Berlin to buy drones despite ethic debates
BERLIN - Reuters
A German soldier stands next to a drone. Army uses unmanned drones. EPA photoGermany’s military will acquire armed drones its defense minister said on Feb. 1, reigniting a heated debate in Germany over the ethics of using such aircraft.
The drones would protect soldiers in dangerous situations, and offer precision and speed, Thomas de Maiziere said. The drones were identical in legal, ethical and technical terms to manned aircraft because someone would still have to decide whether to attack, he said. Germany would develop the new generation drones in conjunction with France, he added.
German armed forces are currently using unmanned drones for reconnaissance in Afghanistan, where they are serving as part of the International Security Assistance Force. “We have a gap in our capabilities which we want to close,” de Maiziere said.
German opposition lawmakers had already condemned the purchase of armed drones; with the head of the Greens parliamentary group Juergen Trittin saying they could lower the threshold for military engagement. Critics of drone strikes argue that they end up killing high numbers of civilians and that they are frequently launched across sovereign states’ borders.