Everyone seems to have an opinion on the use of drones, some hate it, most dislike it and a few support it. Me I can be placed in the latter group, but as such I have a few caveats I need to add to support my position on the subject. I am not saying I am dead right on the subject but I do feel that the subject is getting way too much attention than is necessary, but that said some discussion on the matter is warranted.
First off, what is a drone, some will tell you it is an unmanned killing machine, some will tell you it is a flying spy and I have even heard it will be the end of civilization as we know it; all of these definitions are true and wrong at the same time. A drone is nothing more or nothing less than a tool, and like any tool it can and often will be misused. It is said the most popular screwdriver is that of the humble hammer, a tool that should not be used to drive in a screw. The drone is a similar tool but it is not the drone’s fault if it is being misused. I have said in the past I do not like our law enforcement personnel using Tazers for just that reason, because we are told they are non-lethal (untrue) the instance of misuse increases. That argument can be used against the use of drones as well, but if you notice I did not say the use of tazers is immoral.
Now let us discuss the use of drones, some have argued that the mere use of a drone is immoral, I disagree. I argue the manner in which drones are used can be immoral but not the use of them in of itself. Before I hear the argument that I am splitting hairs let me say the devil is in the details. If an airstrike is authorized against an enemy target what difference does it make if we use a drone flown by some 19 year old in Kansas or some pilot flying a billion dollar F-22 Raptor? A kill is a kill and so long as the target it good (meaning badguys) the use of a drone is nor more immoral than the use of the Raptor. I understand and agree that the use of drones can be abused leading to immoral actions and we can rant about that all day long and you will get no argument from me but to say the use of drones itself is immoral just does not ring true to me.
The use of drones by law enforcement on American soil is also not immoral nor does it go against our constitution. Ok I will wait till you all calm down before moving on. The use of a drone by law enforcement is no different than law enforcement using confidential informants, phone taps, stakeouts or searches; they are tools just like the drone and so long as they are done within the confines of the law they are all perfectly legal. If a house is under surveillance and all the proper safeguards are in place the use of a drone is legal, it is of my opinion that a warrant should be issued for the use of a drones against American citizens or the property of American Citizens and those legally in the country.
The use of drones against American Citizen abroad is also not illegal. The use of drones against American citizens that ends in the termination of life of that citizen is also not illegal, again provided that all safeguards are in place, warrants issued and every other alternative exhausted. Just because you are an American citizen you do not have the protection of the United States constitution working for you while you are actively working against the United States from another country. You do not have the protection of the United States constitution if you are a tourist, student or visitor in another country so why do you feel you should have the protection of the constitution if you are a terrorist or enemy combatant?
The use of drones is not immoral, those using them seem to be, there is a huge difference and we need to hold accountable those who abuse that power they have the privilege of having.