Out of Range: The ethics of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan

My latest op-ed, “Out of Range,” appeared in this morning’s edition of Antiwar.com. In it, I explore the ethical dilemma of the U.S.’s ongoing campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan. This is shaping up to be one of the hottest contemporary debates in foreign policy circles.

I write: “Technology and wealth have made it possible for the U.S. to exercise decisive military power anywhere in the world. But our technology and our wealth often outrun our wisdom, our prudence, and our moral sensibilities.” … “With the exception of the pacifist and nonviolent traditions, most of our moral thinking about war acknowledges that there are at least some circumstances under which violence and killing, including organized political violence (or war), is morally acceptable. But are our theories about the ethics of warmaking up to the task of determining when, if ever, it is permissible to kill a relatively impotent enemy from a safe and anonymous distance, by robot or missile?” … “For their operators, controlling these ‘drones’ must not be so different from playing a video game – something almost fictional, bearing at most a tangential relationship to the reality of face-to-face killing and dying that informed our ability to understand the depth of the tragedies of previous wars we have fought.”

If you enjoy the op-ed, please take a moment to pass it along to others who might be interested.

Other columnists featured on Antiwar.com today: University of Chicago international relations theorist John J. Mearsheimer (also my former M.A. thesis advisor!), legendary New Left activist Tom Hayden, University of Michigan historian Juan Cole, Senior Editor at Time.com Tony Karon, and Salon.com contributor and Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald.

Ryan McCarl
Attorney | Writer | Educator