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U.N. Official: Drone Use May Cause ‘PlayStation Mentality’

Posted on Jun 2, 2010
Predator drone
Wikimedia Commons / Brigadier Lance Mans

Unmanned death from above: A Predator drone fires a Hellfire missile in this U.S. government photo.

What effects might killing by remote, as American soldiers who control drones from afar are charged with doing, have on operators’ mind-sets? One U.N. official is worried that this U.S.-led trend may give practitioners a “PlayStation mentality to killing.”  —KA


Philip Alston said that the US in particular was doing damage to rules designed to protect the right of life.

Mr Alston, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, feared a “PlayStation” mentality could develop.

His report to the UN Human Rights Council will also bring renewed scrutiny of Israel and Russia.

Both nations are also reported to have carried out targeted killings of alleged militants and insurgents. President Barack Obama has increased the use of Predator drones to attack militants in Pakistan.

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By nemesis2010, June 7, 2010 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

Robotic warfare is here and it’s going to become more widespread.

Saying we should return to hand to hand is ridiculous. As unfortunate as the deaths of innocent men, women, and children are it is still a helluva lot less than if we’d be fighting hand to hand. Have any of you clowns ever been in combat? Have you a clue what happens to you when you’re in heavy, close combat? Do you think when you’re half crazed and smelling of blood and guts that you’re in the frame of mind not to kill because someone is a civilian? You’re dreaming if you believe that more deaths could be avoided by close combat. 

Close combat in Berlin resulted in more than 100,000 rapes in a couple of days. The rape of Nanking? No Gun Ri? The My Lai Massacre? Yeah that’s the answer; put crazed monkeys in close quarters because they’ll love one another, jeebus on my grilled cheese sandwich.

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By J. Jensen, June 5, 2010 at 3:26 am Link to this comment
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For more in-depth information on remote “game control” of robots in war, see the documentary film With Robots in Mind, and the background discussion between Prof. H. H. Lund and Peter Singer (writer of Wired for War) accessible for the same web-site. It is a really good film, and background discussion between Lund and Singer, to give a very detailed view on the use of drones and autonomous robots, and the remote operators in the wars.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, June 3, 2010 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

I worked with VietNam war casualties, at Tripler Hospital Honolulu, when these boys come home, not a pretty sight, the boys from desert storm, what a mess, however it doesn`t justify drone killing of civilians, go back to hand to hand, killing at a distance becomes a bad habit, killing up close, you lose your stomach most times and knees aren`t working, at a distance, no pain no gain.

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By squeaky jones, June 2, 2010 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment
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Maybe I am wrong, but all evil machines that the death merchants have unleashed on the good people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and through out the planet will in time be unleashed on the people of the U.S.of A., when they become brave enuf to stand up to the demons of death and destruction. Squeaky!

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By PatrickHenry, June 2, 2010 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment


18 to 25 year olds have done most of the killing in every generation and in every region of the world since before countries were created.

The latest generation’s nintendo skillset fits right in to the technology at hand. 

While plenty of money is being made on Global Hawk, Predators and other million$$$ UAV and robotic weapons, the need for this new robotic technology is better invested in assets needed for events like BP’s blowout, which affects us all.

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By Peter Knopfler, June 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Play Station-Prozac and Junk food add vaccinations floridated water, and lots of video training Human robots brainless garbage!

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By cmarcusparr, June 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Alston is correct in his assessment of the likely psychological effect that will result from widespread use of drones to do remote killing in war zones.

When taking into account a recent study showing a 40% reduction in empathy in 18-25 year olds versus previous generations, the Pentagon will have no shortage of recruits to do their bidding in the future.

We are becoming a nation without a conscience.

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