The US military is in the process of deploying a new version of that unmanned surveillance airplane “the Predator,” and this one is called “the Reaper.” As you can guess by the name, this one isn’t just for surveillance – it carries bombs. The plane is controlled remotely by an operator, many thousands of kilometers away.
Story on DailyKos: Grimmer Reapers.
This progression was obvious after seeing the Predator but its ramifications are enormous. The US can much more easily wage war without risking the lives of their own people. They’ve had precision cruise missiles for a while but I don’t believe they’re as accurate and I think they’re much more expensive.
I think this makes the US an even larger threat to global peace and security, when it chooses to be. In a democracy, war-fatigue is the only real force limiting the government militarily. Just think how detached Americans are from their wars right now. It’s an abstraction seen on TV, consumed the same way as blockbuster Hollywood movies and reality TV shows. Americans don’t even have to sacrifice directly for their wars – they even get tax cuts at the same time! (I say direct sacrifice because they will suffer in the long term for their aggressiveness, they’re just looking too short term.)
Just think how detached they will be when they don’t even have to put their own people in harms way. It will be like their military is playing a big video game, except the “things” on the screen being blown up are actually real people from other countries, not just a computer creation.