Drones as a murder weapon - the evolution of military ethics and morality

Many inventions in the history of mankind appeared for the first time as weapons and only then were used in everyday, peaceful life. The advent of drones became possible along with the development of electronics, but the theory of such devices with remote control appeared long before that. For example, Zworykin described aircraft that, without human intervention, transmit a picture to a TV and allow you to assess the situation somewhere far away without risking the lives of the crew. The inventor of the television was right that drones would appear, and he also foresaw the main uses for them.

The first country to start creating and mass-producing drones was Israel, such devices acted as reconnaissance aircraft, and also made it possible to direct combat helicopters at a target. From the very moment of its inception, Israel has been surrounded by hostile states, as a result, the state has adopted the doctrine of killing its own enemies without trial or investigation anywhere in the world. Some of these enemies fall under the concept of terrorists, some are not. It must be realized that Israel in peacetime used violence outside its own territory, did it constantly and on a grand scale, regardless of the number of civilians affected, these were collateral losses. Targeted killing operations were often complex, involving both intelligence agencies and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), resulting in casualties. Israel actively sought means to ensure that the killings were carried out without endangering personnel, and also that it was difficult to directly link them to the country. The solution was the development of the drone program.

The first Israeli drones were military equipment, they were copied from American prototypes, but following the results of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the IDF command considered them to be insufficiently functional. The Israeli Air Force received huge development budgets, and the losses in this war were catastrophic for all parties to the conflict. In fact, Israel won, but paid a high price for it, many considered this victory to be Pyrrhic. The development of drones received a second wind, and by 1982 new types of drones were widely used in reconnaissance operations. A small drone was equipped with cameras, controlled from a truck in which the operator was located, and a picture was transmitted to the monitors in real time. Such drones did not have any weapons at that time. Zahavan drones (known as Scout in the West) were created by Israel Aerospace Industries and became the basis for subsequent modifications, they proved that this direction could become promising.

Drones as murder weapons - the evolution of military ethics and morality

Israel did not have enough funds to develop drones, so the IDF tried to involve the United States in this. During the visit of US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberg, a video of his trip to Beirut was shown, the cortege was filmed by drones from the air. 2 Bedroom Apartments over foreign territory impressed on the military. The result was that 175 drones were purchased by the US Army, they were in service with the Marine Corps, Navy and Army until 2007, they are known to us under the name Pioneer.

By 1990, Israeli drones receive lasers, they can highlight targets. At the same time, Apache combat helicopters were equipped with Hellfire missiles, which can be directed at a target by a laser beam. Without their own weapons, the drones have evolved from an observer to a gunner who can indicate targets. From the end of 1991, training flights began, drones and helicopters worked in conjunction to learn how to find targets and destroy them. The innovation was not perceived unequivocally in the Israeli army, many considered it a toy that was not applicable in real life. What critics of the use of drones did not know was that in February the army carried out an attack on foreign territory, a motorcade of several vehicles was destroyed by helicopter fire, and drones were used to illuminate targets. This proved that the technology works and it is promising. In that targeted killing, in addition to the goal of the Israeli intelligence services, family members were killed, who, in theory, should not have suffered.But few people paid attention to this, since civilians were constantly killed during targeted killings by Israel, and representatives of the authorities of other states, no one considered this important. Israel is the first country in the world to make extrajudicial murder the prerogative of the state, and when this murder concerns any citizen of another country whom Israel considers its enemy. And the accompanying victims were never taken into account, as well as errors in the identification of victims, for example, this is how a man was killed in Switzerland, he was shot in cold blood in the presence of his pregnant wife. The operatives mixed it up, and it was a mistake. The reasons that prompted Israel to use the methods of terrorists may have been good, but the state actually adopted similar methods and denied citizens of other countries the right to protection or even the appearance of a court. For most people, all this seems impossible, sometimes unbelievable, but such are the facts. I highly recommend Ronen Bergman's Arise and Kill First, a detailed listing of targeted killings by Israel over the years and in different parts of the world. The work is not only thorough, but shows the people behind these decisions. And showing that the system itself has many flaws, which leads to the death of civilians, who are considered just collateral victims. For those who want to understand a little better the origins of the conflict in the Middle East, this is a wonderful work, it has many details that are not usually highlighted in the literature.

Israel inspired the US Army to use drones, gave impetus to the development of this direction. But in addition to technology, America borrowed many ideological moments, the right to destroy its enemies in any territory. The use of drones is not a matter of technology, it is a matter of military ethics and morality. Is it possible to violate the borders of another country in order to strike at military or peaceful targets on its territory? We all know the formal answer, in reality the answer sounds much simpler - you can, if this country cannot strike back at your facilities. The right of the strong assumes that any action against a country that cannot fight back is justified. US Air Force officer David Deptula describes drones this way: “The real advantage of these drones is that they allow you to project power without projecting vulnerabilities.” That is, the operator, located at the Air Force Base near Las Vegas, kills enemies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the globe, but even a potential enemy cannot answer him.

Who are the enemies for this operator? These are the goals that other people give him, he knows absolutely nothing, his task is to press the key so that the Hellfire missile hits the target, and if possible there were no civilians nearby. But how are targets chosen? Someone is keeping track of the list of those who need to be hit by fire from heaven.

The American army uses the profiling method, a person is listed for murder or capture, and then his contacts, calls and movements begin to be tracked by technical means. If the "rebel" communicates with other people, then they fall into the circle of suspects, communicates often - they automatically get on the kill list (capture for such people is not used). The disadvantage of this approach is that no one checks who is actually on these lists. Imagine that someone has designated you as "bad" and put you on the kill list. Your entire inner circle, everyone with whom you communicate more or less constantly, also become "bad", with a high probability they will fall into the same list and be killed, but only later.

