You know all those drones you kids use to rain grim death upon your unfortunate friends in Modern Warfare 2? Well, according to an American University law professor’s Congressional testimony, they may be illegal under international law. Of course, they could be totally fine, too, it’s just that nobody really knows for sure. That’s probably not what the U.S. military wants to hear, given how much it has spent, and will spend, on drones.
The deal is that the U.S. government has never actually justified, on a legal basis, its use of drones. It has never written a memo, went in front of a Congressional committee, tweeted a quick thought—nothing. The question becomes, OK, at some point you’re going to have to explain the legality of these things, so what’s the hold up?
Or, in the words of the professor, one Kenneth Anderson:
[Lawyers] have not settled on what the rationales are, and I believe that at some point that ill serves an administration which is embracing this. Now, maybe the answer is: This is really terrible and illegal and anybody that does it should go off to the Hague. But if that’s the case, then we should not be having the president saying that this is the greatest thing since whatever. That seems like a bad idea.
Hmm, you’d think the government would have cleared that up before deploying all of those drones…
It gets better! It’s cool and all when the U.S. military has a monopoly on drone technology, but what happens when a proper rival gets a hold of them? Do we, as Americans, want to straddle this line of legality ad infinitum, then find out that Rival Country now has ’em, too?
We occasionally write about drones because they’re quite neat: the amount of engineering and research and development that goes into drones is well worth any tech fan’s attention, if only for a moment.
Maybe by the time Modern Warfare 13: Still Fighting comes out, the legal status of drones would have been cleared up.