Huge commercial potential of UAVs has already prompted many entrepreneurs to start using them in their businesses. Drones are already in great demand among filmmakers who seek impressive camera shots. Farmers have been using them to analyze their crops and to dust them with pesticides. In overcrowded cities with constant traffic jams it would be faster and cheaper to deliver light parcels by drones rather than sending them with a messenger.
The US’ drone warfare overseas and a large number of civilian casualties resulting from it have almost overshadowed peaceful application of this technology. Initially, the drones are not only about destroying targets and killing people.
The years of Barack Obama’s presidency saw the escalation of the US drone program. Drones attacks became the key part of the US government approach to counterterrorism. Under the Bush administration the US mainly conducted “personality strikes” - the alleged targets were the so-called “high value leaders” of different militant groups. Under Obama the program expanded to so-called “signature strikes”.
From a military point of view the use of UAVs for destroying enemy targets and killing insurgent has undisputable advantages. A government doesn’t need to send another special unit to a war zone and can avoid victims among servicemen. It is also possible to attack enemies from a safe environment. The pilots who control lethal drones in Pakistan or Yemen are usually doing it from a military base somewhere within the US. But how about the ethical aspect of this kind of warfare?
This month marks ten years since the first CIA drone strike hit Pakistan. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, based in London, in ten years the US has conducted over 380 drone strikes in that country. More than 2,000 people were killed.