6 comments on “Theory of the drone 12: ‘Killing well’?

  1. Pingback: What the Drone is all about? | Ramble. Focus. Ramble.

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  5. I am designing a course on National Security, Technology and Policy and became tied up in the problem of thinking through why ballistic missile guidance systems made nuclear weapons more “accurate” but that targeted killings are “precise.” I immediately thought to go to your blog for insight and you did not disappoint! One friendly addition to your excellent analysis: In the era of counterinsurgency, Spec Ops operators talk about the fact that the traditional targeting problematic is turned on its head. It used to be that targets were easy to find, but hard to destroy. Now they are hard to find, but easy to destroy. If it is easy to “find” your target, ie locate and identify it positively, it makes sense to talk in terms of accuracy. However, if your targets are difficult to identify and even harder to find, then all you can ever really say about targeting, as a general rule, is that you can do it with precision. Whether or not you were accurate also depends upon a positive identification of what or who–a “terrorist”–you are trying to hit (methods of identifying targets is a topic that I know you touch on often on this blog). I don’t know because I don’t read French, but I think this is another important hidden distinction that is belied by the choice of the word “precision” and one that perhaps Chamayou overlooks.

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