BRUSSELS – “Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come,” the American poet Carl Sandburg wrote hopefully in 1936. His sentiment seems more apt than ever nowadays, but not because humanity has turned pacifistic. Rather, wars are increasingly fought remotely, with drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – doing the killing.
Under President Barack Obama, the number of drone strikes carried out by the United States has soared, with more than 300 UAV attacks reported in Pakistan alone. In March 2011, the US Air Force for the first time trained more pilots for drones than for any other purpose.