Big data analysis does not include trying to understand the lives of real people, programs analyze phone calls, your communication, build connections. And then drones take off, which systematically kill those who are on the list for destruction. Often these are the wrong goals, since the software does not know how to draw conclusions, it is written by people, and the algorithms often miss.

Drones as murder weapons - the evolution of military ethics and morality

On March 17, 2011, the Americans attacked a group of "rebels" in the Datta Khel area, killing 19 to 30 people, the strike was recognized as successful. The drones identified the location of the people on the ground as reminiscent of a rebel camp, this was a pattern built into their program. The operator has confirmed that the target is legitimate and can be hit.

In reality, it was a meeting of the villagers, they were discussing common problems when they were hit by a missile attack. The villagers' gathering resembled the rebels' gathering, there was no difference in the pattern. I do not think that the programmers who trained the algorithms felt remorse, because it was not they who made the decision to destroy the "rebels" on the other side of the world. It turns out that drones in this case are a tool of state terrorism and intimidation of the population of other countries, which is equated with terrorists by default and can be destroyed without trial or investigation simply because of this possibility.

I will quote Grégoire Chamay about the moral aspects of what is happening: “Before our eyes, there is a conscious transition from one official ethics to another, from the ethics of self-sacrifice and courage to the ethics of self-preservation and more or less openly recognized cowardice. In this great process of soul-searching, everything that we once worshiped should now be trampled down and everything that was once treated with contempt should be exalted. What used to be called cowardice becomes bravery, what was called murder becomes a battle, and the spirit of self-sacrifice that condemned the enemy to certain death causes only disgust. Baseness is elevated to the rank of greatness. In this sense, we are witnessing not so much the spectacle of “war without valor” as much work on the re-evaluation of military prowess.

Before US drone pilots were banned from publicly commenting on their thoughts on killing other people, they spoke frankly about it:

  • Oh, this is a real thrill for the player!
  • It's like playing Civilization when you command units and divisions in combat.
  • It's like a video game. It can get a little bloody, but damn, how cool!

These are the statements of three pilots, and there are dozens of them, people perceived the killing of other people as a game on their monitor screen.

A campaign has been going on in the United States for the past ten years in which they are trying to present drones as humane weapons, as if they can distinguish enemies from ordinary, civilians. Given that the radius of destruction of the Hellfire missile is 15 meters, and people are injured at a greater distance, it is impossible to call this weapon a point weapon. Innocent people are constantly dying from drone fire, including in countries where there are no wars, and the United States simply considers them to be its targets (the same Pakistan, where in some years one drone strike every four days!).

In 2011, the problem of accuracy of strikes was radically solved, the statistics of the US Department of Defense showed that all targets hit were enemies and not a single civilian was injured. And all thanks to the dedicated work of drone pilots, high-definition video and other technological tricks. It took several months to figure out the reasons for such a sharp change in civilian casualties, an article in the New York Times put everything in its place. The U.S. Army considered "any male person of combat age within the kill zone to be a combatant...unless there is clear post-mortem evidence that he was innocent."

You were killed, considered an enemy, but if you wish, you can prove that this is not so. You're just unlucky enough to be in what the U.S. Army considers a war zone. Let me remind you that US drones are used in exactly the same way as Israel, outside their territories, outside war zones, that is, in any place that the army considers its zone of interest. Reading the Military Review, I often come across the regrets of the American military that there are countries in the world with effective air defense systems, which creates difficulties for resolving military-political issues. Pay attention to the news when America is trying to create problems for any country that buys foreign non-disabled air defense systems that are effective against drones and aircraft. The reason is exactly the same, in this case the projection of power to other territories fails, cannot be used to destroy the "enemies".

In the description of the drone tactics, I was struck by one of the tricks, the conditional territory is divided into "kill zones", that is, the battlefield. All targets within this battlefield are considered legitimate and can be destroyed without additional request. The destruction of one target leads to the fact that the rank of others rises, that is, the list of suicide bombers is replenished with new unknowns. This is a bloody meat grinder in which other people's lives are simply ground, indiscriminately and trying to understand who it was. On the other hand, the algorithms that populate the kill list work in exactly the same way. And this is the difference between the US approach and the same Israel, they single out the key target, they know the name of the person, they understand why they want to kill him.They don't care about the losses that come with it, but the target itself makes at least some sense in their frame of reference. In the tactics of American drones, the target is primary, and who it is is not so important - the person got to the wrong place at the wrong time. This makes me cringe, since the state acts in this case as an instance that assumes the right to deprive citizens of other countries of life, and massively and without any trial. On foreign territory and without regard to any laws, except for the right of the strong. In the legal aspect, drones are outside the legal field, their use is not regulated in any way, and they are trying to leave this situation as it is, since it provides ample opportunities for interpretation in their favor.

The use of drones also shows that human life is worth very little, especially where states cannot protect their citizens from death sent from the sky when the operator presses a button thousands of miles away. This is how our world works, it just needs to be realized and understood, no international law applies in this case, it simply does not exist. In several countries, the hunting season for "enemies" is open, and as you saw above, getting into this list is quite easy. It's just a meat grinder that doesn't care who gets into it. And the more terrible the weapon, the more humane they try to present it.

Drones continue to evolve, they have received not only weapons, they are becoming autonomous combat modules. The weak link in drone control is its pilot, he may flinch, not press the button, he may be disturbed by the victims who accidentally ended up in the place of impact. The omission of the operator is logical, since the decision will be made by the machine, and the programmers will put in various templates to make the drone more humane than a person can be. This is another final decision on whether to kill or not. The algorithm has no emotions and it will just work as programmed. And something tells me that this will lead to the fact that the meat grinder will work constantly and non-stop.

