After a long hiatus, a new Military History Carnival has appeared, at The Edge of the American West and H-War. (Thanks, David Silbey!) A post on combat drones at Legal History Blog caught my eye. It suggests that drones are part of a process in America, post-Vietnam, whereby the need for public support for military adventurism is minimised by the increasing use of high technology, particularly airpower, since they minimise American casualties and hence political resistance. I'd argue it goes back much further than that. Air control between the wars -- as practiced by the RAF in Iraq and the US Marine Corps in Nicaragua -- had much the same purpose. And then there's the (alleged) American preference for security through superweapons. Still, the conversations we are now having about the ethical and political ramifications of drones are interesting; the prospect of robotic warfare in the interwar period didn't lead to the same debates. We have different interests now, it seems, even with respect to the same subjects.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://airminded.org/copyright/.