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Killing by Drones: The Problematic Practice of U.S. Drone Warfare (Rudolf)

In short by Gertrud Maria Vaske

U.S. American practices in particular raise moral concerns. The increasing availability of drones creates the danger of their inflationary use, without sufficient consideration of individual ethical criteria. 

In the following essay, Dr. Peter Rudolf offers a critical analysis of U.S. practices and underlines the importance of drones as a tool of war in the fight against international terrorism. The United States refers to its pre-emptive right to self-defense, and uses a very broad definition of the imminence of a threat. The lack of transparency is illustrated by the fact that drone usage extends targeted killing to entire groups of persons (known as “signature strikes”). 

The focus of ethical attention in the context of the use of combat drones is on the question of legitimacy, particularly with regard to the decision-makers and decision-making criteria in individual cases and transparency in the drawing up of lists of targets. 

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