For those who are interested in this issue, I highly recommend Gregoire Chamay's book "The Drone Theory", it raises questions of ethics, morality, the use of drones in war and examples of how the United States made killings with drones massive and does not bear for it no responsibility. This is not an accusation of the US as a country, but rather a consideration of the whole situation, different aspects of technology. The book is small, but you will get great pleasure from reading it.

Drones as a murder weapon - the evolution of military ethics and morality

Many inventions in the history of mankind appeared for the first time as weapons and only then were used in everyday, peaceful life. The advent of drones became possible along with the development of electronics, but the theory of such devices with remote control appeared long before that. For example, Zworykin described aircraft that, without human intervention, transmit a picture to a TV and allow you to assess the situation somewhere far away without risking the lives of the crew. The inventor of the television was right that drones would appear, and he also foresaw the main uses for them.

The first country to start creating and mass-producing drones was Israel, such devices acted as reconnaissance aircraft, and also made it possible to direct combat helicopters at a target. From the very moment of its inception, Israel has been surrounded by hostile states, as a result, the state has adopted the doctrine of killing its own enemies without trial or investigation anywhere in the world. Some of these enemies fall under the concept of terrorists, some are not. It must be realized that Israel in peacetime used violence outside its own territory, did it constantly and on a grand scale, regardless of the number of civilians affected, these were collateral losses. Targeted killing operations were often complex, involving both intelligence agencies and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), resulting in casualties. Israel actively sought means to ensure that the killings were carried out without endangering personnel, and also that it was difficult to directly link them to the country. The solution was the development of the drone program.

The first Israeli drones were military equipment, they were copied from American prototypes, but following the results of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the IDF command considered them to be insufficiently functional. The Israeli Air Force received huge development budgets, and the losses in this war were catastrophic for all parties to the conflict. In fact, Israel won, but paid a high price for it, many considered this victory to be Pyrrhic. The development of drones received a second wind, and by 1982 new types of drones were widely used in reconnaissance operations. A small drone was equipped with cameras, controlled from a truck in which the operator was located, and a picture was transmitted to the monitors in real time. Such drones did not have any weapons at that time. Zahavan drones (known as Scout in the West) were created by Israel Aerospace Industries and became the basis for subsequent modifications, they proved that this direction could become promising.

Drones as murder weapons - the evolution of military ethics and morality

Israel did not have enough funds to develop drones, so the IDF tried to involve the United States in this. During the visit of US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberg, a video of his trip to Beirut was shown, the cortege was filmed by drones from the air. 2 Bedroom Apartments over foreign territory impressed on the military. The result was that 175 drones were purchased by the US Army, they were in service with the Marine Corps, Navy and Army until 2007, they are known to us under the name Pioneer.

By 1990, Israeli drones receive lasers, they can highlight targets. At the same time, Apache combat helicopters were equipped with Hellfire missiles, which can be directed at a target by a laser beam. Without their own weapons, the drones have evolved from an observer to a gunner who can indicate targets. From the end of 1991, training flights began, drones and helicopters worked in conjunction to learn how to find targets and destroy them. The innovation was not perceived unequivocally in the Israeli army, many considered it a toy that was not applicable in real life. What critics of the use of drones did not know was that in February the army carried out an attack on foreign territory, a motorcade of several vehicles was destroyed by helicopter fire, and drones were used to illuminate targets. This proved that the technology works and it is promising. In that targeted killing, in addition to the goal of the Israeli intelligence services, family members were killed, who, in theory, should not have suffered.But few people paid attention to this, since civilians were constantly killed during targeted killings by Israel, and representatives of the authorities of other states, no one considered this important. Israel is the first country in the world to make extrajudicial murder the prerogative of the state, and when this murder concerns any citizen of another country whom Israel considers its enemy. And the accompanying victims were never taken into account, as well as errors in the identification of victims, for example, this is how a man was killed in Switzerland, he was shot in cold blood in the presence of his pregnant wife. The operatives mixed it up, and it was a mistake. The reasons that prompted Israel to use the methods of terrorists may have been good, but the state actually adopted similar methods and denied citizens of other countries the right to protection or even the appearance of a court. For most people, all this seems impossible, sometimes unbelievable, but such are the facts. I highly recommend Ronen Bergman's Arise and Kill First, a detailed listing of targeted killings by Israel over the years and in different parts of the world. The work is not only thorough, but shows the people behind these decisions. And showing that the system itself has many flaws, which leads to the death of civilians, who are considered just collateral victims. For those who want to understand a little better the origins of the conflict in the Middle East, this is a wonderful work, it has many details that are not usually highlighted in the literature.

Who are the enemies for this operator? These are the goals that other people give him, he knows absolutely nothing, his task is to press the key so that the Hellfire missile hits the target, and if possible there were no civilians nearby. But how are targets chosen? Someone is keeping track of the list of those who need to be hit by fire from heaven.

The American army uses the profiling method, a person is listed for murder or capture, and then his contacts, calls and movements begin to be tracked by technical means. If the "rebel" communicates with other people, then they fall into the circle of suspects, communicates often - they automatically get on the kill list (capture for such people is not used). The disadvantage of this approach is that no one checks who is actually on these lists. Imagine that someone has designated you as "bad" and put you on the kill list. Your entire inner circle, everyone with whom you communicate more or less constantly, also become "bad", with a high probability they will fall into the same list and be killed, but only later.

Big data analysis does not include trying to understand the lives of real people, programs analyze phone calls, your communication, build connections. And then drones take off, which systematically kill those who are on the list for destruction. Often these are the wrong goals, since the software does not know how to draw conclusions, it is written by people, and the algorithms often miss.

Drones as murder weapons - the evolution of military ethics and morality

On March 17, 2011, the Americans attacked a group of "rebels" in the Datta Khel area, killing 19 to 30 people, the strike was recognized as successful. The drones identified the location of the people on the ground as reminiscent of a rebel camp, this was a pattern built into their program. The operator has confirmed that the target is legitimate and can be hit.

