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The Ethics of Warfare, Pt XXII

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by LozHinge the Unhinged, Apr 27, 2013. | Replies: 56 | Views: 2964

  1. LozHinge the Unhinged

    LozHinge the Unhinged IncGamers Member

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    Armed Drones
    Robot "Warriors"

    Is employing ways of "killing the enemy without risk to yourself" immoral?

    Or
    Is the idea of "artillery" immoral?

    Or
    Is it immoral to take cover whilst in a "fire fight"?

    Or
    Is Kevlar armour immoral?

    Are people really insane enough to be challenging the use of "remotes" and "robots" on ethical grounds?

    Does the process of making war on a technologically inferior enemy, at little risk to your own soldiers, inevitably lead to the situation we see now: the enemy strikes back at the only targets it can reach, e.g. civilian population centres.

    Is the answer a return to cavalry charges and hand-to-hand combat? Wars settled on the battlefield like in the good old days.

    The people who actually make war, the "leaders", have always employed remotes and robots to prosecute their wars - we call them soldiers, sailors, airmen - so why is it suddenly immoral to set the risk to life and limb to one further remove, making war safer both for leaders and armed forces personnel?

    :coffee:

    Some random thoughts for you, brought to you by Coffee® and Time On My Hands©
  2. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    In warfare, ethics is just applied by those who can afford it. It's thrown overboard as soon as applying it would cause a too great risk of losing.
  3. stillman

    stillman IncGamers Member

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    The blowback you mentioned is pertinent, I think. Other than that, I think the real outrage is the unveiling of yet another giant (and very expensive) peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeenis by our alpha male monkey lords. Very impressive, boys.

    It's embarrassing, really. All that money blown on RC toys for war games. This is a complex issue, obviously. For instance, how many lives could be saved with all that money? Suppose 10 soldiers are saved by having a billion dollar RC jet do the job for them. Meanwhile, 500 retired soldiers with PTSD off themselves at home (they could have used that money for counselling).

    Edit: maybe soon, mainstream nukes will be our salvation?
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  4. Glurin

    Glurin IncGamers Member

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    "You don't win a war by dying for your country. You win by making the other bastard die for his."

    As true today as it ever was. ;)
  5. Ash Housewares

    Ash Housewares IncGamers Member

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    warfare has always used the best technology available without fretting over morality

    only rarely have certain methods been agreed as out of bounds by belligerents
  6. kestegs

    kestegs D3 Monk Moderator

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    I've never really understood why it was unethical to use technology to save lives.

    Glurin pretty much nailed it.
  7. Stevinator

    Stevinator IncGamers Member

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    My annoyance with drones isn't about it being unfair to the people we're bombing, it's that it's made bombing so easy and casual, that we don't realize that we're dropping bombs on places with a lot of collateral damage. At least when people dropped the bombs they could say, hey, I'm not dropping this on a market with children, and regular families, just to get this one high value target.


    As drones get cheaper and cheaper, you'll see them all over the place, and as they progress, they'll get more and more independant of their masters. I suppose that's a good thing from a pocketbook point of view, but I think we should consider the possible side effects of this technology.


    So no, using them is not immoral. But since we don't only use them on our enemies, but also to patrol our cities, and the border, and more and more places everyday, we should be careful of what we're unleashing on ourselves. Paul's filibuster was making a mountain out of a molehill, because of course obama isn't going to bomb US citizens in the States, but that doesn't mean that as we get more comfortable with the tech, and the ebb and flow of terrorism doesn't mean we never will. Heck, this kid in boston showed us that several of our leaders didn't even want to mirandize him, so much that doing so was a scandal.

    I know that a lot of people's eyes glaze over after the quartering of soldiers bit, but the next several amendments are very important to what this country (and I would think any of yours) wants to be all about. Drones and terrorism (which I see differently from an actual war) touch on a lot of these.

    http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/BillOfRights.html
  8. BobCox2

    BobCox2 IncGamers Member

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    The Assyrians

    Beginning with the campaigns of Adad-nirari II from 911 BC,[SUP][1][/SUP] it again became a great power over the next three centuries, overthrowing the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt and conquering Egypt,[SUP][1][/SUP] Babylonia, Elam, Urartu/Armenia, Media, Persia, Mannea, Gutium, Phoenicia/Canaan, Aramea (Syria), Arabia, Israel, Judah, Edom, Moab, Samarra, Cilicia, Cyprus, Chaldea, Nabatea, Commagene, Dilmun and the Hurrians, Sutu and Neo-Hittites, driving the Ethiopians and Nubians from Egypt,[SUP][1][/SUP] defeating the Cimmerians and Scythians and exacting tribute from Phrygia, Magan and Punt among others.[SUP][1][/SUP] After its fall, (between 612 BC and 605 BC), Assyria remained a province and Geo-political entity under the Babylonian, Median, Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman and Sassanid empires until the Arab Islamic invasion and conquest of Mesopotamia in the mid-7th century, when it was finally dissolved, after which the remnants of the Assyrian people (by now Christians) gradually becoming a minority in their homeland.

