The three people driving out of Miranshah, a small town in the northern tribal region of Pakistan, on Oct. 31, probably heard a distant buzz before the deafening explosion that sent their car tumbling off the side of the road. The passengers, later described as suspected militants by the United States and Pakistan, were incinerated, their remains left inside the charred vehicle.
Their fate began more than 7,000 miles away when two pilots sitting in a pretend cockpit at an Air Force base in Nevada, spotted the car on their screens. With the push of a button, they watched as a Hellfire missile took out its target.
Drones, otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are the next big thing in contemporary warfare and are fast becoming the central pillar of the Obama administration’s ongoing war on terror.
But while the world debates the legal and ethical implications of unmanned combat, there is little acknowledgment that these weapons are anything but unmanned.
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