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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the NSA tracking your every move! There’s no hiding that the United States has cozied up to the
idea of unmanned aerial vehicles. After the US’s disastrous attempt at bringing democracy to the Middle East during the “War on Terror”,
most Americans are quick to veto the idea of putting any soldiers on the ground.
So what’s a world power to do? Americans don’t want their troops walking through the front door of a foreign country…so why not just
“fly” them around with no jurisdiction? Drones have been protecting our
country for the past few years by taking out suspected terrorists in countries like Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia—no trial needed!
With that, it’s no surprise that people are criticizing the US’s use of drones in the Middle East. That’s the least of our worries,
because local police departments, e-commerce sites and your government want to make drones a day-to-day reality at home. What does that mean?
Let’s take a look at what a drone is, how we use them and if you think they should be used more frequently.
A drone is simply and unmanned aerial vehicle. It can be controlled in an alternate location, and can be equipped with cameras, statistical measuring
equipment, and even lethal weapons. The main interest when it comes to drones is they’re very cost effective. The equipment needed for a human pilot
like the cockpit, armor, ejection seat, flight controls and oxygen are not needed. Sometimes, a person isn’t even needed to control the device. An
automatized onboard computer can direct the drone to its destination and complete it’s task.
Imagine strapping artillery to one of these unmanned drones. Now that—is the stuff of nightmares. Using combat drones has taken our soldiers off the
ground and put them in front of computer screens. Yes, drones have made military life a little more tolerable. During a typical day a solider may control a
drone equipped with a Hellfire anti-armor missile, walk
home to his wife and kids after 8 hours of joysticking and do it all again the next day.
Keeping our troops safe is an arguable defense for the use of military drones, but what exactly are these drones doing in other countries and how is it
affecting the civilians caught in the middle of this silent war?
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress
disorder, trauma and anxiety are becoming rampant in countries like Yemen. Alleged US missile strikes have been reported in twelve of Yemen's 21
territories, and as many as 504 people have been killed since 2002.
These drone strikes are implemented without any justice system present. These “signature strikes” are researched, calculated and have a number
of innocent civilian victims. Some argue that drones have done their job by killing key leaders and putting a stop to
terrorists sanctuaries in countries like Pakistan, Yemen, and, Somalia. However, other people argue that practicing a “judge, jury, and
execution” approach to the drone strikes has created even more disdain for America. Instead
of defeating Al Qaeda, this tactic may be creating sworn enemies out of a sea of local insurgents.
The American drones that are flying around Yemen are resulting in the Yemenis’ stress and hatred. How would you feel if you saw a drone fly over your
home? Well, there are a lot of organizations gunning for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to throw American airspace wide open to drones by
September 30, 2015. Who knows, maybe we’ll start to feel a little more sympathy for the Yemenis’ plight.
Police stations and fire departments are extremely interested in this technology. Right now, you can only fly a drone in the United States up to 400ft, and
you must keep a visual. If certain people have their way, the FAA will lift those limitations. Leaving the airspace open for various drone usage.
Some believe there is cause for concern. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) worries when drones become cheaper and more reliable, law enforcement
agencies will begin to carry out persistent surveillance operations. Sure, the Fourth Amendment protects Americans from “unreasonable searches and
seizures,”--but how will this apply to drones?
Will our future be filled with more drones? How would you feel if an unmanned aircraft delivered your Amazon shipments while another watched your every
move making sure you were following the law? With great technology comes great power—but will it be handled responsibly?