By clicking on the "Accept & Close" button, you provide your explicit consent to the processing of your data to achieve the above goal.
In this third Level Talk program on drones, we frame our discussion on whether drone warfare has changed the concept of warfare. No longer, it is argued in this program, is warfare to do with the age-old principles of "Just war", enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties.
Laurie Calhoun, the author of the influential book: ‘We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age’ joins the program, along with Dr. Peter Lee, Reader in Politics and Ethics at the University of Portsmouth.
Dr. Lee expounds the main tenants of what is commonly believed to be ‘Just War Theory,’ and reduces the theory down to two main ideas – justifying the reasons for going to war in the first place and establishing guidelines of how such a war is fought. He admits that the theory has changed a lot over the course of history. Laurie Calhoun also believes that the concept of a "just war" has changed dramatically over the course of time, to the point of no longer being relevant, but ‘Just War Theory’ is still used as a propaganda tool to persuade people to support the institution of war. She provides an example – the Geneva Convention states that unarmed combatants should be given the chance to surrender rather than be exterminated without trial or the chance to defend themselves. With drone warfare, this concept has been forgotten about thanks to the invention of ‘immediate threats.’
Calhoun says that present day leaders feel they can now wage war wherever they see a potential threat developing, and do not seek permission to fire missiles on people, as they should do under article 51 of the UN Charter of nations, which governs self-defense. Dr. Lee, however, argues that there is a clear difference between the way that drones are used by different sections of the US forces and by different nations’ armed forces. The relevance of this is debated by Laurie Calhoun and the host John Harrison who point out that it only takes one rogue state to use drones in an indiscriminate way; be it the US or a smaller country, to reduce drone warfare to the level of weapons used in a ‘Holy War’ where no rules at all are abided by. Even the UK, Calhoun points out, has not been consistent in its use of drones.
Another major topic of discussion concerns whether drones allow states to engage in warfare with another state without actually going to war. Dr.Lee points out that drones are actually quite limited in their application as they cannot be used in countries where there are advanced air defenses. A debate ensues between Dr. Lee and host John Harrison about what the nature of war is; the former stating that war is a struggle between two opposing forces and the latter arguing that war is now heavily informed by technology which now has the power to define who the enemy is. In this context, Laurie Calhoun argues that technology does allow smaller countries to engage in warfare, particularly in domestic context, in ways that they could not previously do. Dr. Lee continues this debate by pointing out that in the Vietnamese war, all the technology the Americans had at their disposal, could not help them win against a people with virtually no technology, and therefore that technology is important but not the only important factor. Laurie Calhoun argues that drones are also relatively cheap, and do not require the sacrifice of soldiers, and this is why such ‘smart wars’ are so popular. Dr. Lee argues that drones are in fact expensive and demand a very sophisticated infrastructure, which very few states can support.
The program ends with a discussion on whether the rules of war themselves need to be rewritten, in the light of technological development. Dr. Lee interestingly reports that States do not want to reopen the Geneva Conventions because they have no wish to tighten them up, they want to water them down.
We'd love to get your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
does not correspond with the subject of the post;
promotes hatred and discrimination on racial, ethnic, sexual, religious or social basis or violates the rights of minorities;
violates the rights of minors, causing them harm in any form, including moral damage;
contains ideas of extremist nature or calls for other illegal activities;
contains insults, threats to other users, individuals or specific organizations, denigrates dignity or undermines business reputations;
contains insults or messages expressing disrespect to Sputnik;
violates privacy, distributes personal data of third parties without their consent or violates privacy of correspondence;
describes or references scenes of violence, cruelty to animals;
contains information about methods of suicide, incites to commit suicide;
pursues commercial objectives, contains improper advertising, unlawful political advertisement or links to other online resources containing such information;
promotes products or services of third parties without proper authorization;
contains offensive language or profanity and its derivatives, as well as hints of the use of lexical items falling within this definition;
contains spam, advertises spamming, mass mailing services and promotes get-rich-quick schemes;
promotes the use of narcotic / psychotropic substances, provides information on their production and use;
contains links to viruses and malicious software;
is part of an organized action involving large volumes of comments with identical or similar content ("flash mob");
“floods” the discussion thread with a large number of incoherent or irrelevant messages;
violates etiquette, exhibiting any form of aggressive, humiliating or abusive behavior ("trolling");
doesn’t follow standard rules of the English language, for example, is typed fully or mostly in capital letters or isn’t broken down into sentences.
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.