On my way back from a Chiropractic Appointment of all places I came across a protest in front of Tower 42 (which many may know by its old name of the Natwest Tower). These days Natwest are long gone, the building is multi let and I’m led to believe one of the tenants is General Atomics, who make and/or design a number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or Drones) for a number of militaries (including the US and the UK).
The protest was pointing to the deaths caused by drones in a number of conflicts, these days principally related to Afganistan but infamously in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
I’ll put my hand up and say I don’t believe weapons to be intrinsically evil. People use weapons to protect, to serve, to maintain the peace. People also use weapons for a variety of offensive or immoral purposes. Having said all of that I don’t believe that the invention of a new weapon obviates all moral responsibility in its use from anything that went before. There does seem to be elements of that in the way drones are being used.
Why is it that as a society we listen to the tales of innocent people being blown up by drones in Northern Pakistan (and other places) and somehow don’t have a problem with it? If it were our soldiers doing the same thing, I’m pretty sure many more people would have a problem with it. Somehow, it being a robot means that it isn’t real.
The best poster I read was “Drone Wars Still Kill People”. I think that is a reminder for all of us that life isn’t all a game of Modern Warfare or Grand Theft Auto. Innocent people are killed and maimed by these machines.
The protesters I met have websites:
For the avoidance of doubt I’m not affiliated in any way with these protesters and I will put my hands up and say I’m not sure I would agree with them on everything, but I thought this was a subject worth publicising.
With thanks to the protester who let me take his picture for this blog post.