The Drone: Cost Effective Method to Wage a Battle
The Drone as a Force Multiplier Clausewitz in his principles of war has enunciated surprise and concentration of force as a principle of war. The drone effectively fulfills this axiom. It is a surprise weapon that can strike an enemy at its power and decision making center like a war council meeting. This can have devastating effect and it is on record the Americans have been able to wipe out many top leaders in the echelons of the enemy force like Taliban and al Qaeda. It is also a weapon that is cost effective. Its operation results in incalculable damage to an enemy with minimal loss of manpower and other factors. Thus a pilot-less drone can be an effective method, without putting soldiers at risk.
A drone can achieve results quicker and is more effective than many platoons of soldiers who may be assigned for the same task. The USA is successful in its fight against terror in the Middle East and NW Pakistan because of the drone attacks. India is also gearing to use the drone against Islamic militants holed up in the mountains of Kashmir.
The Drone and Collateral Damage
Many people are against the use of the drone as it may result in collateral damage by the killing of some people who may be in the vicinity of the terror leaders. This is something that has two sides of a coin, for most terror groups make civilians including women and children as a shield while conducting their meetings to plan attacks. They themselves have no compunction in killing civilians and children. An example is the suicide bombers being used by the Taliban and al Qaeda, some of whom are just children. Against such an enemy which has no principles, it is an act of god to use the drone against them.
I am afraid collateral damage cannot be avoided. Till date a mere 5000 people have been killed in drone attacks, while dropping the A bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima which killed 200,000 is justified on the ground that it brought Japan to the surrender table. Where does one draw the line?
The drone is being extensively used by the United States for a variety of tasks. It is used to hit targets in the restive North West Frontier of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also in use in Yemen. The US security apparatus is also using the drone to spy on US citizens to detect potential terrorists and groups. It is the weapon of the 21st century. The drone can however have severe limitations as it cannot by itself win a war. The drone is good for precision target attacks, but to win the war the infantry soldier must hold the ground. In that respect the infantry soldier remains the kingpin of any combat.