    :D

    Lesson One.
  9. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    No.
    No.
    Well, I think it's a grand gesture for you Redcoats to stand up with your white cross-belt shining brightly in the sun.
    The Devil makes work for idle hands.

    Just so. While I agree with Glurin, kris has nailed the underlying stupidity of our nanci-fied mentality. The French knights labeled English longbow-men immoral, because they couldn't duplicate their firepower. Muskets were labeled immoral, particularly in Japan, because they allowed someone barely better than a peasant with little training to snuff a warrior who took a lifetime to train and fortune to equip.

    Perfect case in point: Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. Now, I thought the world of Diana and think her husband Wales is worse than a moron, particularly given his taste in [STRIKE]horses[/STRIKE] women. What man with any libido would have thrown over a hot, svelte, fertile young thing like Diana for this?
    [​IMG]

    "The horror. The horror."

    Thing was, Diana thought it would be fab if the world (guided by the wise hand of the U.N.) would eliminate land mines. I have some limited experience with land mines myself, as I got to clean up the battlefield after Operation Desert Storm - my own little Hurt Locker, so to speak.

    In all honesty, Diana's cause was and is a fools' errand. You can't "un-invent" something, particularly a weapon, and IED weaponry are about the only effective weapon that Islamists can bring to bear against Western forces. The high civilian death toll from land mines isn't due to the weapons' inherent effectiveness as much as it is due to their deliberate and even accidental employment. Western military forces document their minefields with great care, they reclaim the weapons when moving out, and even the aerial-deployed weapons (most of what I was cleaning up) are SUPPOSED to become inert after a designated interval.

    The problem is that most savage third-world military and terror forces don't particularly care about the suffering they inflict on the population (the ends justify the means in their creed, remember). In some cases, they WANT to cause that suffering, as to never let a crisis go to waste - a subjugated, fearful populace is far easier to hide in as well as recruit from.
  10. BobCox2

    BobCox2 IncGamers Member

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    It's a basic principle 1 wounded ties up more of the enemy than one dead and all modern high end bullets are built to take advantage of it as well so it's not 1st vs 3rd world is any more moral.
    The Hague Convention of 1899 bans the use of expanding projectiles against the military forces of other nations. USA did not sign.
    War is Hell.

    http://www.humanitas-international.org/archive/dachau-liberation/lee-john.htm

    http://www.humanitas-international.org/archive/dachau-liberation/

    Don't worry about morality, worry about living.
    In a world worth living in.
    Or better yet how to avoid one you don't want too live in, in the first place...
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  11. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    I was making specific reference to the tendency of insurgents to terrorize their own "host" populace. It's a constant, and not particularly surprising, yet the Left-leaning media tends to gloss it over because they have a soft spot in their heart for the perpetrators. You can find examples in Ireland, Italy, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, Central America, Africa - pretty much world over. When your forces are amongst the criminal scum of the populace, it's hardly a great leap from criminal activity for personal gain to politically-motivated criminal activity.
    I suppose one thing every individual must determine is how inhumane their own side truly is. I tend to bet on the civilized side, even when they lose.

    One of the most noteworthy films during my ethical training was from WW1, I believe, when a soldier refused to kill supposed partisans, left the firing squad, and was gunned down by his comrades as one of the partisans.
  12. Ash Housewares

    Ash Housewares IncGamers Member

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    I stopped reading that article when it misused decimated

    I mean, I use it a bit too literally, but it seems too weak a word when you're talking about 75-100% of a population instead of 10%

    Also I don't really see the relevance of red coats considering it was the era of black powder when you couldn't see anything anyway, and people had to stand to reload. As soon as there were decent breech loading repeating rifles the Prussians had no problems lying prone and shooting the poor dumb Austrian bastards that had to stand to reload.

    Eh I'll give the article you linked another chance

    and now I'm done with it and its agenda thumping
  13. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    For God's sake, you criticize an article but don't even identify who posted it?
    I'm guessing it was one of mine, you one-trick pony? Decimation would be in terms of the overall Turkish population, or perhaps meaning the areas where Christians lived in Turkey.
  14. Ash Housewares

    Ash Housewares IncGamers Member

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    oh yea, sorry, it was the one you linked
  15. LozHinge the Unhinged

    LozHinge the Unhinged IncGamers Member

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    So far, here and in another forum I have posted in, I have yet to see any argument against the use of drones that makes any sense whatsoever. Not even a glimmer. I was really hoping that someone would take a stab at that.

