Uninhabited aerial vehicles and the asymmetry objection: A response to Strawser

Journal of Military Ethics 11 (1):58-66 (2012)
Abstract The debate about the ethics of uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) is failing to keep pace with the rise of the technology. Therefore, all the key players, including ethicists, lawyers, and roboticists, are keen to offer their views on the use of these drone aircraft. Some are opposed to their use, citing a range of ethical, legal and operational issues, while others argue for their ethically mandated use. B.J. Strawser fits into this latter category. He develops a principle of ?unnecessary risk?, from which he argues that we have an ethical obligation to employ UAVs if we can do so without incurring a loss of capability. Strawser defends his argument against a number of potential objections, most questionably, the argument that the use of distance weaponry such as drones, against another state without distance weaponry, crosses some moral threshold that makes the combat immoral. Utilising Jeff McMahan's work on the inequality of combatants, Strawser essentially argues that there are no grounds for a ?fair fight?. However, this paper will argue that it is not so easy to overturn the doctrine of the moral equality of combatants, nor dismiss the problem with asymmetry. It will demonstrate that if the asymmetry reaches a certain level, the justification for resorting to war may be removed and some sort of policing action may remain the only option
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DOI 10.1080/15027570.2012.683703
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References found in this work BETA
Suzy Killmister (2008). Remote Weaponry: The Ethical Implications. Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (2):121–133.

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Citations of this work BETA
Christian Enemark (2014). Drones, Risk, and Perpetual Force. Ethics and International Affairs 28 (3):365-381.

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Similar books and articles
Theodore Sider (1993). Asymmetry and Self-Sacrifice. Philosophical Studies 70 (2):117 - 132.
Suzy Killmister (2008). Remote Weaponry: The Ethical Implications. Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (2):121–133.
Georges Dicker (2000). Regularity, Conditionality, and Asymmetry in Causation. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 7:129-138.

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