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Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Drone Warfare is a comprehensive look at the growing menace of robotic warfare, with an extensive analysis of who is producing the drones, where they are being used, who “pilots” these unmanned planes, who are the victims and what are the legal and moral implications. In vivid, readable style, the book also looks at what activists, lawyers and scientists are doing to groun ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published May 2012 by OR Books
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Courtney
May 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
I respect Medea Benjamin's activism, but couldn't make myself finish this mess of a book. Even though I tend to agree with her perspective, I was incredibly annoyed by her general lack of critical engagement. There really isn't an "argument" here - just a rambling polemical diatribe. I feel she would strengthen her position as a writer if she included some critical discourse and THEN justified her personal convictions. Cutting out some repetition would help, too. ...more
Joshua Stein
Jun 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
This probably would have been a two-star review if not for the last three chapters. Benjamin is the co-founder of an anti-war organization called CODEPINK and discloses this right up front. The thing is, having a strongly held ideological position doesn't give anyone the right to strawman or outright ignore the positions of those they claim to be arguing against.

For those who are interested in the contemporary military industrial complex and the role of the government in perpetuating the arms ra
...more
Hope Wilke
Sep 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
If the United States Government had pants, they would definitely be on fire right now. When the government reports the death tolls caused by the U.S. in other countries, they lie right through their teeth by claiming many deaths of innocent civilians were actually militants. This along with many other facts and opinions shared by the author stood out to me. Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control, states many times--from the very beginning--she is the co-founder of an ...more
Jeremy
Mar 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
It's not the most polished or focused book imaginable, but Benjamin is first and foremost a peace activist, not an investigative journalist. To her credit, the parts of the book that focus on Drone warfare: how it developed, how much money is involved in their production (hint: it's A LOT), how they are used, and the basic ethical/legal dilemmas involved in secretively killing people from the sky thousands of miles away receive a marginally thoughtful summary, and she obviously put a lot of rese ...more
Jeff Whitley
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Unexpected foul language at the mid point or just afterward.
Dr. Phoenix
Dec 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Book You Will Love to Hate.


Perhaps this hearts and flowers 'author' had an troubled childhood, perhaps she suffered later on in life to become so embittered, but then again, perhaps she is just another of those intolerant left wing radicals; a rebel with a thousand causes.Benjamin has a point to make and she does not care who she sullies in the process. She libels large industries and slanders individuals with reckless abandon, using her sharp tongue and barbed quill as weapons of choice.

My in
...more
Tariq Mahmood
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: terrorism
Its hard to go home to one's family after wiping out someone else's.

If you do something long enough, the world will learn to accept it eventually.

The book is short very factual account of the drone industry, lobbying and narrative in the USA. Narrative-for is pretty powerful, as drones provide an easy and effective manner of engaging with an allusive enemy hidden among the ordinary, the argument-against is very compelling as well, with all the civilian deaths and ill-will generated against the U
...more
Larry Bassett
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was published in 2012 and my biggest criticism of it is that that might be too long ago to accurately reflect the current state of affairs in drone warfare. The book notes that Barack Obamas first authorization of a predator drone attack occurred three days after his inauguration. Now at the end of his eight years in office we know that he has relied significantly on this manner of warmaking. And it is possible that he has gotten better or more careful about it under the glare of publi ...more
Andrew
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Though this book has a strong bias that I didn't initially agree with I found a lot of my thoughts on the use of drones have been changed. It raises a lot of critical issues involving the law, morality and the problems of using drones in targeted assassinations without oversight. The only reason I am giving this book middling grades is that I found Benjamin's prose to be a bit too biased at times, when a more dispassionate approach would have added more weight to her arguments. The facts are dam ...more
Akshat Upadhyay
I started this book without seeking any review from goodreads but could not resist the temptation of a peekaboo. This book has been trolled by almost everyone with one to two star reviews. So on a sad note I started this book, but surprise surprise, after a cliche start with some sad story about an orphaned child in Afghanistan, this book takes a leap of faith by delving straight into the various types of drones in service with major powers, international law, and the cavalier attitude of the Am ...more
Briana
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a good primer on global drone warfare. A note to sensitive readers, however: the first half of the book is quite graphic. The second half of the book offers hope via examples of active resistance against military drones and briefly describes drones intended for environmental monitoring and humanitarian relief. The end of the book left me wanting to learn more deeply about the issues, which of course, is part of the point.
Judy Gacek
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Researched with endnotes. Author cofounded Codepink so the reader understands her stand on the subject which is she is against their use. While I also have concerns about their use in war I am equally concerned about their use by law enforcement officials and private citizens. Need to research what else is available on the subject as I need more information than what the author provided.
Faisal
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Medea had put so much effort into presenting the facts with the corresponding evidences, however ideas were so scattered in away that your mind would hardly function.

