This roundup, curated by ReThink Media, looks at how the media is talking about drone warfare (and related topics) and what stories are being told.
With little transparency from governments on this topic, this roundup aims to be as comprehensive as possible, identifying breaking news, trends, developing stories, or interesting narratives. Rethink Media also use media coverage to compile a snapshot of strikes each week. The short version can be read here.
Biden’s review of drone strikes
“Many of Biden’s early policy moves have simply undone the work of his predecessor. One major reversal has been Biden’s temporary restriction on drone strikes and special operations raids against suspected terrorists until an internal review is completed—a change of course that indicates a reassessment of the 20-year war on terror.” [TIME / Alana Abramson]
All drone strikes must be cleared by me, says President Biden [The Times / Michael Evans]
PODCAST: Biden’s review of drone strikes is a chance to reject ‘targeted killings’ [WPR]
COMMENTARY: “You may have noticed: the Blob is back. Beneath a veneer of gender and racial diversity, the Biden national security team consists of seasoned operatives who earned their spurs in Washington long before Donald Trump showed up to spoil the party. So, if you’re looking for fresh faces at the departments of state or defense, the National Security Council or the various intelligence agencies, you’ll have to search pretty hard. Ditto, if you’re looking for fresh insights.” [TomDispatch / Andrew Bacevich]
COMMENTARY: “Do these steps point the way towards an end to America’s endless counterterrorism wars? In a recent report for New America, I present a framework for analyzing endlessness in America’s wars, which can help answer the question. The main finding: endlessness is at its core about objectives and their achievability. Wars become endless when a belligerent pursues objectives it cannot achieve but is also not at risk of being defeated or denied access to the battlefield.” [Responsible Statecraft / David Sterman]
“In principle, a remote weapon station is no more sinister on a robot than it is on top of a Hummer. Putting it on an unmanned vehicle simply adds more distance. And in principle, an armed ground robot is no different to an armed drone. However, the public, and the media, may not see it that way. Which is perhaps why SOCOM prefer to be non-committal about whether they are or are not fielding armed robots.” [Forbes / David Hambling]
India plans to buy 30 armed drones from the U.S. to boost its sea and land defenses as tensions persist with neighbors China and Pakistan, according to officials with knowledge of the matter. [Bloomberg / Sudhi Ranjan Sen]
“The facts surrounding the January 3 French airstrike near Bounti, in central Mali, which villagers claim killed 19 civilians at a wedding, remain disputed. The French government continues to oppose carrying out an investigation into the attack, saying its forces committed no errors. A February 16 decision by the European Court of Human Rights should be an important reminder to France of the obligation of states under international humanitarian law to investigate serious allegations of war crimes committed by their forces.” [HRW / Jonathan Pedneault]
Israel wants to kill drones in any war. It might have some big help soon. [The National Interest / Seth Frantzman]