Just War Theory and Drone Warfare: Morality, Virtual Wars and Human Security in the War on Terror

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    Just war theory deals with the conditions that justify war (jus ad bellum) and the rules of warfare (jus in bello): the justifications of why and how wars are fought. Debates about the rules of war have been applied to wars across millennia and are relevant for practitioners and theorists today, in a new age of warfare: the drone era. Killer drones, employed in several recent and current conflicts, involve technologies that enable new ways of killing remotely, requiring discussions on just war to resume in the context of war technology becoming linked to artificial intelligence. This chapter examines the legality and morality of drones in warfare, claims of precision strikes, bombing-as-gaming and prospects of peace. Using America?s War on Terror as case study, it addresses issues of war as an amoral exercise of power, the international system as a state of nature, the legal and moral status of combatants and noncombatants, and concepts of military virtue in battles that lack, at least partly, the human element. Drone warfare, it concludes, blurs the distinction between war and peace, changes the nature of war and, rather than resolve the ethical dilemmas of armed combat, poses new moral challenges for the regulation of symmetric and asymmetric conflicts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of International Political Theory
    PublisherSpringer International Publishing
    ISBN (Print)9783031361104
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 16 Oct 2023


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