Monday 17 February 2014

Is it really just about jobs?

Wales has long been a testing ground for the flying of drones.  Although a few brave individual politicians have consistently raised their voices against using our country in this way, far too many have swallowed the convenient excuse that they might also have civilian uses as a fig leaf to defend the jobs which the programme supports.
A fortnight ago, a new drone was unveiled.  This one will fly faster and higher than anything which has gone before, and is also built using ‘stealth’ technology.  It is apparently “the most advanced air system” yet, and is able to “deliver its weapons deep behind enemy lines” (military speak for killing people, although why anyone believes that there are ‘enemy lines’ any more is something of a mystery to me.)
They’re calling it the “future of warfare”; a future based on more effective killing machines with less risk to those who actually order them to kill.  Not exactly part of any future that I’d choose.  They’ve also given it a nice Celtic name, ‘Taranis’. 
One thing is perfectly clear; even if it were true that there might be some limited applications for existing drones in the civilian world, there is no requirement outside the military for stealth technology.  This is a machine which has one, and only one, use – making war.  I’d like to think that any suggestion that it should be flown from the drone testing base in Wales would be rejected out of hand, and that, just for once, the interests of peace would be placed above any possible economic benefit.  It isn’t something I’d put a bet on though.

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