2013: Year of the Drone

Monday, February 04, 2013

Migrants Seen by Predator Drone, U.S.-Mexico Border ([image from public domain])

Lev Grossman, senior writer for TIME, discusses his recent cover story on the rise of drone usage - both in military operations and domestically.


Lev Grossman

Comments [24]

walter beattie

Why do we debate the morality of how we kill people? Poison gas? Atomic bombs? Germ warfare? Napalm? Herbicides? And now we debate drones? Under what circumstances could any of these means become "moral"? It is an ultimate hypocrisy to debate this. Either don't do it, or do it and shut up about it.

Feb. 04 2013 11:36 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Ed - you're so right. This is the real concern about the use of drones. Americans are generally ignorant about how these things are used overseas. These are weapons of war and they will be folding into law enforcement and become normalized if Americans do not stand up against such dangerous tactics. Maybe when the first American gets blown up here they will pay attention. But it will be too late.

I'm sure they won't have a problem with their use against migrants and drug smugglers and foreigners.

Feb. 04 2013 10:55 AM
Ed from New Jersey

No one brought up the subject of what happens to with the surveillance drones as the wars wind down. The right to privacy issue that may arise from the use by law enforcement of these surplus drones is much more likely than killer predator drones winding up in a private citizens hands.

Feb. 04 2013 10:37 AM
John A from downrange

The process of reconciling this is taking soo long... What is this, the Catholic Church? I'm being flip but that's because there Is progress to be happy about. Thank-You BLshow and Time.
(onair)"Is this a war crime? We don't even know."(paraphrased)
Everybody see now why we Need to know?

Feb. 04 2013 10:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I hope we will have armed drones over our southern border, and shouldn't have any immigration reforms until we do!

Feb. 04 2013 10:26 AM
john from office

jgarbuz from Queens
I copy you on your comment. Dam right. People who are against drones will say, lets arrest these people instead. Ok, lets do that, you go first.

Feb. 04 2013 10:25 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Of course our drones are GOOD! Iraq and Afghanistan were "major wars?" No, WWI and WWII were major wars. The fact is that our technologies have reduced American deaths radically in wars! But foes like Iran will catch up soon. When we are faced with Iranian nuclear armed ballistic missiles and Iranian drones, maybe we'll wake up, as we did only AFTER Pearl Harbor.

Feb. 04 2013 10:24 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

You are right JG. Americans do live in a bubble, that's why Obama can get away with using drones - ad nauseum, without any domestic opposition.

Feb. 04 2013 10:24 AM
Fishmael from NYC

There's a question missing: are drone strikes legal under international laws of war? What about when we aren't at war with the territory on which the strike occurs?

Feb. 04 2013 10:23 AM
Bob from Brooklyn


Feb. 04 2013 10:22 AM
bill from Brooklyn

in the PBS episode they say Fighter pilots make WORSE Drone pilots
is this true?

Feb. 04 2013 10:21 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Amen Joe, you took the words out of my mouth.

Feb. 04 2013 10:20 AM

Such a heartwarming segment full of bad jokes, chuckles and laughter. It's all so fun.

Feb. 04 2013 10:19 AM

News gathering! Get rid of those horrible noisy helicopters used now!

Feb. 04 2013 10:18 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Bob

I wish. Americans live in a bubble. They have no clue as to what is going on in other countries, because we don't even have an international media here. I didn't even hear one story about Iran's unveiling its latest stealth fighter. Americans live in the world of Kardashians and Super Bowls. No different than Americans did before Pearl Harbor.

Feb. 04 2013 10:18 AM

Is a drone strike any less ethical than contracting a hit or sending in a SEAL team? Well, there is usually far more planning on a contract hit or SEAL operation. I would hope that our use of drone strikes is going down. For every non-combatant we kill, we create at least two terrorist with revenge in their hearts.

As regards, DIY or off the shelf drones, it is only a matter of time before we suffer a remote controlled machine gunning or bombing of a sports event made possible by the mis-use of this technology.

Feb. 04 2013 10:18 AM
fuva from harlemworld

We're obliged to wonder if the focus on melodrama at the expense of drones and other critical DOD issues is by design.
Whether this is the case, or the "leadership" is really this petty, we are in trouble.

Feb. 04 2013 10:18 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Drones and hellfires on the border -- is this how we'll secure it so we get immigration reform?

Feb. 04 2013 10:16 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Don't worry, jgarbuz. Your pov is winning in spades.

Feb. 04 2013 10:13 AM

Drones go back to WWII...they make us detached from the killing. We have a monopoly on drones and drone technology so we don't care...but just like atomic bombs, once everyone gets them the US will squawk about standards and rules (which we will flaunt). the American people are willingly asleep about what drone use causes...more "terrorists"

Feb. 04 2013 10:12 AM

Drones don't kill people. Tyrants kill people.

Feb. 04 2013 10:12 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Drone pilots - a jobs success story!

Feb. 04 2013 10:11 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I don't give a rat's butt about "American image." I want terrorists dead and I want enemies to DREAD us, not love us. America is inflicting damage on itself while enemies are getting stronger all the time. Iran just unveiled its first stealth fighter. It is developing UAV's on a mass scale too. We are destroying ourselves from within while enemies like Iran increase in power.

Feb. 04 2013 10:11 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Without a doubt in my mind, drones are a tool for war crimes and violations of national sovereignty. And now that the wars overseas are winding down we'll get to experience first hand all the toys and goodies the Pentagon have been using to discipline the Middle East. The first targeted kill on the border will raise big headlines here for a couple weeks, then it will just be another regular feature of Federal law enforcement.

I love it how all these private defense contractors push this crap on law enforcement. Of course, the police departments love their gadgets too, love their budgets and the special protections under the law. Putting toys in the hands of boys...

Feb. 04 2013 09:11 AM

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