Having grown up during World War II, I found the drones discussed in Christopher Shea ’91’s article (feature, Dec. 12) disturbingly familiar. They appear to be updated versions of the German “buzz bombs” — weapons designed to inflict damage and incite terror, while leaving their operators totally invulnerable. Back in those days, when there was still something of valor about warfare, these sorts of attacks were considered cowardly.
In fact, one can hardly consider these “drone sorties” a form of warfare. Warfare implies an equality of manpower and armaments. When people are sitting ducks and cannot even protect themselves, there is no warfare. It is simply a series of “spot and destroy” missions. No prisoners ever are taken.
The fact that the killers do their deadly work by remote control and remain safe at home hardly makes them heroes. That such sorties are so safe, so sanitized, and so one-sided makes them very appealing, particularly to bullies. We never will grasp their entire meaning until we are on the receiving end, which, let’s hope, never happens.
But as our technology gets brighter, so our humanity gets dimmer. With their incredible speed and pinpoint accuracy, drones may become so acceptable as instruments of control that it eventually may be suggested that they be used here, to patrol our own skies and pick off terrorists, “potential terrorists,” common criminals, and other “enemies of the people.”