Drone Warfare Book Review: Medea Benjamin, Drone Warfare Killing by Remote Control (London: Verso 2012)
11 J. Int'l L. & Int'l Relations 92 (2015)
15 Pages Posted: 27 May 2015
Date Written: May 27, 2015
Many books have been written about American policies with respect to the use of drones. Yet, to understand America’s complex relationship with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), more than a mere critique of U.S. policies was needed - a comprehensive history of the development and implementation of drone technology was necessary. In her book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, political activist and Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin offers this more extensive treatment. While Benjamin’s analysis can occasionally be sloppy in structure, prone to hyperbolic language, and suffer from poor editing, she backs up her analysis with a plethora of evidence. The volume is a comprehensive and highly informative discussion that draws on data from journalist accounts, congressional papers, field interviews by peace and human rights advocates, and declassified government reports on the use of UAVs or drones. She also explores the consequences and implications transcending the technology of warfare. Benjamin’s account adeptly challenges the various strands of political and military thought that have commended weaponized drones as the next step in precision warfare. By tracking drones from their inception as surveillance tools used by the Israeli military to their assimilation by the United States and, ultimately, to their normalization as an assassination tool, Benjamin plots the secret history of drone development. It is clear from the outset that her goal is to undermine much of the propaganda fed to the American people on this issue. The book is a must read for anyone interested in the ethical, moral and legal issues arising from the use of drones.
Keywords: Drone-strikes, Drones, UAVs, War on Terror, Medea Benjamin, President Obama, Geneva Convention, Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, PTSD
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