Armed Drones: a Christian Response
ARMED DRONES: A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
Luke A BarrsA description of the new technologies which enable drone warfare to be waged, without risk to the operator and a consideration of the new moral issues raised.
Christians have always been ambivalent about armed conflict. There is a case for pacifism and there is a case for engaging in, or tacitly supporting, a ‘just’ war. Barrs describes the new technological developments which enable drone warfare to be waged, without any risk to the operator, many thousands of miles from the conflict. New moral issues arise, including the question of targeted assassinations of alleged war criminals without a trial. The author argues powerfully that there is a danger of dehumanisation: ‘A drone pilot enters onto the battlefield in Afghanistan while remaining in Nevada, before finishing for the day, picking up dinner on the way home, and tucking their kids into bed before date night. A killer in the morning and father in the evening.’ Thus, the ethical boundaries and the grounds for a ‘just war’ are shifting and Barrs concludes that Christians should engage in the debate in order to uphold the fullness of humanity. His helpful summary, ideally suited to the succinct format of Grove books, therefore provides a significant addition to Christian ethics in this tricky territory.
Reviewed by Leonard Rickard
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