Civilising the drones

Dr. M. S. HaqDrones are unmanned aerial vehicles. They have no in-flight human pilot. The flight of drone is controlled by independent computers in the drone, or through the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle, or otherwise, as applicable. There exist known and perhaps unknown (presently not known to general public) varieties of drones in terms of dimension, configuration, characteristics and other things. The use of drone is on the rise. Areas for deployment of drones include inter alia and as appropriate: military and special operation applications; civil applications – say, policing; and security work – say surveillance. Drones are a kind of robots that are used in for example dangerous missions especially, in spaces where they have the competitive edge over manned aircrafts.
Civilising drones is the need of time for bringing about higher effectiveness, as well as efficiency in, and greater acceptability for, drone performances, outcomes of those performances and the aftermath – in the context of for example existing and evolving demand and supply situations at say operation levels of drones. The need is, in a sense, stemming from wider and deeper realisations of challenges and opportunities such as and as appropriate, one. causes, effects and causalities of drones are becoming multidimensional, as well as inter-disciplinary, and increasingly complicated; two, creation of futures of 21st century civilisation to maximum satisfaction of say all people of all of the world in a sustainable manner; three, image building of 21st century civilisation – via identifying and linking or dealing otherwise with missing links between and among demand sides and supply sides of image of 21st century civilisation – under regimes of IOC (a component of Gene mechanics) through rest of 21st century; four, materialisation of global reconciliations in favor of sustainable peace, progress and prosperity at local, global and other levels; and five, transfer of ‘quality’ DNA at intra, inter and other generational levels.
Drone technologies, drone applications and other related things should be made more responsive and more result-oriented than that at present – when it comes to or will come to the rule of law, freedom, liberty, human rights, right to life, the right and affordable justice for all at all times, and human development – in pursuits of bringing about changes for the better in areas say security, ‘sovereignty’, governance, politics, investment and economy in drone programme countries that are at present being affected by drone attacks or to be affected by drone attack-s in the foreseeable future. One of the expectations here is: outcomes of drone attacks will be made at least acceptable, if not popular, among peoples, states and governments of above and other concerned countries with the help of better drones, better drone management, and better management of drone outcomes, to mention a few – conducive to countering and remedying for example growing anger, concerns, confusions and dissatisfactions that are arisin out of and in the course of say present day drone attacks.
Drones have so far proven to be effective, in certain meaningful ways, especially – when it comes to their role in complex security situations wherein human intelligence, target penetrations and targeted interventions, to mention a few, are difficult to achieve particularly with the help and support of commonly used SOP (standard operating procedures) and antidotes in relevant areas. Drones have also proven to be effective – when unpredictability is major weapons of enemy attacks and when costs of fighting enemies – who are relatively smaller in size but capable of causing damage and losses to all concerned many times bigger than the size – in a traditional manner are higher. Hiding places of terrorists including high value targets, operation centers of terrorists and networks of terrorism – that are located in ‘lawless’ areas or in areas surrounded by or otherwise constrained by complex natural or human made (or both) barriers or in other types of areas, as appropriate – are among contributors to complex security situations.
Drones, on the other hand, have not so far proven to be much effective when it comes to protecting life and property of innocent women, men, children and others; or when it comes to facilitating arrest of terrorists and concerned others alive and bringing them to justice; or when it comes to help liberating – for instance ordinary people living in drone programme areas or in drone programme fringe areas or in other areas as applicable – from paranoia that are arising out of and in the course of drone attacks and that have intra, inter and other generational implications including those associated with DNA transfer complications or otherwise, as applicable.
The present day drones and their outcomes are – in a variety of ways and in varying degrees – both sources of motivation and de-motivation for terrorism and extremism at local, global and other levels. The outcomes are also sources of motivation and de-motivation, as appropriate, for peoples including affected families and governments when it comes to dealing with for example dead and injured people – whether innocent or otherwise – as a result of drone attacks at the debatable cost of respective rules, rights, justice, and ‘sovereignty’, to mention a few. Drones at work are not at present capable of discriminating their targets – suspects or otherwise.
One of the challenges before all concerned including the US will be as to how best and quickest drones could inter alia be instrumental in efforts towards maximisation of peace, security, progress, prosperity and satisfaction at local, global and other levels. A few of the suggestions for meeting the above challenge have been presented here – not in the order of priority and importance but they are relative to time, space and other variables.
