Not Whether Machines Think, But Whether Men Do


Drones “allow for the most discriminating uses of force in the history of military technology,” and can thus be a profound humanitarian advancement in warfare. State actors alone, however, can actualize this potential. Although the United States complies with international humanitarian law from strike authorization through strike execution within the Afghanistan theatre of war, its methods for evaluating and reporting collateral damage caused by drone strikes—including presuming every deceased “military-aged male in a strike zone” to have been a “combatant[]”—do not comply with international law. The United States must amend its policies to uphold its obligations of forming customary international law that mandates a humane use of drones in theatres of war, and protecting its ground troops from distrust and violence predicated on inaccurate reporting of collateral damage.

About the Author

Jane Stack received her A.B. in Government from Harvard College in 2009 and her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 2014.

By uclalaw