Swofford on drones, ettechera…

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The author of Jarhead has written an excellent piece on the future of our ever-more-techied-up mode of warfare:


One of a few money quotes within:

The moral distance a society creates from the killing done in its name will increase the killing done in its name. We allow technology to increase moral distance; thus, technology increases the killing. More civilians than combatants die in modern warfare, so technology increases worldwide civilian murder at the hands of armies large and small.

About brtrain
This blog is mostly devoted to posts, work and resources on "serious" conflict simulation games.

2 Responses to Swofford on drones, ettechera…

  1. silent e says:

    I’m a bit confused by the notion I keep seeing now and then that in “today’s” wars more civilians die than combatants. I feel confident that has been true in any age–that civilians always suffer horribly, worse than the combatants. This does not take away from the moral distance idea, however.

    • brtrain says:

      The record keeping in earlier years is probably spotty, but civilian casualties from war began to far outclass military ones regularly about 100 years ago, as technology made it possible and even desirable to hit the civilian bases of production and support.
      Of course there are precedents like the Thirty Years War and Sherman’s March.
      And certainly technology is not the only, nor even the deciding factor.
      In modern wars, many deaths continue to be accomplished with “traditional” low-tech methods (starvation, disease, executions) and thankfully so far we’ve avoided nuclear incineration (where 99+% of the casualties would be civilians).
      Nowadays we don’t expect to see hecatombs like the great world wars, but civilians will continue to be the bulk of the dead in any dust-up larger than the Falklands.

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