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Gyges Effect: An Ethical Critique of Lethal Remotely Piloted Aircraft

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The U.S. Army pledges to defend the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, in a manner that upholds national values. One such way recent presidential administrations make good on their pledge to protect the American people is by authorizing military strikes using the Remotely Piloted Aircrafts RPA. If RPA do act as a political deposit on the sacred oath sworn by our leaders to protect and defend the constitution, does the policy likewise uphold the traditional norms associated with justice in war jus in bello In other words, does the U.S. Government violate jus in bello in its use of RPA to conduct military strikes To examine this question further, it is necessary to explore three broad areas. The first, and most substantial, is the moral basis for justifiable military action. The second area is legal precedence for RPA strikes. The final area deals in the consequences of such action within todays operational environment OE and the effects it has on the future of warfare. This thesis critiques the morality, legality, and military ethics of the United States RPA Policy.

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