Targeted Killing at a Distance: Robotics and Self-Defense
19 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2016
Date Written: March 31, 2012
The Obama Administration started out to subdue some of the rhetoric of war from the prior administration, but in fact has upped the ante by multiplying the number of targeted killings that are directed against suspected militants. There is a difference between general military targeting and targeting of individuals, but the use of robotic weapons in both situations presents the same concern: will humanity eventually take itself so far out of the line of fire that it removes any natural limits on the use of force? From a potentially bewildering array of objections and justifications, two primary questions can be isolated: does the targeting of individuals who are away from a traditional battlefield violate general norms of self-defense, and does the use of robotic weapons violate international law? Both questions can be answered in the negative, but still leave troubling implications for the future.
Keywords: drones, law of war, robotics
JEL Classification: K33, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation