On Killing Remotely
The Psychology of Killing with Drones
Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Phelps
A “can’t-miss for anyone interested in current military affairs,” On Killing Remotely reveals and explores the costs—to individual soldiers and to society—of the way we wage war today (Kirkus Reviews, starred).
Throughout history society has determined specific rules of engagement between adversaries in armed conflict. With advances in technology, from armor to in the Middle Ages to nerve gas in World War I to weapons of mass destruction in our own time, the rules have constantly evolved. Today, when killing the enemy can seem palpably risk-free and tantamount to playing a violent video game, what constitutes warfare? What is the effect of remote combat on individual soldiers? And what are the unforeseen repercussions that could affect us all?
Lt Col Wayne Phelps, former commander of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft unit, addresses these questions and many others as he tells the story of the men and women of today’s “chair force.” Exploring the ethics of remote military engagement, the misconceptions about PTSD among RPA operators, and the specter of military weaponry controlled by robots, his book is an urgent and compelling reminder that it should always be difficult to kill another human being lest we risk losing what makes us human.