RUSSIAN RADIO. Drone operators need not take precise aims nowPHOTO: EPA.

Published: RUSSIAN RADIO07.12.2013.

The Pentagon has eased for operators of drones the requirements of minimizing civilian casualties.

Experts believe that this measure is related to future expansion of operations in the framework of the doctrine of «hyper-remote war.»

The idea of innovation is that now the U.S. military are prescribed to ensure that collateral damage is «not excessive» in comparison with the objectives of a particular operation. In fact, Americans are preparing us for the fact that in future combat drones will be used much more widely than it is today.

Vladimir Kozin, a consultant with the interdepartmental working group of experts under the Presidential Administration on missile defence and member of RANS comments:

Internationally, there are no constraints. Therefore it is necessary to conclude an international agreement on banning combat drones with weapons on board. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the worst sufferers in this regard. During the operations against Libya, they were also used. Unfortunately, the Americans, in addition to the above-mentioned countries, intend to expand the network of their application to new dislocation, including the north-western Indian Ocean, the north- eastern part of Africa, the region of the Arabian Peninsula, and the Persian Gulf. U.S. military and political leadership plans to rely on the conduct of hostilities by equipment which is operated from a distance of thousands of miles, in the so-called cyber-attack war. They have a fundamentally new basis in comparison with traditional fighting.

From the standpoint of international law, killing of combatants is permissible if the two countries are at war. However, for example, Pakistan and the United States are officially not at war, and therefore targeted killings in Pakistan are illegal. That is why the use of drones is compared with non-judicial punishment. But even if the laws were changed, the problem of collateral damage still remains. Says the director of the Center of strategic situations Ivan Konovalov:

“It is clear that the military are required to minimize losses. Ideally, there should not be any civilian casualties. And the use of unmanned aircraft just entails very serious civilian casualties because of remote control. In fact, it is quite difficult for the operator to understand who is in front of him — the militants, terrorists, guerrillas or civilians. The use of unmanned aircraft is raising more questions and criticism. This is a subject for consideration by the United Nations. At the same time, if the Americans decided to ease the control over the operators of unmanned aircraft, it can be regarded as recognition of drones as the main striking force in American operations. Creating less stringent regulations of their use is beneficial to the Pentagon.”

It can be assumed with great certainty that after the revision of instructions by the Pentagon the number of so-called «innocent victims» of the U.S. drone strikes will only increase.