Again, this book is full of evidence which support the story Medea wanted to convey.

Worth reading for people interested about drones.
Tom Nason
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good summation of the motivations for and use of drones in modern asymmetric, eternal war. A scary future well predicted. The -1 star may be more because we have no good solutions on the horizon, more than a deficiency of the book itself.
Zare
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics, science
Very good account on what technology does to inter-state relations and how this affects life of ordinary people.

War is not meant to be bloodless, distant and perceived as a video-game. We live in a society that embraces desocialization as a way living - but basically this is nothing more than excuse to embrace total personal isolation as a way of life (much easier when you do not have to think about others but only of yourself) and removal of family [as a basic social unit] from everyday life. W
...more
Shawn
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a very shocking account of a long list of murders that have been accomplished with American drones. This book also provides a very alarming account of the present state of drone technology. The capabilities of drones far exceed the imaginations of most everyday citizens. There are drones that can be unfolded and dispatched into the air like robotic hawks. Drones that can see what a person is reading from so far in the sky that the person doesn’t even know it’s there. Insect-like drones t ...more
Anna
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, mondo-spybot
Medea Benjamin is one of the few Americans with the guts to take on President Spybot in public with pointed questioning about the murder of Abdulrahman Alawki- questions which he has yet to answer, and circumstances which his administration is still cowardly hiding behind executive privilege from fully explaining, even though so ordered by a federal judge. The mainstream media themselves are still avoiding the issue, a highly impeachable one, which involved the first presidential murders of Unit ...more
Lauren Ruth
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's hard to write about technology in a way that's both clear and interesting, and Medea Benjamin is, first of all, an activist. But what this book lacks in polish it makes up for in passion. Remote-control weaponry—a chilling idea I'd be happy never to think about.

Whether I think about it or not, though, I am now part of a society in which some guys on an air force base outside Las Vegas sit at a video-game console and kill people in Pakistan and Yemen. Not even, necessarily, the right people
...more
Ricky Macdonald
I thought this book was very informative, however, I had no clue it would be so opinionated and biased. It wasn't a problem for me because No matter my view on a subject, I like to see both sides of an argument or a point of view. Before I read this book, I had a very slim amount of knowledge how drone warfare was approached by the U.S. After reading it, I have a much better understanding of why drone missiles are used and what the effects, and capabilities of them are. The title is very true t ...more
Austin Dicerbo
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DRONE WARFARE is a book about how the government making some wrong chooses with large amounts of money. They choose to buy million dollar drones instead of using man operated planes. The government thinks that using them will help the with winning wars and saving troops. The problem with them is that they fail and the remotes don't operate right. Medea Benjamin uses some many sources that show it's true information.

