The Killing Game

July 2008

Drones are the future of warfare. Through them, we can hunt enemies abroad at no risk to ourselves. They're perfect for post-Iraq missions, sparing us the difficulties of an official troop presence in foreign hot spots. We're already flying more than 1,000 of them in combat. The big ones hunt and kill. Go ahead, shoot at them. You can't hurt the pilots. The pilots are in Nevada.

If you've seen combat in the flesh, you know what the fireball on the screen means to the people in the car [just destroyed by the drone]. But to a teenager raised on Doom and Halo, it looks like just another score. He can't feel or smell the explosion. He isn't even there. The eeriest thing in the demo video is the total silence that accompanies the car's destruction. The only sound that follows is the pilot's triumphant verdict: "Excellent job." It's like something you'd read on the screen after getting a high score at an arcade.

Killing real people becomes a video game

War is never noble or good, but something feels horribly wrong about this. What really scares me is the possibility of any country (but especially the enthusiastically invasive U.S.A) being able to go to war without risking the lives of their own people. Without that risk, war becomes far too easy a choice.

Nato commented:

Unless all countries had such technology. Then we could have war without loss! Wouldn't that be a marvelous world to live in?

[Yes, I am being a little sarcastic]