The Problem with Drones

04/27/2016 11:38

by Wayne Flaherty


Americans celebrate when an American drone flies into hostile territory and destroys a terrorist cell. We all know these are the bad guys and deserve to die. Of course that is only our opinion. From the viewpoint of the country into which we sent the drone, it is an invasion of their sovereign territory – as surely as if we had sent armed troops to eliminate the terrorists.

So what’s wrong with that? Simply this - it sets a precedent, a dangerous precedent. On an international scale it can be readily interpreted to mean any country can fly a drone into any other country to kill anyone they consider a terrorist. Since there is no internationally recognized definition of a terrorist, it is left to each country to define a terrorist however they see fit. We call the Muslims who carried out the 911 attacks terrorists, but their country considers them to be soldiers. Terrorism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

The problem will come when some nation decides to fly a drone across an American border to wreak havoc on our citizens. What argument will we use to decry that action? How will we answer when the offender proclaims, “It was OK when you did it so why is it wrong when we do it?”

That, my friend, is the problem with drones.