In reality, it was a meeting of the villagers, they were discussing common problems when they were hit by a missile attack. The villagers' gathering resembled the rebels' gathering, there was no difference in the pattern. I do not think that the programmers who trained the algorithms felt remorse, because it was not they who made the decision to destroy the "rebels" on the other side of the world. It turns out that drones in this case are a tool of state terrorism and intimidation of the population of other countries, which is equated with terrorists by default and can be destroyed without trial or investigation simply because of this possibility.

I will quote Grégoire Chamay about the moral aspects of what is happening: “Before our eyes, there is a conscious transition from one official ethics to another, from the ethics of self-sacrifice and courage to the ethics of self-preservation and more or less openly recognized cowardice. In this great process of soul-searching, everything that we once worshiped should now be trampled down and everything that was once treated with contempt should be exalted. What used to be called cowardice becomes bravery, what was called murder becomes a battle, and the spirit of self-sacrifice that condemned the enemy to certain death causes only disgust. Baseness is elevated to the rank of greatness. In this sense, we are witnessing not so much the spectacle of “war without valor” as much work on the re-evaluation of military prowess.

Before US drone pilots were banned from publicly commenting on their thoughts on killing other people, they spoke frankly about it:

  • Oh, this is a real thrill for the player!
  • It's like playing Civilization when you command units and divisions in combat.
  • It's like a video game. It can get a little bloody, but damn, how cool!

These are the statements of three pilots, and there are dozens of them, people perceived the killing of other people as a game on their monitor screen.

A campaign has been going on in the United States for the past ten years in which they are trying to present drones as humane weapons, as if they can distinguish enemies from ordinary, civilians. Given that the radius of destruction of the Hellfire missile is 15 meters, and people are injured at a greater distance, it is impossible to call this weapon a point weapon. Innocent people are constantly dying from drone fire, including in countries where there are no wars, and the United States simply considers them to be its targets (the same Pakistan, where in some years one drone strike every four days!).

In 2011, the problem of accuracy of strikes was radically solved, the statistics of the US Department of Defense showed that all targets hit were enemies and not a single civilian was injured. And all thanks to the dedicated work of drone pilots, high-definition video and other technological tricks. It took several months to figure out the reasons for such a sharp change in civilian casualties, an article in the New York Times put everything in its place. The US Army considered "any person of male sex and combat age within the kill zone to be a combatant...unless there is clear post-mortem evidence that he was innocent."

You were killed, considered an enemy, but if you wish, you can prove that this is not so. You're just unlucky enough to be in what the US Army considers a war zone. Let me remind you that US drones are used in exactly the same way as Israel, outside their territories, outside war zones, that is, in any place that the army considers its zone of interest. Reading the Military Review, I often come across the regrets of the US military that there are countries in the world with effective air defense systems, which creates difficulties for resolving military-political issues. Pay attention to the news when America is trying to create problems for any country that buys someone else's non-disabled air defense systems that are effective against drones and aircraft. The reason is exactly the same, in this case the projection of power to other territories fails, cannot be used to destroy "enemies".

In the description of drone tactics, I was struck by one of the tricks, the conditional territory is divided into "kill zones", that is, the battlefield. All targets within this battlefield are considered legitimate and can be destroyed without additional request. The destruction of one target leads to the fact that the rank of others rises, that is, the list of suicide bombers is replenished with new unknowns. This is a bloody meat grinder in which other people's lives are simply ground, indiscriminately and trying to understand who it was. On the other hand, the algorithms that populate the kill list work in exactly the same way. And this is the difference between the US approach and the same Israel, they single out a key target, they know the name of a person, they understand why they want to kill him.They don't care about the losses that come with it, but the target itself makes at least some sense in their frame of reference. In the tactics of American drones, the target is primary, and who it is is not so important - the person got to the wrong place at the wrong time. This makes me cringe, since the state acts in this case as an instance that assumes the right to deprive citizens of other countries of life, and massively and without any trial. On foreign territory and without regard to any laws, except for the right of the strong. In the legal aspect, drones are outside the legal field, their use is not regulated in any way, and they are trying to leave this situation as it is, since it provides ample opportunities for interpretation in their favor.

The use of drones also shows that human life is worth very little, especially where states cannot protect their citizens from death sent from the sky when the operator presses a button thousands of miles away. This is how our world works, it just needs to be realized and understood, no international law applies in this case, it simply does not exist. In several countries, the hunting season for "enemies" is open, and as you saw above, getting into this list is quite easy. It's just a meat grinder that doesn't care who gets into it. And the more terrible the weapon, the more humane they try to present it.

Drones continue to evolve, they have received not only weapons, they are becoming autonomous combat modules. The weak link in drone control is its pilot, he may flinch, not press the button, he may be disturbed by the victims who accidentally ended up in the place of impact. The omission of the operator is logical, since the decision will be made by the machine, and the programmers will put in various templates to make the drone more humane than a person can be. This is another final decision on whether to kill or not. The algorithm has no emotions and it will just work as programmed. And something tells me that this will lead to the fact that the meat grinder will work constantly and non-stop.

For those who are interested in this issue, I highly recommend Gregoire Chamay's book "The Drone Theory", it raises questions of ethics, morality, the use of drones in war and examples of how the United States made killings with drones massive and does not bear for it no responsibility. This is not an accusation of the US as a country, but rather a consideration of the whole situation, different aspects of technology. The book is small, but you will get great pleasure from reading it.

Drones as a murder weapon - the evolution of military ethics and morality

Many inventions in the history of mankind appeared for the first time as weapons and only then were used in everyday, peaceful life. The advent of drones became possible along with the development of electronics, but the theory of such devices with remote control appeared long before that. For example, Zworykin described aircraft that, without human intervention, transmit a picture to a TV and allow you to assess the situation somewhere far away without risking the lives of the crew. The inventor of the television was right that drones would appear, and he also foresaw the main uses for them.

