Drone Warfare.

Author:Williams, Stephen
Position:Book review

Drone Warfare


14.99 [pounds sterling] POLITY

ISBN 978-0-7456-8099-6

Since late 2007, the US military has relied ever more heavily on using drones in warfare. Drones, after all, offer the ability to strike enemy targets at arm's length and, being pilotless, carry no risk to personnel.

Drone Warfare, a new book by John Kaag in Sarah Kreps, understandably focuses on the US.

Other countries as well as some organisations are showing an interest in the technology, but the US is the only country known to have used armed drones in conflict areas.

They have been used in the Middle East--notably Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen--as well as in Africa--in Somalia (from bases in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Seychelles and Uganda), northern Mali, Niger, Libya, and possibly Mauritania.

While US operations in Africa tend to be shrouded in secrecy, it is known that the US military has established drone bases in northwest Africa to enable it to scale up surveillance missions on militant groups operating in this region's remotest corners.

Whether flying surveillance missions will alienate local people in the countries in which attacks are conducted, or from which they are launched, is debatable, but Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou has spoken of his willingness to establish what he has referred to as "a long-term strategic relationship with the US".

The US State Department has been wary of allowing drones to operate in the region, fearful of criticism that the US is conducting a neo-colonial programme to militarise Africa.

Yet public opinion from across the Atlantic in the US appears to suffer no such qualms. Drone Warfare reports that in the US, "public opinion is widely accepting--while at the same time being somewhat ignorant--of US drone strikes abroad."

It goes on the say: "A large...

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