Last Updated 15 Apr 2020

Unmanned Drones: Immoral?

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Jordan Morris Dr. Flores Eng 103 February 27, 2013 Unmanned Drones: Immoral? I chose to research two articles that take opposing sides on the use of tactical unmanned aerial vehicle drones that are being used in combat over seas seeing as how there is so much controversy surrounding this topic in the news nowadays. “The unmanned aerial vehicle also known as UAV is an aircraft with no pilot on board. UAV’s can be remote controlled or fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans” (www. theuav. com). These unmanned “drones” are used in the military for a number of things including intelligence gathering and attacks terrorist groups.

The first article is the better of the two when it comes to convincing the reader. Although fighter planes have the advantage of and experienced pilot behind the wheel, unmanned drones are more accurate, less expensive and safer than fighter planes. The point of the first article “Five Myths about Obama’s Drone War” (Washington Post) is to convince the reader that it is ok to use drones in combat. He talks about how during wartimes it is crucial for the weaponry to evolve, from slingshots to bow & arrows to guns to fighter planes to unmanned drones.

He says, “that from a moral and ethical standpoint drones are little to no different than rifles, bombers or tanks. ” (Washington Post) He also says that drones are some of the most precise weaponry used in combat theses day but doesn’t really provide statistics. “Drones should not give give us a false sense of security. The intelligence required for targeting may require U. S. boots on the ground. ” (Washington Post) Drones are much less expensive than fighter aircrafts so it would make sense for a poorer country to invest in building drones instead of fighters. This presents a dilemma for the U. S. ecause we are more prone to attacks, as seen on September 11, 2001. In the first article Mark R. Jacobson lists 5 myths that have been sparked about the use of these drones, and then explains his view on each one. Jacobson address’s the statement “Drones are immoral,” which is a great way to start the article seeing as how that’s what most people perceive them to be. He says, “Drones are neither autonomous killer robots nor sentient beings making life-or-death decisions. Yet, with the “Terminator”-like connotations of the term, it is easy to forget that these vehicles are flown via remote control by some 1,300 Air Force pilots.

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Drones are an evolution in military technology, not a revolution in warfare. ” This statement is a prime example of Logos, the appeal to logic, because he takes a very straightforward approach to the topic at hand. He then goes on to use Ethos when addressing the statement, “Drones allow us to fight wars without danger. ” Jacobson states that, “Drones should not give a false sense of security. The intelligence required for targeting may require U. S. boot on the ground. ” This characterizes the idea of a community still being needed to gain information and do some “dirty work” for there to even be the need for a drone strike.

In the second article “Drone Strikes: What’s the Law? ” (LA Times) author Vicki Divoll discusses the execution of U. S. citizen Anwar Awlaki by our government in a drone attack. Her article deals with the 5th Amendment’s admonition: No American citizen shall “be deprived of life, liberty or the property without due process of law. ” Her style of writing is more like the Tolmin Model of Argument. This article had much more emotion involved which made the reader a lot more engaged in what the author was talking about.

Instead of writing in a way that might focus purely on the different types of appeals, the second article is written in a way that focuses more on an initial claim that is backed by support evidence. In addition, the author mentions Awlaki’s story, which provides an emotional involvement for the reader to remain engaged. The author’s claim in the second article is that American citizens should be entitled to their constitutional rights. Her story about how Anwar Awlaki, an American citizen, was reportedly targeted and killed demonstrates the fact that not every citizen is being treated equally.

She goes on to provide support for her claim by discussing, “the Supreme Court case Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, a 2004 Bush-era Supreme Court decision, to justify that the government believes that there are no due process problems with the drone program. But the memo writers make an inexcusable mistake: They cherry-pick the decision, disregarding the heart of what the justices said. ” In the case she mentions, Yasir Hamdi, a U. S. citizen arrested on the battlefield in Afghanistan, set out to challenge his indefinite detention in an American military facility as an enemy combatant.

The administration at the time argued that, in wartime, the executive alone should determine who the enemy is and what measure can to be used against him. The court disagreed and sent Hamdi’s case to a lower court for a review of factual accuracy of his enemy combatant designation. This review never happened and Hamdi was deported. The Supreme Court's reasoning in Hamdi remains the most applicable legal example that applies to targeted killings. Divoll writes, “Significantly, eight of the nine justices agreed that Hamdi was entitled to an impartial review, outside the executive branch, of the facts of the case.

Only Justice Clarence Thomas bought the Bush administration's theory of executive power. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing the principal opinion, reminded us of the court's decades-long admonition: “A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens. ” O'Connor further explained how the due process clause operates in wartime when the executive branch is making a determination about the fate of an American citizen. Hamdi's interest in liberty, she wrote, must be balanced against the needs of the executive in fighting a war.

You don't need a law degree to apply that reasoning to targeted killings. If the executive cannot act alone when an American's liberty is at stake in the post-9/11 War on Terrorism, the Supreme Court would be at least as concerned when an American's life is on the line. The court has always ruled that the more crucial the individual interest at stake, the more ‘process’ is due. ” All this is a great source of support for Divoll’s claim. The second article had much more factual evidence to back up the author’s initial claim and yet still provided a sense of emotion to keep the reader interested.

The two stories provided by Divoll were perfect examples in which the author could refer to and point out the flaws in our system. Although she doesn’t come right out and blatantly state it, I believe that the author would agree in my previous statement that it is ok to use unmanned tactical drones on American citizens only if they have refused to exercise their right to due process. Work Cited Page 1. http://www. theuav. com/ 2. http://articles. washingtonpost. com/2013-02-08/opinions/36988550_1_drone-strikes-drone-pilots-civilian-casualties (Washington Post) 3.

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