The first country to start creating and mass-producing drones was Israel, such devices acted as reconnaissance aircraft, and also made it possible to direct combat helicopters at a target. From the very moment of its inception, Israel has been surrounded by hostile states, as a result, the state has adopted the doctrine of killing its own enemies without trial or investigation anywhere in the world. Some of these enemies fall under the concept of terrorists, some are not. It must be realized that Israel in peacetime used violence outside its own territory, did it constantly and on a grand scale, regardless of the number of civilians affected, these were collateral losses. Targeted killing operations were often complex, involving both intelligence agencies and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), resulting in casualties. Israel actively sought means to ensure that the killings were carried out without endangering personnel, and also that it was difficult to directly link them to the country. The solution was the development of the drone program.

The first Israeli drones were military equipment, they were copied from American prototypes, but following the results of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the IDF command considered them to be insufficiently functional. The Israeli Air Force received huge development budgets, and the losses in this war were catastrophic for all parties to the conflict. In fact, Israel won, but paid a high price for it, many considered this victory to be Pyrrhic. The development of drones received a second wind, and by 1982 new types of drones were widely used in reconnaissance operations. A small drone was equipped with cameras, controlled from a truck in which the operator was located, and a picture was transmitted to the monitors in real time. Such drones did not have any weapons at that time. Zahavan drones (known as Scout in the West) were created by Israel Aerospace Industries and became the basis for subsequent modifications, they proved that this direction could become promising.

Drones as murder weapons - the evolution of military ethics and morality

Israel did not have enough funds to develop drones, so the IDF tried to involve the United States in this. During the visit of US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberg, a video of his trip to Beirut was shown, the cortege was filmed by drones from the air. 2 Bedroom Apartments over foreign territory impressed on the military. The result was that 175 drones were purchased by the US Army, they were in service with the Marine Corps, Navy and Army until 2007, they are known to us under the name Pioneer.

By 1990, Israeli drones receive lasers, they can highlight targets. At the same time, Apache combat helicopters were equipped with Hellfire missiles, which can be directed at a target by a laser beam. Without their own weapons, the drones have evolved from an observer to a gunner who can indicate targets. From the end of 1991, training flights began, drones and helicopters worked in conjunction to learn how to find targets and destroy them. The innovation was not perceived unequivocally in the Israeli army, many considered it a toy that was not applicable in real life. What critics of the use of drones did not know was that in February the army carried out an attack on foreign territory, a motorcade of several vehicles was destroyed by helicopter fire, and drones were used to illuminate targets. This proved that the technology works and it is promising. In that targeted killing, in addition to the goal of the Israeli intelligence services, family members were killed, who, in theory, should not have suffered.But few people paid attention to this, since civilians were constantly killed during targeted killings by Israel, and representatives of the authorities of other states, no one considered this important. Israel is the first country in the world to make extrajudicial murder the prerogative of the state, and when this murder concerns any citizen of another country whom Israel considers its enemy. And the accompanying victims were never taken into account, as well as errors in the identification of victims, for example, this is how a man was killed in Switzerland, he was shot in cold blood in the presence of his pregnant wife. The operatives mixed it up, and it was a mistake. The reasons that prompted Israel to use the methods of terrorists may have been good, but the state actually adopted similar methods and denied citizens of other countries the right to protection or even the appearance of a court. For most people, all this seems impossible, sometimes unbelievable, but such are the facts. I highly recommend Ronen Bergman's Arise and Kill First, a detailed listing of targeted killings by Israel over the years and in different parts of the world. The work is not only thorough, but shows the people behind these decisions. And showing that the system itself has many flaws, which leads to the death of civilians, who are considered just collateral victims. For those who want to understand a little better the origins of the conflict in the Middle East, this is a wonderful work, it has many details that are not usually highlighted in the literature.

Israel inspired the US Army to use drones, gave impetus to the development of this direction. But in addition to technology, America borrowed many ideological moments, the right to destroy its enemies in any territory. The use of drones is not a matter of technology, it is a matter of military ethics and morality. Is it possible to violate the borders of another country in order to strike at military or peaceful targets on its territory? We all know the formal answer, in reality the answer sounds much simpler - you can, if this country cannot strike back at your facilities. The right of the strong assumes that any action against a country that cannot fight back is justified. US Air Force officer David Deptula describes drones this way: “The real advantage of these drones is that they allow you to project power without projecting vulnerabilities.” That is, the operator, located at the Air Force Base near Las Vegas, kills enemies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the globe, but even a potential enemy cannot answer him.

Who are the enemies for this operator? These are the goals that other people give him, he knows absolutely nothing, his task is to press the key so that the Hellfire missile hits the target, and if possible there were no civilians nearby. But how are targets chosen? Someone is keeping track of the list of those who need to be hit by fire from heaven.

The American army uses the profiling method, a person is listed for murder or capture, and then his contacts, calls and movements begin to be tracked by technical means. If the "rebel" communicates with other people, then they fall into the circle of suspects, communicates often - they automatically get on the kill list (capture for such people is not used). The disadvantage of this approach is that no one checks who is actually on these lists. Imagine that someone has designated you as "bad" and put you on the kill list. Your entire inner circle, everyone with whom you communicate more or less constantly, also become "bad", with a high probability they will fall into the same list and be killed, but only later.

Big data analysis does not include trying to understand the lives of real people, programs analyze phone calls, your communication, build connections. And then drones take off, which systematically kill those who are on the list for destruction. Often these are the wrong goals, since the software does not know how to draw conclusions, it is written by people, and the algorithms often miss.

