Is Drone Warfare Moral?

In 2012 The International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic of Stanford Law School and the Global Justice Clinic of NYU School of Law issued a report, Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan.  See a short video synopsis here.

A number of people have written on the topic of whether drone warfare, as practiced by the US, meets the criteria of “Just War” doctrine (jus in bello). An internet search will show countless articles and webpages.  Here is a sample:

A number of common arguments are used by those who argue that the current US government practice is immoral:

  • “Targeted killings” are state assassination without due process. Targets include battlefield enemies, citizens of allied nations, US citizens on foreign soil.
  • It is indiscriminate, resulting in unacceptable civilian casualties.  The practice of “double tapping” (a second strike moments after the first) hits first responders.
  • It has the further effect of angering populations, turning people against the US and leading them to embrace those who wish to strike back at US targets

As I recently posted, an Army Reserve chaplain, Chris Antal, was punished for criticizing drone warfare in a sermon.  He then chose to resign his commission.

The practice has been going on for a decade.  It’s time that more Americans ask questions.  It’s time for chaplains to ask questions.