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Ethics of Emerging Technologies EM and Non-Lethal Weapons University of Notre Dame Spring 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethics of Emerging Technologies EM and Non-Lethal Weapons University of Notre Dame Spring 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethics of Emerging Technologies EM and Non-Lethal Weapons University of Notre Dame Spring 2012

2 If it’s a non-lethal weapon, it has to be good and we should pursue it…right? Isn’t it obvious that not killing people is better than killing them? (Kaurin)

3 Plan What does it mean? Types of non-lethal weapons Advantages Issues






9 Why Consider Non Lethal Weapons Now? Advances in technology, including dual-use Alternative to lethal weapons needed for peacekeeping Combatants and non combatants sometimes deliberately mixed Increasing reluctance to accept war deaths Law enforcement need for non-lethal arrest and restraint Promise of being able to fight a bloodless and humane war Presence of international media recording brutality of war Increasing role of military in operations other than war, conflict in urban areas, peacekeeping Need non-lethal methods for terrorist/hostage taking situations

10 Decline of Human Decisionmaking (EM, Cyber, Robots) (Adams) More and more aspects of warfighting are not only leaving the realm of human senses, but also crossing outside the limits of human reaction times Will create an environment too complex for humans to direct Will never be a decision to remove human. Will gradually evolve toward systems whose logic demands that human control be more abstract with less and less participation By 2025, speed-of-light engagement will be a common feature of military conflict Human perception and coordination are simply not capable of intervening usefully. Defense then relies on automated responses… Conflict will quickly escalate out of human control due to its speed and complexity



13 From National Academies Report









22 Four Core Principles of LOAC/IHL (Solis) Distinction Military Necessity Unnecessary Suffering Proportionality

23 General Rules on the Use of Weapons in Armed Conflict (Casey-Maslen, Geneva, 2010) Rights of the parties to choose methods and means of warfare is not unlimited Use of weapons which, by their nature, are indiscriminant is prohibited Means and methods of warfare which cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering is prohibited Must minimize incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects Use of methods or weapons which cause widespread, long term and severe damage to the environment is prohibited Prohibition on attacking persons who are hors de combat States must assess new weapons to determine if any of the above are violated

24 Are Non Lethal Weapons More Ethical? (Kaurin) Can be ethical, If and Only If (in order) – Provide military with more time and flexible response options – Reduce unnecessary suffering of non-combatants – Facilitate eventual restoration of peace – Minimize combat casualties (but, consider that a key test for JWT is: are you willing to suffer casualties in pursuit of your objective?)

25 NLW Should Not Be Used As… A way to circumvent or make irrelevant the moral distinction between combatants and non-combatants An easy technological fix to complex moral problems A method to make war more palatable and easier to use as an option

26 NLW Should Be Used As… A way to ameliorate the effects of war, never to make it easier to resort to it Non lethal weapons would not and should not represent a new way of war; this is no revolution in war, at least not from a moral and legal perspective

27 NLW and Future Peace Enforcement Operations (NATO) The existence of NLW should not be construed to lessen the requirements of discrimination While intended to de-escalate, may actually lead to an increase in the resort to force, causing escalation Not necessarily non lethal in their own right…may be used for illegal purposes Danger of proliferation Are not a substitute for lethal weapons, and their first use is not required Further work is need to determine if existing LOAC and IHL are adequate

28 NLW – A Synopsis (Roland-Price) It is wrong to talk a about MLW in isolation; they will always be used to complement lethal weapons Availability of NLW does not imply that they must be used first, nor does it negate the right of soldiers to protect themselves with lethal force

29 Non Lethal Technologies – An Overview ( Lewer and Davison) Increased pressure for bloodless, humane war Increased resistance to combat casualties Use of Non-Lethal Weapons – Be able to discriminate and not cause unnecessary suffering – Effects should be temporary and reversible – Provide alternatives to, or raise the threshold for, the use of lethal force

30 Issues for the Joint Force Commander (Jeffery Voetberg, 2007) Many NLW are intentionally non-discriminant – cannot determine individual effects Will weaken existing constraints on the use of force Likely will result in a non lethal weapons arms race Easier to use for malign purposes – leave no tell tale marks of use Lower the psychological barrier against violence

31 Concerns (Lucas)

32 Recommendations (Lucas)

33 The Meaning of Moscow (Fidler) Moral principles underlying the rules of war have been remarkably consistent for centuries…should resist special treatment of NLW NLW may expand rather than limit the just causes for using force

34 Other References Fidler, Arthur, “The Meaning of Moscow: Non-Lethal Weapons and International Law in the Early 21 st Century, International review of the Red Cross, Vol 87, Number 859, Sept 2005, pp Lewer, Nick and Davison, Neil, “Non-Lethal Technologies – An Overview”, Science, Technology, and the CBW Regimes, Vol 1, 2005 Adams, Thomas, “Future Warfare and the Decline of Human Decisionmaking”, Parameters, The Journal of the Army War College, Winter 2001-2002 Mandel, Robert, “Non Lethal Weapons and Deterrence Dilemmas” Bradford Non Lethal Weapons Research Project, Center for Conflict Resolution, University of Bradford, UK

35 Back-up Information









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