Drones as murder weapons - the evolution of military ethics and morality

On March 17, 2011, the Americans attacked a group of "rebels" in the Datta Khel area, killing 19 to 30 people, the strike was recognized as successful. The drones identified the location of the people on the ground as reminiscent of a rebel camp, this was a pattern built into their program. The operator has confirmed that the target is legitimate and can be hit.

In reality, it was a meeting of the villagers, they were discussing common problems when they were hit by a missile attack. The villagers' gathering resembled the rebels' gathering, there was no difference in the pattern. I do not think that the programmers who trained the algorithms felt remorse, because it was not they who made the decision to destroy the "rebels" on the other side of the world. It turns out that drones in this case are a tool of state terrorism and intimidation of the population of other countries, which is equated with terrorists by default and can be destroyed without trial or investigation simply because of this possibility.

I will quote Grégoire Chamay about the moral aspects of what is happening: “Before our eyes, there is a conscious transition from one official ethics to another, from the ethics of self-sacrifice and courage to the ethics of self-preservation and more or less openly recognized cowardice. In this great process of soul-searching, everything that we once worshiped should now be trampled down and everything that was once treated with contempt should be exalted. What used to be called cowardice becomes bravery, what was called murder becomes a battle, and the spirit of self-sacrifice that condemned the enemy to certain death causes only disgust. Baseness is elevated to the rank of greatness. In this sense, we are witnessing not so much the spectacle of “war without valor” as much work on the re-evaluation of military prowess.

Before US drone pilots were banned from publicly commenting on their thoughts on killing other people, they spoke frankly about it:

  • Oh, this is a real thrill for the player!
  • It's like playing Civilization when you command units and divisions in combat.
  • It's like a video game. It can get a little bloody, but damn, how cool!

These are the statements of three pilots, and there are dozens of them, people perceived the killing of other people as a game on their monitor screen.

A campaign has been going on in the United States for the past ten years in which they are trying to present drones as humane weapons, as if they can distinguish enemies from ordinary, civilians. Given that the radius of destruction of the Hellfire missile is 15 meters, and people are injured at a greater distance, it is impossible to call this weapon a point weapon. Innocent people are constantly dying from drone fire, including in countries where there are no wars, and the United States simply considers them to be its targets (the same Pakistan, where in some years one drone strike every four days!).

In 2011, the problem of accuracy of strikes was radically solved, the statistics of the US Department of Defense showed that all targets hit were enemies and not a single civilian was injured. And all thanks to the dedicated work of drone pilots, high-definition video and other technological tricks. It took several months to figure out the reasons for such a sharp change in civilian casualties, an article in the New York Times put everything in its place. The U.S. Army considered "any male person of combat age within the kill zone to be a combatant...unless there is clear post-mortem evidence that he was innocent."

You were killed, considered an enemy, but if you wish, you can prove that this is not so. You're just unlucky enough to be in what the U.S. Army considers a war zone. Let me remind you that US drones are used in exactly the same way as Israel, outside their territories, outside war zones, that is, in any place that the army considers its zone of interest. Reading the Military Review, I often come across the regrets of the American military that there are countries in the world with effective air defense systems, which creates difficulties for resolving military-political issues. Pay attention to the news when America is trying to create problems for any country that buys foreign non-disabled air defense systems that are effective against drones and aircraft. The reason is exactly the same, in this case the projection of power to other territories fails, cannot be used to destroy the "enemies".

In the description of the drone tactics, I was struck by one of the tricks, the conditional territory is divided into "kill zones", that is, the battlefield. All targets within this battlefield are considered legitimate and can be destroyed without additional request. The destruction of one target leads to the fact that the rank of others rises, that is, the list of suicide bombers is replenished with new unknowns. This is a bloody meat grinder in which other people's lives are simply ground, indiscriminately and trying to understand who it was. On the other hand, the algorithms that populate the kill list work in exactly the same way. And this is the difference between the US approach and the same Israel, they single out the key target, they know the name of the person, they understand why they want to kill him.They don't care about the losses that come with it, but the target itself makes at least some sense in their frame of reference. In the tactics of American drones, the target is primary, and who it is is not so important - the person got to the wrong place at the wrong time. This makes me cringe, since the state acts in this case as an instance that assumes the right to deprive citizens of other countries of life, and massively and without any trial. On foreign territory and without regard to any laws, except for the right of the strong. In the legal aspect, drones are outside the legal field, their use is not regulated in any way, and they are trying to leave this situation as it is, since it provides ample opportunities for interpretation in their favor.

The use of drones also shows that human life is worth very little, especially where states cannot protect their citizens from death sent from the sky when the operator presses a button thousands of miles away. This is how our world works, it just needs to be realized and understood, no international law applies in this case, it simply does not exist. In several countries, the hunting season for "enemies" is open, and as you saw above, getting into this list is quite easy. It's just a meat grinder that doesn't care who gets into it. And the more terrible the weapon, the more humane they try to present it.

Drones continue to develop, they have received not only weapons, they are becoming autonomous combat modules. The weak link in drone control is its pilot, he may flinch, not press the button, he may be disturbed by the victims who accidentally ended up in the place of impact. The omission of the operator is logical, since the decision will be made by the machine, and the programmers will put in various templates to make the drone more humane than a person can be. This is another final decision on whether to kill or not. The algorithm has no emotions and it will just work as programmed. And something tells me that this will lead to the fact that the meat grinder will work constantly and non-stop.

For those who are interested in this issue, I highly recommend Gregoire Chamay's book "The Drone Theory", it raises questions of ethics, morality, the use of drones in war and examples of how the United States made killings with drones massive and does not bear for it no responsibility. This is not an accusation of the US as a country, but rather a consideration of the whole situation, different aspects of technology. The book is small, but you will get great pleasure from reading it.