    Another thing I haven't seen in this thread, or in the other one, is a discussion of the issue regarding so called "robot warriors". These are systems that employ killing force without the direct and ongoing input of human beings. Think Robocop "You have twenty seconds to comply" type robots. How are we on that issue?
  16. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    Why, you two-timing little...
    See, you don't have the advantage of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, and in particular the great Ron White:

    "You can't fix stupid" (a little NSFW language)



    Well, if you REALLY want to discuss it, I'm up for the task - not a true expert, but I played one in the Army. The weakness of these systems is the same as any automated system which you give killing power to, such as the "follow on"/"wingman" vehicles or even the armed drones currently in use. Do you really want to trust the visual uplink to determine the true circumstances of a combat scenario, or are you okay with going in guns a'blazin'? You'll recall what that little fey pervert from Wikileaks did with a completely legitimate combat scenario which is now infamous:



    THAT engagement was caused by use of Apache optics, which are incredibly high-quality. I remember trying to run down what I thought could have been an RPG team dodging through a bunker system, but what could have just as legitimately been some kind of kangaroo rat or even just 'blips' on the night vision gear. If visual systems are capable of such bad distortion as mistaking a camera for an AK, or a kangaroo rat for an RPG gunner, just imagine how much more dangerous autonomous systems could be!
  17. LozHinge the Unhinged

    LozHinge the Unhinged IncGamers Member

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    The problems with a guy on an air force base in ****berg, La and what he can see on his Satellite feed aren't really all that different from what a human riding an Apache can see on his monitors right there at the scene of the battle. In both cases, it's likely that the visibility is equal to or better than that of a grunt on the ground. Seems like a nonsense argument to me.

    It's a battle - you can see stuff or you can't, that's war for you. No one's wearing the necessary white and black hats.
  18. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    Utterly false, as any Infantryman could tell you. There's a reason for the hackneyed reference to the "Mark 1 Eyeball" - sensors and optics can be tricked or obscured. In part, it may be because of our animal nature and the ways our brain processes work; one perfect example is the number of aviation accidents caused specifically due to reliance on night-vision devices which collapse our inherent range-finding instincts due to the single optic sensor and the flat screen.

    In a similar vein, a combat mini-mission referred to in my era as the "Leader's Recon" involves the immediate leadership of an attack physically creeping up to a vantage point and physically looking over the terrain, and hopefully even the enemy. You've heard of "Situational Awareness"? You don't have that with optics, any more than you get it with relying on instruments in flight.



    [​IMG]
  19. LozHinge the Unhinged

    LozHinge the Unhinged IncGamers Member

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    So the Mk1 eyeball can see heat signatures inside building? And can see over walls and around corners? And stuff? Are you certain that isn't the Mk2 eyeball you're describing there?

    Cool. So satellite and drone imaging systems are essentially blind. They see nothing. Good to know.

    I understand that the Airplane movies are now used to train pilots and air traffic controllers. I love those movies :nod:

    Say what now?

    Oh yeah. Call of Duty, that's that x-box game my older son plays. A very immersive looking FPS but I prefer watching him play GTA (which I gather is used by police forces to train recruits, by driving schools to train their students and by mobsters, cos ... heh ... good times :yes:)
  20. jmervyn

    jmervyn IncGamers Member

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    Despite your fail at snark, my point still beats the snot out of your point. Sensors, including night vision, are simply incapable of granting situational awareness, where eyes are. At some point in the far future, when the ****berg USAF is flying their Wonder Woman Invisible Planes from the comfort of a Star Trek TNG-style holodeck, it is possible that true situational awareness might be achieved.

    Until then, here's the best simulation that the Army has to offer (a slightly advanced version of the SIMNET I used 20 years ago, coded in ADA):


    Happy to have attempted to educate you - sadly, I think you're unable to absorb the instruction and the underlying lesson.

    Satellites and drones, insofar as I've ever been aware, have no optics processing capability - beyond, perhaps, condensing the information into an encrypted stream for transfer back to their human controller. The processing power required for them to be able to "see" as you imagine they are able to is radically greater than their capability, and would add a huge price tag.

    These "TV guided" systems are generally not even in service any longer; they worked on the basis of what I wrote that bachelors' degree paper about (also many years ago). They take a snapshot image of their aiming point, and then continue to "zoom in" on the target at the center of the image. If the image somehow could change shape, the missile would have lost tracking. The only one I'm aware of that had been widely employed was the AGM-65 Maverick missile, a tank-buster, and the bulk of those actually used IR imaging (as does the only other one I found, the Israeli Spike) or laser guidance, so that the big "hot spot" in the image prevented the need for extensive automated image analysis.
    Not paying attention in class - three demerits. Wait, you were the one who asked - make it five.

    EDIT - Also found the one for Aviation, which I remembered from back then -


    There was a reason the Apache and Warthog pilots not only slaughtered the Marines' LAVs in the battle of Kafji (which has been covered up) but also your Tommies in Warrior APC's - it is because the lack of visual observation and vehicle familiarity. When soldiers have to spend more time taking sexual sensitivity training, or three times as much on racial sensitivity training, then they do in learning threat identification, it's a wonder more friendly fire incidents don't occur.

    You work with tech; I'd hardly have expected to hear you being a "magic bullet" proponent.
    Last edited: May 1, 2013

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