It is said that hundreds, if not thousands of US military drones patrol the skies of the Middle East and Central Asia, looking for men to kill.
The American public is hugely in favor of remote killing because it tends to avoid risk to American troops. But few, including apparently no one in the media question the morals and ethics of this sort of warfare, which is the equivalence of murder.
In a battlefield, soldiers aim to kill enemy soldiers who are actively engaged in hostilities. All too often there are innocents who enter the field of battle or accidents in aiming or control of weaponry, resulting in what are called "collator causalities" or "collateral damage" to noncombatants.
Drone warfare is done by camera and attempts to kill anyone who is perceived to be a threat. In Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq, any man of military age, which could be from 13 years of age to 70, could be found carrying a gun and appearing to be a threat. Militias for community protection are common. Any of them could be perceived by a drone operator to be a threat. Any could possibly be confused with a real threat.
But to be killed by a drone operator, one need not be engaged in hostilities to be killed. A man could have decided to cease hostilities, or could be a friend of America living among America’s enemies. If the drone sees him with a weapon, he can be killed. He will be murdered.
The "war on terror" has been described as a "new type of war". It is a remote war in which perceived "enemies" of America can be killed by men who are not at risk, often stationed at military bases on American soil. This is legalized murder if the victim is not an enemy. There is massive evidence that many drone victims are not combatants in any war.
How would America like it if other nations flew drones over our territory and killed our citizens because they appeared to be dangerous or potentially threatening?
Would the American law enforcement agencies use drones and missiles to fight a "war against crime" — perhaps taking out crack houses in inner cities with missiles to prevent police casualties?
The fact that America citizens and media do not question this form of murder is especially troubling. And if history is any guide to the future, blow-back is inevitable.