When the U.S. gave missiles to the Afghan Mujahidins during the Soviet war in Afghanistan it arguably came back to haunt the United States.

In relation to the current drone strikes it seems to me that on the technological side there are now all kinds of (innocent) related gizmos available even as consumer devices; it must be much harder to control the proliferation of drones than of nuclear weapons, say. The stakes have increased (again), and all kinds of "surgical" side effects from "anticipatory" self defense must linger. Consider e.g. this:

It doesn’t take as much talent or experience or training to pilot a drone as it does to pilot a real plane. The skills are much like what you need to do well in a video game. And the C.I.A. has outsourced a lot of the drone piloting, which also raises interesting legal questions, because you not have only civilians running this program, but you may have people who are not even in the U.S. government piloting the drones.

Are there anticipatory public analyses as to what (future) risks may be entailed in the currently accelerating drone program? Who writes them and what do they say? What books (other than those mentioned in Jane Mayer's article) have been written on the topic?

Basically, has there been analysis on this, and if so what does it say?

enter image description here (courtesy XKCD and Terminator)

  • 2
    Any analyses/books on the topic will be random speculations, since the topic can not be either quantified, nor lends itself to testable/falsifiable predictions. While it's laudable that you tried to make the question more objective to give it academic slant, practically anything anyone says on the subject is as much of uninformed speculation as any random answerer on Politics.SE can produce.
    – user4012
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 11:02
  • 2
    @DVK It seems to me that you are designating whole fields of academic study as idle speculations. Sure there can be no definite predictions (with Black Swans and everything). Plus you make it sound as if political science were a hard science, which I (coming from the sciences) find rather doubtful. Are you suggesting that drones should be deployed (with all the necessary consequences) without any thought about what this may possibly entail? I don't think so, nor do I think that decision makers would agree.
    – Drux
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 11:12
  • 1
    I'm saying that any "study" on the subject will be no better than idle speculation. Can something smart be said on the topic? Undoubtedly. Can you separate something "smart" being said from something stupid/wrong? Not really, aside from agreeing or disagreeing with author's POV personally. For example, how did giving "Stingers" to mujaheddin "came back to haunt us"? Did they learn to produce MANPADs? Did they use a great amount of US-made-leftover-from-80s-Stingers against US? Did they gain rare expertise in MANPAD use that was a US state secret? How are stealth drones equivalent to MANPADs?
    – user4012
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 11:54
  • 2
    Now who is offering his (her?) POV to draw broad conclusions? Any "analyses/books" will be random speculations, but any "study" not? There is a gap here: or are you stressing a difference between random and idle speculation :) ? Also, what's the difference in certitude you hope to gain from your question Are there any proposed (sic!) systems of running the government like a corporation? as opposed to me asking for proposed risks here?
    – Drux
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 12:44
  • @gerrit edit is fine, thx.
    – Drux
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 14:00


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