Thursday, September 27, 2012

Interesting point about drone strikes

Erik Voeten (of The Monkey Cage blog) claims that one moral problem with drone strikes is that the marginal cost per strike is too low and when the marginal cost of something is low, it is easier to ethically justify. This is an interesting point. I am curious however, what the marginal cost really is. Given the infrastructure we already developed for drone strikes, the cost per assassination goes down for each strike. But what is the actual cost? It would seem that the cost is less than that of the infrastructure of developing special teams of people to do this.

Also important, given the secrecy of assassination culture, there seems to be no penalty for bad decisions. After all, if there were not sufficient government resources expended, why punish anyone for a mistake? Thus one might think that the marginal cost for failure is also way too low.

On a related note, why was bin Laden killed with a SEAL team and not a drone with a team to go in after the strike?


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