Unmanned drones: A velvety crotch punch

The past was rubbish. Can you imagine living in the past? I can’t believe people used to put up with it. There were no iPhones, no Twitter, they didn’t even have Come Dine with Me. Like I say, rubbish.

Back in ye olden times, if people wanted something, they used to have to do it themselves. It was a horribly backwards place. If they wanted to listen to music, they’d have to walk down to a store and buy a record. Similarly, if they wanted to watch Netflix they’d have to go and sit in a cinema with complete strangers, unthinkable! Worst of all though, if they wanted to execute a Pakistani child, they actually had to look them in the eye. The past truly was a despicable time.

Thankfully, with a little help from modern technology, those days are over. Through the creation of unmanned drones, developed nations can now bomb civilians without ever leaving the comfort of their homeland office chairs. Rather than looking their victims in the eyes, military forces can simply squish their pixelated enemies, with all the moral guilt of Mario smashing down on a turtle’s fragile back. Isn’t technology marvellous?

As a result of this wartime gamification, the military has unofficially adopted a new term to describe the pixelated destruction of human life. Within the faux-simulated environment of drone-based gaming, real people exploding in 2D have affectionately become known, as ‘bug splats’.

Sadly, despite all our efforts to depersonalise the process of extermination, there’s always got to be a few bad eggs that come along and ruin it. Last week, those bad eggs happened to be a collection of artists from Pakistan. For some unknown reason, these backwards luddites have taken it upon themselves to romanticise the concept of infanticide, almost as though it were something important.

Through the development of a field-sized poster, the artists hope to force drone operators to stare into the eyes of their victims, just like they did in the olden days …the sentimental fools.

Drone Gamification of War

As a result of this shameless PR stunt, the issue of unmanned drones has found its way back into the mainstream news agenda. As such, the last few days have seen multiple testimonies, debates, and creaky Radio 4 panel shows examining whether unmanned drones should be considered an ethical ( and therefore acceptable) form of warfare.

Just think about that statement for a minute. Really think about it. That’s the society we’ve become. The sort of society that asks whether killing people with unmanned drones should be considered ethical. Forget the issue of whether killing people in general should be considered ethical; that question was solved years ago – or at the very least, muted by hundreds of years of endless conflict.

The sheer concept of such an ethical discussion seems nonsensical by its very nature. The idea of a group of ‘civilised’ world leaders coming together to discuss what should, and should not, be accepted as an ethical form of human extermination, seems almost laughable.

Nobody seems to register the fact that there’s a difference between process and civility. Just because something is well regimented, doesn’t make it civilised. We can implement all the rules and regulations we want, but if we’re going to insist on punching a man in the crotch, donning a velvet glove first really isn’t going to make that much difference to him.

Alex Warren
Alex Warren
Miserablist, whiskey-drinker, and general tinpot shambles. Alex Warren has a weary pessimism for all things media, politics and tech.