Philosopher Bradley Strawser Makes the Moral Case for US Drones

UPDATE August 7, 2012: Bradley Strawser has written to me and strongly protested the way he was portrayed in this article. He is making a formal complaint to the independent ombudsman at the Guardian and has also published an op-ed piece to correct some of what he feels are misrepresentations of his views. –Abbas Raza

Bradley-Strawser-008Rory Carroll profiles Strawser in The Guardian [h/t: Corey Robin]:

At first sight, Bradley Strawser resembles a humanities professor from central casting. He has a beard, wears jeans, quotes Augustine and calls himself, only half in jest, a hippie. He opposes capital punishment and Guantánamo Bay, calls the Iraq invasion unjust and scorns neo-conservative foreign policy hawks. “Whatever a neocon is, I'm the opposite.”

His office overlooks a placid campus in Monterey, an oasis of California sun and Pacific zephyrs, and he lives up the road in Carmel, a forested beauty spot with an arts colony aura. Strawser has published works on metaphysics and Plato and is especially fond of Immanuel Kant.

Strawser is also, it turns out, an outspoken and unique advocate for what is becoming arguably the US's single most controversial policy: drone strikes. Strawser has plunged into the churning, anguished debate by arguing the US is not only entitled but morally obliged to use drones.

“It's all upside. There's no downside. Both ethically and normatively, there's a tremendous value,” he says. “You're not risking the pilot. The pilot is safe. And all the empirical evidence shows that drones tend to be more accurate. We need to shift the burden of the argument to the other side. Why not do this? The positive reasons are overwhelming at this point. This is the future of all air warfare. At least for the US.”

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