View Poll Results: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

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Thread: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

  1. #1
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    Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    “It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it.” — Robert E. Lee

    Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    Excerpted from “The UK Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems” Joint Doctrine Note 2/11 (JDN 2/11), dated 30 March 2011, is promulgated as directed by the Chiefs of Staff, British Ministry of Defence
    If we remove the risk of loss from the decision-makers’ calculations when considering crisis management options, do we make the use of armed force more attractive? Will decision-makers resort to war as a policy option far sooner than previously? Clausewitz himself suggests that it is policy that prevents the escalation of the brutality of war to its absolute form via a diabolical escalatory feedback loop (15) – one of the contributory factors in controlling and limiting aggressive policy is the risk to one’s own forces. It is essential that, before unmanned systems become ubiquitous (if it is not already too late) that we consider this issue and ensure that, by removing some of the horror, or at least keeping it at a distance, that we do not risk losing our controlling humanity and make war more likely. For example, the recent extensive use of unmanned aircraft over Pakistan and Yemen may already herald a new era. …
    See also: The Terminators: drone strikes prompt MoD to ponder ethics of killer robots | World news | The Guardian
    See also: The high cost of cheap war - David Sirota - Salon.com
    “Real environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.” — Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    Robots make going to war and conducting a war easier but they are not the only contributing factor which makes going to war easier. Having a professional army is another; a conscripted army means that political leaders must justify the risks to life and limb — with a professional army, well, it can be said, “They volunteered.”

    Finally, keeping the consequences of war day after day off the evening news (does any one younger than eighty even watch the evening news these days) prevents social upset. The names and the faces of the fallen are all but ignored as the coffins disappear into the ground without hardly a whisper.

    War used to be hell, but, in this age, three (or really four) wars aren't hardly noticeable.
    “Real environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.” — Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    Chappy, I've got to say this is the first thing I've seen you say on this forum that makes at least some amount of sense. Props to you.
    Nobody who wins a war indulges in a bifurcated definition of victory. War is a political act; victory and defeat have meaning only in political terms. A country incapable of achieving its political objectives at an acceptable cost is losing the war, regardless of battlefield events.

    Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.

    All the same, it's nonsense. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, show me a political loser, and I'll show you a loser.
    - Colonel Paul Yingling

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    I dont think so for one reason... the media.

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    No. Technology, if anything, seems to have made war less likely. Probably because, the better we humans become at killing each other, the less we seek to escalate things to the point where killing each other is necessary.

    In a world of weapons of mass destruction, how much are killing robots really worth, anyway?

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    I lean towards Yes.

    The more depersonalized war is, the less terrible it seems to the public. The less terrible it seems, the greater the propensity to use such forces.
    Nobody who wins a war indulges in a bifurcated definition of victory. War is a political act; victory and defeat have meaning only in political terms. A country incapable of achieving its political objectives at an acceptable cost is losing the war, regardless of battlefield events.

    Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.

    All the same, it's nonsense. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, show me a political loser, and I'll show you a loser.
    - Colonel Paul Yingling

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    I think to the public... no. If people are dieing, there will always be pictures and videos of the carnage, the media will still be there to influence the emotional part of war to make everyone realize the cost of it.

    But war generals and people who call the shots... yes, since they don't have as much of their own human lives their responsible for, so their will be more risky expeditions being taken place... more cowboy'ing with robots. But that could be a good thing actually, it would end wars quicker because battles would happen without the running back and forth and caution. A 3 week expedition could turn into a 3-day one.

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    Quote Originally Posted by Krhazy View Post
    No. Technology, if anything, seems to have made war less likely. Probably because, the better we humans become at killing each other, the less we seek to escalate things to the point where killing each other is necessary.

    In a world of weapons of mass destruction, how much are killing robots really worth, anyway?

    You could ask the same question about ground troops.... how much is an infantryman worth in an age of nuclear weapons?

    The answer is: he's worth his weight in silver, at least. We've found that no matter how sophisticated our smart bombs, cruise missles, and drone aircraft are, at some point you have to send in the infantry to secure the ground, quash any remaining opposition, and provide security for the area.

    WMD's are like a sledgehammer: powerful, but not suited to every task. Not suited to hardly any tasks really, except as a last-line deterrent against invasion or someone else's WMD.

    When we located Osama, we didn't send him a 20KT tac nuke via cruise missle... we sent in elite combat troops.

    You need to study up a bit on the differences between Total War and Limited War in the modern era, methinks.

    I expect we'll be seeing more unmanned aircraft, followed by unmanned tanks and then small "infantry robots", in the next few decades, and that they will prove very useful indeed to those who master this technology quickly.

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    Quote Originally Posted by celticwar17 View Post
    I think to the public... no. If people are dieing, there will always be pictures and videos of the carnage, the media will still be there to influence the emotional part of war to make everyone realize the cost of it.

    But war generals and people who call the shots... yes, since they don't have as much of their own human lives their responsible for, so their will be more risky expeditions being taken place... more cowboy'ing with robots. But that could be a good thing actually, it would end wars quicker because battles would happen without the running back and forth and caution. A 3 week expedition could turn into a 3-day one.
    Yes, I agree it does depend on what type of war is being waged. Ground troops dying is different from Predator/Reaper drones being shot down. It depends on the type of engagement. I agree this probably won't make large-scale ground wars more likely.
    Nobody who wins a war indulges in a bifurcated definition of victory. War is a political act; victory and defeat have meaning only in political terms. A country incapable of achieving its political objectives at an acceptable cost is losing the war, regardless of battlefield events.

    Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.

    All the same, it's nonsense. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, show me a political loser, and I'll show you a loser.
    - Colonel Paul Yingling

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    Re: Now, that we have robots to do the fighting, is war more likely?

    The desire to be at war makes war more likely. On the whole, there are less wars now than there ever have been in history.

    Robots are more expensive than soldiers, so there is also that angle.

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