Is It Really OK to Kill Terrorists With Robots?

Eugene Robinson worries that we've crossed an ethical line
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2011 11:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – The war on terror is increasingly being fought by robot assassins. President Obama has stepped up the use of drones to kill terrorists, taking out targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya. “I am convinced that this method of waging war is cost-effective but not that it is moral,” writes Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post. “There has been virtually no public debate” about the tactics, and we “urgently need” some.

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“First, there’s the practical question of whether killing terrorists in this manner creates new ones.” It has certainly enraged the Pakistanis, for example. The attacks also require "near-perfect intelligence" to ensure we’re hitting the right people. “Mistakes are inevitable; accountability is doubtful at best.” And often the targets are themselves questionable, like Somali militants who might want to attack us, but haven’t actually done us any harm. “Is there a point at which antipathy toward the United States, even hatred, becomes a capital offense?” (Read more Eugene Robinson stories.)

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