The Quarterly DAG-3QD Peace and Justice Symposium: Drones

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Dear Reader,

We are very pleased to collaborate with the Amsterdam-based Dialogue Advisory Group (DAG) to bring to you quarterly online symposia on topics of international peace and justice. This is the third in this series of symposia; the first two can be seen here and here.

DAG is an organization which discreetly assists government, inter-government and other actors to confidentially manage national and international mediation efforts. Among their publicly known activities is DAG’s involvement in verifying the ETA ceasefire in Basque Country and the decommissioning of the weapons of INLA, a dissident Republican armed group in Northern Ireland.

DAG is directed by Ram Manikkalingam who also teaches politics at the University of Amsterdam. He advised the previous President of Sri Lanka during the peace process with the Tamil Tigers and prior to that advised the Rockefeller Foundation’s program in international peace and security.

In the DAG-3QD Peace and Justice Symposia internationally recognized figures will debate challenges in conflict resolution and human rights. One (or more) author(s) will present a thesis in the form of a short essay and then the others will present critiques of that point of view. Finally, the initial author(s) will also have an opportunity to present a rebuttal to the critiques.

The topic this time is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in situations of war and conflict.

The distinguished participants in this symposium:

  • Bradley Jay Strawser is an assistant professor in the Defense Analysis Department at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and a research associate at Oxford’s Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict (ELAC) in Oxford, UK. He has written frequently about drones for the press, including for The Guardian and the New York Times. He also has a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press entitled Killing By Remote Control: The Ethics of an Unmanned Military. It is an edited volume on the ethical questions surrounding the employment of UAVs.
  • John Fabian Witt is a professor of law at Yale Law School and the author of Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History (Free Press / Simon & Schuster, 2012).
  • Steven Levine is an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Massachussettes, Boston.
  • Feisal H. Naqvi is a partner at the law firm Bhandari, Naqvi & Riaz and an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, as well as a columnist for The Express Tribune.
  • Lisa Hajjar is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her research and writing focus on the laws of war and conflict, human rights and torture. She is the author of Torture: A Sociology of Violence and Human Rights.

I would like to thank the participants as well as Ram Manikkalingam, Fleur Ravensbergen, Michelle Gehrig, and the indefatigable Amanda Beugeling of the Dialogue Advisory Group for working closely with me in organizing these symposia. The logo for the symposia has also been designed by Amanda Beugeling.

We look forward to your comments and feedback.


S. Abbas Raza

NOTE: DAG and 3QD wish to acknowledge the generous contribution of the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO, the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research) toward these symposia, as well as the support of our readers.


[Click the links below to read the essays.]

  1. More Heat Than Light: The Vexing Complexities of the Drone Debate by Bradley Jay Strawser
  2. On Adopting a Posture of Moral Neutrality by John Fabian Witt
  3. Drones Threaten Democratic Decision-Making by Steven Levine
  4. Even War Has Limits by Feisal H. Naqvi
  5. Is Targeted Killing War? by Lisa Hajjar
  6. Reply to Critics: No Easy Answers by Bradley Jay Strawser





Please leave comments about any of the essays in the symposium in the comments area of this post. Thank you.