Medea Benjamin’s book comes at a time when drones are increasingly in the headlines. The last few months have seen revelations about Obama’s ‘Kill List’, the list of targeted killings signed off directly by the president, as well as a high profile case in the British High Court against the UK government’s role in assisting drone strikes in Pakistan.
The book is a useful collection of key facts, and for anyone who had doubts about the benevolence of drones, the moral arguments are convincing. While arms companies and defence departments laud the technology for its precision, the picture on the ground tells a different story, with each strike almost inevitably causing scores of civilian casualties. The buzz of propellers as ‘predators’ and ‘reapers’ circle overhead has become a ubiquitous source of terror in North West Pakistan, among other places. Moreover, as Benjamin points out, the very notion of drones as an efficient or cost-free mode of warfare only serves to reinforce the brutal instrumentality, and ultimately the moral irresponsibility, of those wielding the technology. At this level the book is effective, but it misses the opportunity to analyse the full political implications.
Read the full review on Counterfire