01. A drone in action burns through nearly all forms of conventional matter by emitting a high-temperature energy field. It is capable of making multiple attacks on a single target before it runs out of energy – causing by then massive damage to the target. The damage could be minimised via for example – the use of more powerful sensors than those at present that could guide the drone in pursuits of say more precision and accurate targeting and hitting; and the drone could be made capable of for example putting into sleep all concerned and not burning them (= I mean the target) during the period between successful drone attacks and the eventual arrest of all concerned by relevant authorities. In that respect, things such as anesthetic – ether/chloroform + N2O (Nitrous oxide – laughing gas) – could be used within safety limits of all concerned – essentially, not in violation of international and other obligations pertaining to inter alia and as appropriate uses of chemical weapons, and environmental protection. Doctrine of Necessity and greater good could among others help justify the motive behind the use of anesthetic (weapons) under the required conditions. Just-in-time notifications concerning the time and the location of drone attacks to authorities concerned and others could be made through for example anti-terror hotlines to be established for the purpose, as required though.
The delivery of weapons (such as anesthetic) could be made – under controlled conditions, as practicable – with the help of for example small, strong and light containers with adhesives capable of keeping the containers pasted with individual targets after hitting the targets. Arrangements should be such that the weapons, after hitting the target, will come into action and will remain in action for the required time under the required temperature, pressure and other conditions. Further, camera and other surveillance equipment should remain operational for the period say up to and including the arrest of all concerned. Other weapons for the above purpose could include nets of high tensile strengths with the provision for flexible net space sizes – conducive to capturing all concerned individually or collectively or both at a given time – supported by electronic locking and other systems. Appropriate structural and other modifications of existing drones would be required for above and related purposes.
02. Proper communication systems – between and among authorities of drone operating countries and authorities of drone program countries – should be established, operationalised and maintained for exchanges of vital information with a view to help making non-lethal drones (as indicated above) an effective antidote to for example terrorism in the context of say law, rights and justice of all concerned. Protocols pertaining to exchanges of above information should remain within limits agreed by and between all concerned as far as accountability, transparency and other related things of drone management are concerned – essentially, without causing injuries to at least existing levels of efficiencies and effectiveness of drones. In-country uses of drones should not be allowed to violate for example laws of the land and rights of people.
03. In events, criminal justice systems are found to be inadequate or ineffective – when it comes to delivering the right and affordable justice to say terror suspects in drone program countries – the countries concerned could elect to establish and operationaliae for example regional anti-terror courts supported by laws and others things to be required for the purpose under frameworks such as SAARC or ASEAN or OIC or regional commissions of the UN or otherwise as appropriate, for dealing with criminal justice in respect of above suspects.
04. Deliberate failures on the part of drone programme countries – in the absence of say regional courts to deal with suspects captured with the help of say non-lethal drones – might require above countries to face lethal drone attack-s instead of non-lethal ones for greater good of all concerned. The UN could introduce a regime of fines to deal with say above failures on the part of said countries.
05. Anti-terror diplomacies and social networking should be geared up for the development of anti-terror critical mass at local, global and other levels in pursuits of  a terror free world that could help eventually to do away with the need for things such as present day drones.
The bottom line is: there exist hurdles for making non-lethal drones a reality but dividends are expected to be high in that especially when it will come to fighting and winning the present day war on terror in a time-sensitive and cost-effective manner, with lesser side effects, and to maximum satisfaction of all concerned.
The last word: make drones more pro-life, more pro-rights, more pro-rules, more pro-institutional justice, and more pro-human development, to mention a few – than that at present – in efforts towards transformation of challenges of terrorism into opportunities for anti-terrorism in pursuits of better and happier 21st century world. In that respect, develop anti-terror alternatives through for example non-lethal drones. Non lethal drones could inter alia help control image related damage as a result of present day drones until such time, though – possible uses of antidotes to present day drones come into operation on account of a variety of reasons or developments of possible non-lethal drones are overtaken by more aggressive and lethal drones.
Consolidate and enhance anti-terror political will at local, global and other levels. Eliminate wastage. Let us work towards that in a meaningful and result-oriented manner. God bless. (The author is inter alia former Project Officer/Head, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – UNHCR, Kabul – Afghanistan)

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