What is the problem with drones?
The German ethicist Dr. Bernard Koch gave a lecture at the LSRS
On Monday 15th of February 2016, the German ethicist Dr. Bernard Koch from the Hamburg Institute of Theology and Peace, gave a lecture, in the Executive Lunch Series for Peace Ethics at the Luxembourg School of Religion & Society, on the actual problem of drone usage in warfare.
Citing generously from his broad knowledge in the domains of philosophy, theology and law, Koch showed in what sense drone technology brings to their limits existing ethical and juridical demarcations and definitions. More specifically, the two regimes of the Universal Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law already problematic in their hierarchical but asymmetric complementarity – the last mentioned gets activated only in times of war and international conflicts -, risk to be outdated when faced with the consequences and formal implications of this hyper-technology.
As Koch showed, one of the problems linked to the issue is for instance the definition of “war” presupposed by both juridical logicalities, but inadequate in times of global terrorism and locally targeted military interventions. For instance, how to evaluate the use of drones by the USA against Jihad-terrorists in Pakistan, and how, legally speaking, to interpret president Hollande’s declaration of war against IS-jihadists?
However, the focus issue discussed was not so much about law, but rather, during the vivid and interactive discussion, the ethics and the desirability of total technological control. At stake is human’s self-definition, and that is au fond a spiritual question.