From the full Associated Press report HERE
Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Friday that Germany would work with France to develop a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles.(Photograph from RP Defense blog)
"We have a gap in our capabilities that we would like to close," he said.
I had been labouring under the mistaken idea that Germany would nevermore have the option to become fully militarised, after having been instrumental in lighting the blue touchpaper for two horrendously devastating world wars within a ridiculously short time span 1914-1918, 1939-1945. Some generations had the misfortune of living through both bloodbaths. I'm not sure where I got the idea in the first place - probably kidding myself. Wikipedia has a page outlining the real situation.
It doesn't take an over-active imagination to see where a potential drone-fest will end, as more and more countries acquire the technology. We used to think our greatest danger lay in nuclear weaponry. That supposition ought now to be updated to include armed drone use. Potential for human error has always been present, now an added possibility of techno-error - even without planned intention of attack. Can you imagine World War 3? Skies dark with competing drones over cities throughout the world....need I write more?
For any passing reader who still thinks drones are "a good thing", keeping the operator and "our heroic troops" safe and sound in underground bunkers far, far away - continents away - from the action, would do well to read an essay by a German guy, Dirk Kurbjuweit, translated into English by Christopher Sultan, and dated August 2012:
Fear the Reaper: 'Humane' Drones Are the Most Brutal Weapons of All
I'll copy some brief snips, but the full essay is essential reading:
....... According to the traditional concepts of combat, a war waged with drones is a cowardly war. The coward, in this equation, is the one who takes little or no risk to fight against those who take great risks........................
To date, the most humane of all weapons is the one that is potentially the most gruesome -- the intercontinental ballistic missile, equipped with multiple nuclear warheads, which is capable of wiping out a city of a million people. It has zero victims, because no one has dared to use it.........................
The "good" drones, on the other hand, have a much more tragic track record. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London found that the United States used drones in Pakistan 337 times between 2004 and 2012, killing between 2,524 and 3,247 people. The casualties included 482 to 852 civilians, of whom 175 were children. Of the many evils of war, civilian victims are the worst.
The high rate of civilian casualties stems from the fact that the Americans are not using their armed drones in the battlefield, but in the vicinity of people who are considered to be terrorists. Of course, this means that there will sometimes be civilians nearby who, despite the precision of drones, will lose their lives.................
The most precise weapon for hunting down terrorists is still an intelligence agent like James Bond, but he has to risk his life during his missions, which is why the drone is preferred in real life.
A humane approach to war is a complex issue. Drones seem relatively humane, but that perception only increases the temptation to use them. They spare one's own troops, which is good, but they pose a great threat to civilians, which is terrible. As a result, the humane approach gives rise to a special form of inhumanity....................
A weapon also has a psychology, meaning that it affects the disposition of its users in its own, unique way. The drone is especially tempting for politicians of a gentle, humanitarian nature. Former US President George W. Bush, who does not fall into this category, used armed drones in Pakistan 52 times in the last four years of his presidency. His apparently gentler and more humanitarian successor, Barack Obama, has already deployed drones 285 times. Just as the drone suits Germany, it also suits Obama. Because it doesn't seem as terrible as other weapons, the barriers to its use are relatively low.