A Theory of the Drone

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New Press, The, Jan 6, 2015 - Philosophy - 304 pages
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Drone warfare has raised profound ethical and constitutional questions both in the halls of Congress and among the U.S. public. Not since debates over nuclear warfare has American military strategy been the subject of discussion in living rooms, classrooms, and houses of worship. Yet as this groundbreaking new work shows, the full implications of drones have barely been addressed in the recent media storm.

In a unique take on a subject that has grabbed headlines and is consuming billions of taxpayer dollars each year, philosopher Grégoire Chamayou applies the lens of philosophy to our understanding of how drones are changing our world. For the first time in history, a state has claimed the right to wage war across a mobile battlefield that potentially spans the globe. Remote-control flying weapons, he argues, take us well beyond even George W. Bush's justification for the war on terror.

What we are seeing is a fundamental transformation of the laws of war that have defined military conflict as between combatants. As more and more drones are launched into battle, war now has the potential to transform into a realm of secretive, targeted assassinations of individuals—beyond the view and control not only of potential enemies but also of citizens of democracies themselves. Far more than a simple technology, Chamayou shows, drones are profoundly influencing what it means for a democracy to wage war. A Theory of the Drone will be essential reading for all who care about this important question.

 

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User Review  - jonfaith - LibraryThing

If it is true that weapons constitute the essence of combatants, what is the essence of those who fight using drones? Two years running, I have been swept along and often befuddled by a stream of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - traumleben - LibraryThing

Peter Singer’s “Wired for War” (2009) really broke the deck [naval aviation parlance for being the first to land in a recovery cycle onboard an aircraft carrier] on remotely controlled weapons, both ... Read full review

Contents

Prelude
1
Introduction
11
Methodologies for a Hostile Environment
21
The Genealogy of the Predator
26
The Theoretical Principles of Manhunting
30
Surveillance and Annihilation
37
PatternofLife Analysis
46
Kill Box
52
Combatant Immunity
127
A Humanitarian Weapon
135
Precision
140
Indelicate Murderers
153
Warfare Without Combat
158
License to Kill
167
In War as in Peace
177
Democratic Militarism
185

Counterinsurgency from the Air
60
Vulnerabilities
73
Drones and Kamikazes
83
That Others May Die
91
A Crisis in Military Ethos
96
Psychopathologies of the Drone
106
Killing from a Distance
114
The Essence of Combatants
195
The Fabrication of Political Automata
205
Epilogue
223
Notes
229
Index
275
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About the author (2015)

Grégoire Chamayou is a research scholar in philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. The author of Manhunts: A Philosophical History, he lives in Paris. Janet Lloyd has translated more than seventy books from the French by authors such as Jean-Pierre Vernant, Marcel Detienne, and Philippe Descola.

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