Drones as a weapon of murder - the evolution of military ethics and morality

Many inventions in the history of mankind appeared for the first time as weapons and only then were used in everyday, peaceful life. The advent of drones became possible along with the development of electronics, but the theory of such devices with remote control appeared long before that. For example, Zworykin described aircraft that, without human intervention, transmit a picture to a TV and allow you to assess the situation somewhere far away without risking the lives of the crew. The inventor of the television was right that drones would appear, and he also foresaw the main uses for them.

The first country to start creating and mass-producing drones was Israel, such devices acted as reconnaissance aircraft, and also made it possible to direct combat helicopters at a target. From the very moment of its inception, Israel has been surrounded by hostile states, as a result, the state has adopted the doctrine of killing its own enemies without trial or investigation anywhere in the world. Some of these enemies fall under the concept of terrorists, some are not. It must be realized that Israel in peacetime used violence outside its own territory, did it constantly and on a grand scale, regardless of the number of civilians affected, these were collateral losses. Targeted killing operations were often complex, involving both intelligence agencies and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), resulting in casualties. Israel actively sought means to ensure that the killings were carried out without endangering personnel, and also that it was difficult to directly link them to the country. The solution was the development of the drone program.

The first Israeli drones were military equipment, they were copied from American prototypes, but following the results of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the IDF command considered them to be insufficiently functional. The Israeli Air Force received huge development budgets, and the losses in this war were catastrophic for all parties to the conflict. In fact, Israel won, but paid a high price for it, many considered this victory to be Pyrrhic. The development of drones received a second wind, and by 1982 new types of drones were widely used in reconnaissance operations. A small drone was equipped with cameras, controlled from a truck in which the operator was located, and a picture was transmitted to the monitors in real time. Such drones did not have any weapons at that time. Zahavan drones (known as Scout in the West) were created by Israel Aerospace Industries and became the basis for subsequent modifications, they proved that this direction could become promising.

Israel did not have enough funds to develop drones, so the IDF tried to involve the United States in this. During the visit of US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberg, a video of his trip to Beirut was shown, the cortege was filmed by drones from the air. The work of 2 Bedroom Apartments drones over foreign territory impressed the military. The result was that 175 drones were purchased by the US Army, they were in service with the Marine Corps, Navy and Army until 2007, they are known to us under the name Pioneer.

Israel did not have enough funds to develop drones, so the IDF tried to involve the United States in this. During the visit of US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberg, a video of his trip to Beirut was shown, the cortege was filmed by drones from the air. Work 2 Bedroom Apartments 2 bedroom apartments drones over foreign territory made an impression on the military. The result was that 175 drones were purchased by the US Army, they were in service with the Marine Corps, Navy and Army until 2007, they are known to us under the name Pioneer.

By 1990, Israeli drones receive lasers, they can highlight targets. At the same time, Apache combat helicopters were equipped with Hellfire missiles, which can be directed at a target by a laser beam. Without their own weapons, the drones have evolved from an observer to a gunner who can indicate targets. From the end of 1991, training flights began, drones and helicopters worked in conjunction to learn how to find targets and destroy them. The innovation was not perceived unequivocally in the Israeli army, many considered it a toy that was not applicable in real life. What critics of the use of drones did not know was that in February the army carried out an attack on foreign territory, a motorcade of several vehicles was destroyed by helicopter fire, and drones were used to illuminate targets. This proved that the technology works and it is promising. In that targeted killing, in addition to the goal of the Israeli intelligence services, family members were killed, who, in theory, should not have suffered.But few people paid attention to this, since civilians were constantly killed during targeted killings by Israel, and representatives of the authorities of other states, no one considered this important. Israel is the first country in the world to make extrajudicial murder the prerogative of the state, and when this murder concerns any citizen of another country whom Israel considers its enemy. And the accompanying victims were never taken into account, as well as errors in the identification of victims, for example, this is how a man was killed in Switzerland, he was shot in cold blood in the presence of his pregnant wife. The operatives mixed it up, and it was a mistake. The reasons that prompted Israel to use the methods of terrorists may have been good, but the state actually adopted similar methods and denied citizens of other countries the right to protection or even the appearance of a court. For most people, all this seems impossible, sometimes unbelievable, but such are the facts. I highly recommend Ronen Bergman's Arise and Kill First, a detailed listing of targeted killings by Israel over the years and in different parts of the world. The work is not only thorough, but shows the people behind these decisions. And showing that the system itself has many flaws, which leads to the death of civilians, who are considered just collateral victims. For those who want to understand a little better the origins of the conflict in the Middle East, this is a wonderful work, it has many details that are not usually highlighted in the literature.

Israel inspired the US Army to use drones, gave impetus to the development of this direction. But in addition to technology, America borrowed many ideological moments, the right to destroy its enemies in any territory. The use of drones is not a matter of technology, it is a matter of military ethics and morality. Is it possible to violate the borders of another country in order to strike at military or peaceful targets on its territory? We all know the formal answer, in reality the answer sounds much simpler - you can, if this country cannot strike back at your facilities. The right of the strong assumes that any action against a country that cannot fight back is justified. US Air Force officer David Deptula describes drones this way: “The real advantage of these drones is that they allow you to project power without projecting vulnerabilities.” That is, the operator, located at the Air Force Base near Las Vegas, kills enemies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the globe, but even a potential enemy cannot answer him.

Who are the enemies for this operator? These are the goals that other people give him, he knows absolutely nothing, his task is to press the key so that the Hellfire missile hits the target, and if possible there were no civilians nearby. But how are targets chosen? Someone is keeping track of the list of those who need to be hit by fire from heaven.

The American army uses the profiling method, a person is listed for murder or capture, and then his contacts, calls and movements begin to be tracked by technical means. If the "rebel" communicates with other people, then they fall into the circle of suspects, communicates often - they automatically get on the kill list (capture for such people is not used). The disadvantage of this approach is that no one checks who is actually on these lists. Imagine that someone has designated you as "bad" and put you on the kill list. Your entire inner circle, everyone with whom you communicate more or less constantly, also become "bad", with a high probability they will fall into the same list and be killed, but only later.

