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.