Robot Proxy War Update

Robot Proxy War Update

Robot Proxy War Update

Science, technology, and life.
Oct. 27 2008 11:34 AM

Robot Proxy War Update

I can't keep up with the drone war in Pakistan.

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

This morning, I posted a piece on the evolution of the Pakistan border conflict into the world's first robot proxy war . There have been so many drone strikes along that border in the last four weeks that when I linked to the reports on all of them, it felt like-pardon the reverse metaphor-overkill.

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Now it turns out I missed one. The machines' body count is now 20 higher, thanks to a strike last night. It's the 19th drone attack since August. According to an update this morning on the New York Times Web site, the strike occurred 20 miles inside Pakistan and took out two Taliban commanders who have launched raids on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

How good are the drones? According to the Times , one of the targeted commanders "was believed to have been visiting the compound ... to pay his respects to the families of those killed in an American drone strike on Friday" in a different location. The machines find and kill you, and then, when your boss shows up somewhere else to console your relatives, the machines are waiting for him there, too.

Down the road, we should all be scared of what this technology can do. But for now, I'm enjoying our ability to find and kill these guys without putting boots on the ground.

Now, about those other 18 casualties ...