Tuesday, February 26, 2013


By: George Friedman
Published: February 19, 2013; Stratfor; www.stratfor.com Alternatively, just google the title and writer’s name
Level of Difficulty: ****
Try and discover a video concerning unmanned aerial vehicles, listen and take notes. Think about the pros and cons of the extensive use of such instruments of war. Then discuss the following:
·         What are the advantages of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones for the countries using them?
·         What are the possible disadvantages?
·         In what way is this type of warfare different from conventional warfare?
·         Do you think it is in the long term interest of countries to continue using them? Explain.
1.       Why is the US at the center of the dispute concerning unmanned aerial vehicles?
2.       What is the function of paragraph one? Analyze its structure.
3.       Why is it misleading to call the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper drones?
4.       What does “this” refer to in the phrase “technologies work together to make this possible”?
5.       What is the major reason for the popularity of Predators and Reapers?
6.       What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This distinguishes unmanned aerial vehicles …”?
7.       The lack of anonymity in the case of drone attacks means there is …………………… , which  was not an issue in the past.
8.       What is the consequence of acting as judge and jury in the context of drone attacks?
9.       The major argument in favor of unmanned aerial vehicles is the lack of ………………… in the international jihadist movement.
10.   What is the advantage of having dispersed groups or individuals around the globe for the terrorist group?
11.   The parallel between traditional military attacks and those with unmanned aerial vehicles is the understanding that …………………………………………………………………………………………………………
12.    In what way are the French snipers in the Franco Prussian war and modern day militants  similar to each other?
13.   Attacking targets in a country which is not in a state of war with the US and has not consented to these attacks is not a problem because ……………………………………………………………..
14.   Why are unmanned aerial vehicles not used against local terrorists in the US and the UK?
15.   The writer argues that the US is on a slippery sloap because of the basis on which it has chosen to wage war. Why exactly does he make this claim?
16.   What are the advantages of unmanned aerial vehicles from the terrorists’ point of view?
17.   What is the flaw in the US approach to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles? Be brief.
18.   Why can’t modern day terrorists be defeated via armed conflict?
19.   What does “That” refer to in the phrase “That is there charm”?
Use the notes you made on any listening you did and the text to write advantages disadvantages essay concerning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in warfare.
The advantages according to the text are as follows:
·         Can attack terrorists’ command structure without risk to ground forces
·         Only option (no hierarchical command structure)
·         The individual terrorist is the military unit
·         No insignia so no considerations given under the rules of war
·         No insignia so terrorists responsible for civilian deaths
The disadvantages according to the text
·         Process given to error
·         Violates principles of human rights
·         Gives state the power of life and death without over sight
·         Personal culpability
This very topical text analyzing a current dilemma should go down very well and lead to a lot of discussion. It seems to be the current trend in warfare and the students should be able to provide examples. The text comes out against killing targets with drone attacks (the main focus of the text) but students may disagree. The text leads itself to a wonderful writing activity which could be written as an argumentative essay as well. Enjoy
1.       The US has the biggest fleet of these weapons; it employs them more frequently than any other country.
2.       The introduction; it states the problem, then the main arguments for and against.( Just like our students have been taught)
3.       Because they are actually remotely piloted aircraft
4.       Receiving flight data and visual images from the aircraft and sending command signals back to it via satellite.
5.       The ability to loiter and then strike quickly when a target presents itself ( Best)
6.       The fact that unmanned aerial vehicles are use to deliberately target specific individuals
7.       Personal culpability
8.       The process is given to error, violates principles of human rights and gives the state the power of life and death without oversight.   Note: acting as judge and jury means summary executions!
9.       Hierarchical military organization (best);  OR: divisions and battalions
10.   They can mount military operations against the enemy at unpredictable times and in unpredictable ways
11.   In all wars and militaries, imperfect intelligence, carelessness and sometimes malice have caused military action to strike at innocent people. OR, killing the individuals is a military necessity…
12.   They provide no sign of who they are so they are responsible under international law when civilians are killed.
13.   If a country harbors enemy units, it is an enemy. OR, if it is incapable…
14.   When the police and internal security forces can arrest jihadists plotting attacks, there quite simply is no need for airstrikes from unmanned aerial vehicles. OR, they are tools to be used when a government cannot or will not take action to mitigate the threat.
15.   (If the strategy is to go wherever the enemy is) then the war is limitless; it is also endless.
16.   Their efficiency allows the jihadists to lure the US into other countries and with sufficient manipulation, can increase the number of innocents who are killed; the potential cost to the US is substantial;  the broader the engagement, the greater the perception of US hostility to Islam; it is easier to recruit…
17.   The targets are not as vital as the US thinks; the belief that the destruction of the leadership is the most efficient way to…
18.   Because the real struggle against jihadists is ideological.
19.   The fact that unmanned aerial vehicles lead to geographical limitlessness.

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