Eric Posner on Laws Needed to Govern Use of Drones

The Killer Robot War Is Coming
Eric Posner
May 15, 2013

Drones are everywhere. They are blasting suspected al-Qaida militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. They are menacing China. They are being shot down in Israel. They are hovering outside of homes in America and spying on their residents. And they are forcing us to rethink some basic legal principles—for good reason, because drones are making the old ones obsolete.

Drones have existed for decades, but in recent years they have become ubiquitous. Some people celebrate drones as an effective and humane weapon because they can be used with precision to slay enemies and spare civilians, and argue that they pose no special risks that cannot be handled by existing law. Indeed, drones, far more than any other weapon, enable governments to comply with international humanitarian law by avoiding civilian casualties when attacking enemies. Drone defenders also mocked Rand Paul for demanding that th