DRONE WARFARE is a very well written book with its information and telling the r
...more
Segan Friend
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good if one sided look at drone warfare, mainly as prosecuted by the USA but a bit about Israel and other nations. The author states from the very beginning that she is anti drone and anti war and occasionally her hyperbole and rhetoric get a little repetitive and grating, weakening her very valid concerns and view points. I would have preferred a few other opinions in there from other sides of the issue to make it a more balanced read even though i agree with a lot of what she says. Dead fore ...more
Fenix Rose
So very well written. This book gives a brief look into the history of drones
but mostly concentrates on modern usage and by whom, which is greater then we are led to believe.
It shows both sides of the issue, including the vantage point of those who have drones flying overhead 24/7 never knowing when they will be next to be targeted.
Though drones, or unmanned aircraft may have good positive uses, the usage of them in war, or for remote assassination is wrong. It makes the toll of war too far awa
...more
Anurag Sethi
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it
The author provides a very passionate account of why drones should not be used including the fact that drone usage is probably causing more people to turn into terrorists. Most importantly, he provides an informative account of what the main media is not covering and the book needs to be widely read just for this reason. However, where it fails is in making a fair comparison of warfare before n during drone usage, i.e., number of innocent citizens (and real targets) killed during drone usage as ...more
SpaceBear
Not a very well written book; seems to be more of a condemnation of anything war-related or military in general more so than a sound argument against the use of drones (which isn't a difficult argument to make). This book focuses on the arguments that drones can make mistakes and kill civilians, which don't really make the drone an exceptional weapon. In fact, it is more on the tame side than most other weapons since not that many people die as a result of their use. The book would have been str ...more
Jon Box
Feb 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Nothing new here--information is cherry picked from NY Times, further distorted and plastered with Code Pink and Global Exchange snipes. She requotes various experts, many out of context, and anyone else who would sit down and spout their drone fears. Some of the information is factual and she may have some valid issues, but her presentation is one-sided, self-glorifying, and guaranteed to give you a headache! I would have given it two stars had she not spent the last quarter of the book delinea ...more
Marcy Winograd
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Author Medea Benjamin gives us hope that opposition to drones, both for surveillance and for not-so targeted kilings,will go global. In a groundbreaking analysis, Benjamin introduces us to terms like the "swarm" which is a "bevy of unmanned aerial ground and sea vehicles" that autonomously converge on enemy troops. Think about this not as sanitary warfare to save our own skins, but as cowardly mass murder that leaves our joystick operators with PTSD and the world an Orwellian nightmare. ...more
Rakesh
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
It is a pretty relevant book and looks closely at an issue that is important for the whole world. The writer informs and her observations need to be appreciated. The dangers of drones falling in wrong hands really scares me and policymakers across the world also need to introspect about this issue...
Joshua
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is, still I think, an important piece of work. Especially as we have become even more deadened to the problems of perpetual warfare than we were when Benjamin first wrote the book. My review of the book can be found at https://usefulillusions.wordpress.com.... ...more
Ana Treviño
Great book stating the facts on the start and current state of the use of drones nationally and internationally. It has a whistleblower feel to it but really makes one understand the politics behind the use of drones.
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Benjamin grew up in Long Island, New York, a self-described "nice Jewish girl." During her freshman year at Tufts University, she renamed herself after the Greek mythological character Medea. She received master's degrees in public health from Columbia University and in economics from The New School.

Benjamin worked for 10 years as an economist and nutritionist in Latin America and Africa for the U
...more

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“I hear all the time that peace activists are naive, that it is impossible to talk to extremists--people who have no regard for the lives of innocents... But in my experience in conflict zones the world over, there are always people to talk to. From members of Hamas in Gaza to Baathists under Saddam's Iraq to the Taliban in Afganistan to government officials in Iran, it is a major blunder to label all our perceived enemies as extremists incapable of rational conversation. People join militant groups for many reasons--religious, family, social pressure, revenge for some wrong they experienced, political ideology, poverty. With such diversity of motives, the are always some people who can be enticed to talk about peace. Our goal should be to seek them out, to strengthen the moderates. Unfortunately, our actions have only served to embolden the extremists.” 1 likes
“In 2009, Human Rights Watch relayed numerous reports of drones hitting civilians during the 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza. In one case, a mother was sitting on the roof while her small son Mu'min rode a bicycle. Suddenly there was powerful explosion. When Nahla Allaw managed to see through the dust an smoke. she looked at her son in horror. "His legs were crushed, his chest had tiny holes in it, and blood poured from them. I carried him, crying. He was breathing his last breath. I talked to him, saying, "It's alright my dear.” 0 likes
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