An Interesting Ethical Question

An Interesting Ethical Question: Once this comes into being, it will revolutionize warfare & perhaps the world…

“The U.S. military’s research wing is seeking to develop a new generation of unmanned aircraft able to blow up terrorist camps or other targets anywhere in the world, without relying on overseas bases or slow-moving manned warplanes.

“It’s a wonder weapon,” said John Pike, a defense analyst at Globalsecurity.org, a military think tank.

‘Two Hours From Any Target’

The Pentagon hopes to have a version of the super-fast drone aircraft up and running in less than a decade. If the craft works as planned, it will be able to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than two hours, and many targets could be hit even faster.

“In a matter of hours – sometimes in a matter of minutes – any target in the world can be struck,” said ABCNEWS military consultant Anthony Cordesman.”

Imagine how militarily useful that would be, especially given the advances in intelligence technology that are likely to be in place by then. For example, take Liberia. It’s entirely possible that if we got into a similar situation 20 years from now, the US President could pick up the phone and call someone like Charles Taylor and say, “You have 24 hours to relinquish power. Do it or die.” Then if Taylor didn’t do as he was told, two hours later he’d be obliterated. Taylor would have no chance to defend himself, no way to strike back against Americans on another continent, and not one American life would be at risk.

That leads to an interesting question — would it be immoral to use this technology to help bring freedom to other nations? For example, would it be wrong to make the same kind of phone call I just talked about to Egypt, Zimbabwe, Cuba, & Iran? It might not be plausible in every case (China has nukes, North Korea has mass artillery in range of Seoul even if they get rid of their nukes), but it could be very useful. Consider that I (and many Conservatives) don’t support risking American blood and treasure in Liberia since we have no interests there. However, if I could take care of Taylor just by pressing a button, without having to risk American lives, he’d be gone or dead in short order — and he probably wouldn’t be the only dictator hitting the road (Castro comes quickly to mind).

Having that sort of power concentrated here in the US will pose interesting ethical questions, but I’m glad we’re going to be the nation wrestling with those issues and not a nation like France or China.

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