CIA Drone Killings Could Lead To A "PlayStation Mentality" Towards Killing

A United Nations investigator is warning that CIA-controlled remote drone assassinations of suspected Islamic terrorists could lead to a "PlayStation mentality" towards killing.

Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, has issued a 29-page report calling for an end to the CIA's use of unmanned Predator or Reaper drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan against al Qaeda and Taliban suspects.

Stationed hundreds to thousands of miles away from the battlefield, CIA operatives control the drones using a combination of remote video and audio, taking out targets using drone-mounted missiles. Missiles that Alston says have been responsible for the deaths of "many hundreds", innocent civilians included.

"Intelligence agencies, which by definition are determined to remain unaccountable except to their own paymasters, have no place in running programs that kill people in other countries," Alston said.

Alston's report also cites the fact that the world remains unaware of how the CIA picks its targets, where the CIA is authorised to kill, and how the organisation deals with innocent civilians killed in the drone attacks.

But it isn't just the innocent victims Alston is worried about. It's the drone operators as well.

"Because operators are based thousands of miles away from the battlefield, and undertake operations entirely through computer screens and remote audio-feed, there is a risk of developing a 'Playstation' mentality to killing," he said, referring to the popular Sony video game console.

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that controlling a remote drone via video screen is a great deal like playing a video game. We ran a story last year about a 19-year-old drone pilot who attributed his success to his days playing the Xbox. Perhaps one day we'll see young people remotely controlling military vehicles without even knowing they are doing so, ala Orson Scott Card's science fiction novel Ender's Game.

Alston's report raises a lot of questions. Does the fact that you are so far removed from actual combat make the killing easier? Should any government have the power to kill a person or group of people from the other side of the planet?

Those questions and more will be pondered by the UN Human Rights Council today, where Alston will be presenting his report.

U.N. investigator calls for halt to CIA drone killings [Yahoo! News]


Comments

    This really concerns me. In the last few years the military has realised that people like playing shoot 'em ups and war type games and made the connection. Let's make killing like a game. I know most of us have more sense, but there's a lot of impressionable people out there.

    "Perhaps one day we’ll see young people remotely controlling military vehicles without even knowing they are doing so". I sincerely hope not, but in reality I think it's inevitable.

    Even if the UN aproves a ban on drone killings, which they wont, there's no way it will be enacted.

    The UN is a paper tiger, much like the League of Nations before it. One country stops using it then the others have an advantage...

    Also, all it would take is for one soldier to die becuase it was decided to send troops rather than use a drone... and the political fallout would be huge.

    No this is just more of the bleeding hearts. Anything that takes our troops mor eout of harms was should be developed and encouraged. To suggest that all the killing needs to be done by front line troops just to put a human face to the enemy is leftist elitist crap.

      I suppose you think that killing is justified to the "enemies of our state" so long as the fat cats up stairs are happy running the show, rolling the dice and deciding who dies and why, so long as it's not you in the drone's cross-hairs then who gives a damn right?

      Well enjoy your "freedom" while it lasts dude. It won't be long with an attitude towards killing like that.

    "Alston’s report raises a lot of questions. Does the fact that you are so far removed from actual combat make the killing easier? Should any government have the power to kill a person or group of people from the other side of the planet?"

    Hey, remember that thing, you know, back in World War 2, with Japan, and the USA, and the nukes?
    No?

    its called Collateral Damage. It sux but it does happen, IF the innocent people would kindly get out of the area where the terrorists are there would be a lot less casualties. I would also think that the terrorists like to have civilians around them to use as shields and to cause media attention when some old women or young kid gets shot up in cross fire.

    Its efficient to use drones, why send in a squad to clear a building that you know has terrorists in it when you can use a Drone Hellfire missile to take it out.

      Lol! Oh yeah, would all the innocents move over to the left, terrorists just stay right there so we can give you a nice little home delivered radiation flavored present.

      It's not the terrorists that are the real problem, it's the labeling of people as terrorists to justify killing and prolong the Military Industrial Complex's war campaign.

      War is not the sollution, its the god damned problem in the first place.

      You can not overcome hate with hate, only by love. - Buddha.

      Call me idealogical, but it is plain as day that the current approach to solving these problems is merely prolonging them.

        +1

        If we let people see that kind of thing, there would never again be any war. ~Pentagon official explaining why the U.S. military censored graphic footage from the Gulf War

        Ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds anger. It is the job of the mass media to keep us all afraid, and when we're afraid we're more than willing to let our government authorize a war against people we are told by the media will hurt us.

        If more people took the time to educate themselves instead of believing everything they see on TV this world might be a better place to live.

        Nope the problem in the first place is not war its religion then war

        Most of the conflicts in history are linked to religous beliefs

    It's already clear to me that the military not only are aware of this disconnection from the reality of killing, but are actively leveraging it as a means to achieve their objectives - as evident in the wikileaks footage of the helicopter pilots.

    It is a major crisis in the abuse of humanity, on both sides. As if killing one another weren't bad enough in the first place.

    Doesn’t "Life imitate Art?”
    Fortunately at present in regards to most Video Games, it is the other way around...
    ...because if it wasn't I may of turned into a murderous Russian immigrant with a fat, useless cousin, a bad attitude and a disastrous love life.

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