxical mix of closeness and distance involved in remote killing: is it easier than killing someone on the physical battlefield if you have to watch onscreen? He suggests a new way of understanding the debate over civilian casualties of drone attacks. He maps “ethical slippage” over time in the Obama administration's targeting practices. And he contrasts Obama administration officials' legal justification of drone attacks with arguments by international lawyers and NGOs.

About the Author

Hugh Gusterson is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Nuclear Rites and People of the Bomb: Portraits of America's Nuclear Complex.

Praise For…

Among a blizzard of new books probing drone warfare, Hugh Gusterson's slim volume is among the most careful, concise and insightful.... Even anyone who thinks they know all there is to know about drone warfare will profit from Gusterson's rich and penetrating study.—Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture


Publishers Weekly

In this excellent book, the anthropologist Hugh Gusterson argues that drones have fundamentally transformed the nature of war.

Prospect Magazine

[A] thoughtful examination of the dilemmas this new weapon poses.

Foreign Affairs
Product Details
ISBN: 9780262534413
ISBN-10: 026253441X
Publisher: The MIT Press
Publication Date: September 15th, 2017
Pages: 212
Language: English