Unmanned warfare: Uk newspaper The Guardian asks - is it ethical?, should you get medals?

London
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

Left-leaning British newspaper The Guardian - one of the biggest internet news providers in the world - is this week examining some of the more philosophical implications of unmanned warfare in its popular Technology section.

Journalist Pete Warren writes: "But if this is the beginning of the end of humanity's presence on the battlefield, it merits an ethical debate that the military and its weapons designers are shying away from."

He draws heavily on the US Army's Joint Robotics Progam Master Plan and the US Unmanned Aircraft Systems Roadmap.

In what is the front-page feature in the hard-copy version of the newspaper, Warren looks at the applicability of the Geneva Convention in the unmanned age, and the blue-on-blue risk.

More interestingly he talks about the effects on the hearts and minds of the public at home when warriors are not actually laying down their lives, and also the propaganda possibilities for al-Qaeda to point to cowardly forces that do not turn up to fight in person.

The Pentagon declined to engage in discussion on the issues, but Warren concludes: "Even though the Pentagon does not want to talk just now, the introduction of robots has already begun one upheaval: a re-evaluation of how it awards medals. After all, should robots' operators receive combat service medals for battles at which they were not physically present?"