At the beginning of this month, a new drone book appeared on Amazon, called ‘The Drone Age – How drone technology will change war and peace‘ by Michael J. Boyle. In the book, Boyle covers not only the use of drones during war, but also the impact they have on law enforcement, commerce, humanitarian actions and their potential use by nonstate actors.
Drone book: ‘The Drone Age’
Eoin O’Carroll reviewed the drone book for The Christian Science Monitor and said the following:
Boyle, a political scientist at La Salle University in Philadelphia, argues that drone technology shifts its users’ strategic choices in two major ways.
The first is by altering the way users calculate risk. Assassinations – rebranded as “targeted killings” – can now be carried out far from any declared battlefield with nearly zero risk to anyone in the “kill chain.”
Second, Boyle argues, drones promote mission creep, displacing our goals. For instance, the United States now operates unmanned vehicles in the skies over more than a dozen countries. The U.S. “may not have intended to become militarily involved in a growing number of countries around the world,” he writes, “but its pursuit of al Qaeda and now the Islamic State through targeted killing has led it do so.”
But Boyle’s subject matter is not limited to lethal military drones, although that is where his book’s center of gravity lies. He examines the issues that arise from having “eyes in the sky” available not just to police, the military, and TV stations, but now to nearly everyone with a few hundred dollars.
With a measured tone and a wealth of citations, “The Drone Age” is no polemic against U.S. drone policy.
Nor does Boyle delve much into the individual personalities driving the rise of drones and the often contradictory policies that guide them.
What Boyle offers in the place of righteous condemnation is a quiet moral clarity.
“Only by anticipating what drones do to ourselves and to others,” he writes, “can we ensure that our embrace of unmanned technology does not come at the cost of our humanity.”
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