These concerns range from the number of deaths and injuries of civilians (a study reported in the New York Times found that only 2 per cent of drone strikes killed “senior Taliban and al-Qaida leaders”), to the psychological damage caused by life under constant threat of drone attack, to the psychological impact of this kind of warfare on drones operators.
There is also some evidence that medical personnel and others who arrive at the scene to assist the injured have been targeted in drone attacks, which is a war crime.
In Pakistan, drone casualties range from light casualties to estimates from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) of large numbers of civilian deaths, including children, family members attending funerals, people on rescue missions and medical personnel.
Drones could lead to a world of globalised warfare, in which people may find themselves within a theatre of war literally anywhere on the planet.
It is Medact’s belief that war, however it is waged, will not end the problems of terrorism or instability. It will make them worse.
Medact’s report recommends greater parliamentary and public scrutiny of the use of drones, their inclusion in arms limitation treaties, and a stop to further automation in their operations.
We believe it is time for the UK government to stop purchasing, developing and deploying armed drones.