Big data analysis does not include trying to understand the lives of real people, programs analyze phone calls, your communication, build connections. And then drones take off, which systematically kill those who are on the list for destruction. Often these are the wrong goals, since the software does not know how to draw conclusions, it is written by people, and the algorithms often miss.

On March 17, 2011, the Americans attacked a group of "rebels" in the Datta Khel area, killing 19 to 30 people, the strike was recognized as successful. The drones identified the location of the people on the ground as reminiscent of a rebel camp, this was a pattern built into their program. The operator has confirmed that the target is legitimate and can be hit.

In reality, it was a meeting of the villagers, they were discussing common problems when they were hit by a missile attack. The villagers' gathering resembled the rebels' gathering, there was no difference in the pattern. I do not think that the programmers who trained the algorithms felt remorse, because it was not they who made the decision to destroy the "rebels" on the other side of the world. It turns out that drones in this case are a tool of state terrorism and intimidation of the population of other countries, which is equated with terrorists by default and can be destroyed without trial or investigation simply because of this possibility.

I will quote Grégoire Chamay about the moral aspects of what is happening: “Before our eyes, there is a conscious transition from one official ethics to another, from the ethics of self-sacrifice and courage to the ethics of self-preservation and more or less openly recognized cowardice. In this great process of soul-searching, everything that we once worshiped must now be trampled down and everything that was once treated with contempt should be exalted. What used to be called cowardice becomes bravery, what was called murder becomes a battle, and the spirit of self-sacrifice that condemned the enemy to certain death causes only disgust. Baseness is elevated to the rank of greatness. In this sense, we are witnessing not so much the spectacle of “war without valor” as much work on the reassessment of military prowess.

Before US drone pilots were banned from publicly commenting on their thoughts on killing other people, they spoke frankly about it:

  • Oh, this is a real thrill for the player!
  • It's like playing Civilization when you command units and divisions in combat.
  • It's like a video game. It can get a little bloody, but damn, how cool!

These are the statements of three pilots, and there are dozens of them, people perceived the killing of other people as a game on their monitor screen.

A campaign has been going on in the United States for the past ten years in which they are trying to present drones as humane weapons, as if they can distinguish enemies from ordinary, civilians. Given that the radius of destruction of the Hellfire missile is 15 meters, and people are injured at a greater distance, it is impossible to call this weapon a point weapon. Innocent people are constantly dying from drone fire, including in countries where there are no wars, and the United States simply considers them to be its targets (the same Pakistan, where in some years one drone strike every four days!).

In 2011, the problem of accuracy of strikes was radically solved, the statistics of the US Department of Defense showed that all targets hit were enemies and not a single civilian was injured. And all thanks to the dedicated work of drone pilots, high-definition video and other technological tricks. It took several months to figure out the reasons for such a sharp change in civilian casualties, an article in the New York Times put everything in its place. The U.S. Army considered "any male person of combat age within the kill zone to be a combatant...unless there is clear post-mortem evidence that he was innocent."

You were killed, considered an enemy, but if you wish, you can prove that this is not so. You're just unlucky enough to be in what the U.S. Army considers a war zone. Let me remind you that US drones are used in exactly the same way as Israel, outside their territories, outside war zones, that is, in any place that the army considers its zone of interest. Reading the Military Review, I often come across the regrets of the American military that there are countries in the world with effective air defense systems, which creates difficulties for resolving military-political issues. Pay attention to the news when America is trying to create problems for any country that buys foreign non-disabled air defense systems that are effective against drones and aircraft. The reason is exactly the same, in this case the projection of power to other territories fails, cannot be used to destroy the "enemies".

In the description of the drone tactics, I was struck by one of the tricks, the conditional territory is divided into "kill zones", that is, the battlefield. All targets within this battlefield are considered legitimate and can be destroyed without additional request. The destruction of one target leads to the fact that the rank of others rises, that is, the list of suicide bombers is replenished with new unknowns. This is a bloody meat grinder in which other people's lives are simply ground, indiscriminately and trying to understand who it was. On the other hand, the algorithms that populate the kill list work in exactly the same way. And this is the difference between the US approach and the same Israel, they single out the key target, they know the name of the person, they understand why they want to kill him.They don't care about the losses that come with it, but the target itself makes at least some sense in their frame of reference. In the tactics of American drones, the target is primary, and who it is is not so important - the person got to the wrong place at the wrong time. This makes me cringe, since the state acts in this case as an instance that assumes the right to deprive citizens of other countries of life, and massively and without any trial. On foreign territory and without regard to any laws, except for the right of the strong. In the legal aspect, drones are outside the legal field, their use is not regulated in any way, and they are trying to leave this situation as it is, since it provides ample opportunities for interpretation in their favor.

The use of drones also shows that human life is worth very little, especially where states cannot protect their citizens from death sent from the sky when the operator presses a button thousands of miles away. This is how our world works, it just needs to be realized and understood, no international law applies in this case, it simply does not exist. In several countries, the hunting season for "enemies" is open, and as you saw above, getting into this list is quite easy. It's just a meat grinder that doesn't care who gets into it. And the more terrible the weapon, the more humane they try to present it.

Drones continue to evolve, they have received not only weapons, they are becoming autonomous combat modules. The weak link in drone control is its pilot, he may flinch, not press the button, he may be disturbed by the victims who accidentally ended up in the place of impact. The omission of the operator is logical, since the decision will be made by the machine, and the programmers will put in various templates to make the drone more humane than a person can be. This is another final decision on whether to kill or not. The algorithm has no emotions and it will just work as programmed. And something tells me that this will lead to the fact that the meat grinder will work constantly and non-stop.