I am glad that unmanned aerial systems (UAS) like the armed Predator and Reaper "drones" are getting attention (RJ, March 6). What seems at first glance like a no-brainer--allowing our side to attack enemies without putting any of our personnel in physical danger--is not as one-sided or without problems as it might seem at first glance.
Attacking without risk of US casualties makes approval of questionable missions more common. Many civilians are being killed along with intended targets despite all the technology. This only makes future peace-making harder and more remote. Taking a longer view is at least as troubling. There must be one set of laws, and we must hold ourselves to it. Until we renounce all war-making, our only hope is to increase adherence to the Laws of Armed Conflict, and challenge others to follow them too; we must lead by example. UAS attacks in Pakistan are of particular concern. Pakistan is a country and an official ally, but we're violating their sovereignty on a regular basis with Predators and Reapers.
New weapons systems will be used, and their ability to destroy constantly increases. In the short term, they may keep our soldiers safer, but in the long term, systems like the Predator may wreak such havoc on international law and the civil societies under their constant buzz that they undermine any work for a more positive future for the world.
View more information on the Predators & Reapers page.