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  1. #1
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    Drones and the Human Element

    I've always felt a little ambivalent about drones. I mean having some geek flying drones loaded with Hellfire missiles over the Middle East from an armchair in Virginia, seems to me to ask some interesting questions.

    But now the questions are becoming a little pointed as drones will now be flown from Australian territory in the Indian Ocean up into Asia.

    On one hand, drones are a wonderful technology, particularly for Australia, as we have huge territories to patrol, and drones would be more than useful.

    On the other hand, drones seem to be a little unsporting. I mean we felt B-52s bombing Vietnamese villagers were a little unsporting, and drones seem to be taking this to a new level of dissociation.

    And we know the pilots of the B-52s were dissociated while bombing from 30,000 feet, and didn't associate their job with the destruction on the ground. But at least the B-52s have pilots, while the drones carry no pilots at all. Technology makes dissociation so much easier.

    We support our American allies, but we wonder if we are becoming entranced by technology that removes the human element.

  2. #2
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    But that geek is part of the electronic global tribe that we all belong to here on TypoC, and his touch is as human as our touch. As you know, tribal affiliations supersede national loyalties. So, we are really all firing hell on the Middle East.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Munchies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    I've always felt a little ambivalent about drones. I mean having some geek flying drones loaded with Hellfire missiles over the Middle East from an armchair in Virginia, seems to me to ask some interesting questions.

    But now the questions are becoming a little pointed as drones will now be flown from Australian territory in the Indian Ocean up into Asia.

    On one hand, drones are a wonderful technology, particularly for Australia, as we have huge territories to patrol, and drones would be more than useful.

    On the other hand, drones seem to be a little unsporting. I mean we felt B-52s bombing Vietnamese villagers were a little unsporting, and drones seem to be taking this to a new level of dissociation.

    And we know the pilots of the B-52s were dissociated while bombing from 30,000 feet, and didn't associate their job with the destruction on the ground. But at least the B-52s have pilots, while the drones carry no pilots at all. Technology makes dissociation so much easier.

    We support our American allies, but we wonder if we are becoming entranced by technology that removes the human element.
    the last sentence can be takin vaguely and is possibly true. But when directed in a military standpoint, i think it's more desireable to be killing from a UAV rather than trench warfare. The goal is to live, and deny the same rights to the enemy. This isn't a 2 lines of riflemen taking turns shooting each other. This is war
    1+1=3 OMFG

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    Quote Originally Posted by Munchies View Post
    the last sentence can be takin vaguely and is possibly true. But when directed in a military standpoint, i think it's more desireable to be killing from a UAV rather than trench warfare. The goal is to live, and deny the same rights to the enemy. This isn't a 2 lines of riflemen taking turns shooting each other. This is war
    The goal of warfare, except religious warfare, is to reach a political settlement.

    And to reach a political settlement, we need to see the enemy as human.

    But if technology removes our own humanity, we find it harder to see the humanity of our enemy.

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    Senior Member Munchies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    The goal of warfare, except religious warfare, is to reach a political settlement.

    And to reach a political settlement, we need to see the enemy as human.

    But if technology removes our own humanity, we find it harder to see the humanity of our enemy.
    Political settlement? That's a wild assumption. You do not know the motive, for all you know the motive is absolution. it is easier for a soldier looking down at the person he kills, it makes him more efficient, it's why hippies aren't soldiers.
    1+1=3 OMFG

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Munchies View Post
    Political settlement? That's a wild assumption. You do not know the motive, for all you know the motive is absolution. it is easier for a soldier looking down at the person he kills, it makes him more efficient, it's why hippies aren't soldiers.
    Of course religious warfare is fought for absolute aims, and so the compromise of a political settlement is neither desirable nor possible.

    However the war that may be fought from Australian soil will have China as the enemy, and unlike jihad, will be fought for political reasons, namely, to reach a political settlement between China and the USA.

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    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I don't see much difference between someone bombing using a screen and joystick in Virginia and someone doing the exact same thing in a cockpit over the battlefield, or someone launching a cruise missile for that matter.

    I would venture a guess that a B-52 in Vietnam had a significantly higher rate of collateral damage than a drone in Afghanistan.

    There are plenty of people on the ground calling in and directing those airstrikes that maintain the human element.

    I can understand the concern but it is still a person choosing when to fire. It may make it easier for people to kill but people don't appear to have had much trouble with that before modern technology.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  8. #8
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    History shows us that pre-eminent powers, such as the USA, go to war when their pre-eminence is challenged, as by China today.

    And from China's point of view, they have been pre-eminent for almost all of their history, except recently in contact with the industrial powers of the West. And now China is returning to their natural position of pre-eminence.

    And neither China nor the USA want to give way at this point.

    And this presents a nightmare for Australia, for the USA is our best ally and China is our biggest trading partner.

    So we will be working very hard to help achieve a political settlement between China and the USA, where both are equally pre-eminent.

    And we hope to achieve this political settlement without the spilling of too much blood.

  9. #9
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    I'm sure there will be some major conflict in the future, but not soon I think. I understand the theory of hegemonic stability, and the necessary conflict when it's threatened, but I think that people vastly overestimate China's ability to challenge the United States' hegemony presently (and ignore all of the other emerging powers).
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    It may make it easier for people to kill but people don't appear to have had much trouble with that before modern technology.
    Modern technology makes possible industrial killing.

    So the purpose of war technology is to kill as many people as possible in the shortest period of time. For instance, the killing of 3.1 million Vietnamese, 2.1 million combatants and 1 million civilians, is a good example of planned industrial killing.

    And as we have moved from traditional warfare to technological warfare the number of civilians killed per war has increased dramatically.

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