Reading Response – Naughton – Cyberwarfare

The article talks about how the people who pilot drone planes suffer an emotional toll, despite being distant from the killing. Naughton proposes that a possible explanation is the contrast between killing people and then driving home to their families.

I have an alternate theory. I think that killing someone from behind a screen using a drone would be more emotionally daunting than if I were actually in a plane doing it because there is no element of self-defense. If someone is shooting at you, you usually won’t have any bad feelings about shooting back. And that’s how most warfare has been, historically. But if you are safe in an air-conditioned room and are not at all acting out of self-preservation, you have to face that.

My uncle was a sniper for the U.S. marines during the Vietnam war, and when he came back he was damaged, psychologically. I think it’s because, when you’re a sniper, it doesn’t feel like self-defense. You’re shooting people who are eating breakfast. The same concept applies to drone pilots.

The article ends on a dark note, talking about how cyber warfare will proliferate because politicians will no longer have to convince the nation that the young people in the country need to fight and die. I think cyber warfare will proliferate but I don’t think that it means there will be more wars than there are now.