Author Biography

Ann Rogers has a PhD in International Relations from Lancaster University, and an MA and BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia. She is the former deputy editor of Jane’s Intelligence Review and the co-author (with John Hill) of Unmanned: drone warfare and global security (Pluto Press, 2014). She is currently an adjunct professor in the School of Communication and Culture, Royal Roads University, Canada.



Subject Area Keywords

Asymmetric warfare, Counterinsurgency, Counterterrorism, Global trends and risks, Human rights, International security, Israel, Palestine, War studies


Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, are increasingly touted as ‘humanitarian’ weapons that contribute positively to fighting just wars and saving innocent lives. At the same time, civilian casualties have become the most visible and criticized aspect of drone warfare. It is argued here that drones contribute to civilian casualties not in spite of, but because of, their unique attributes. They greatly extend war across time and space, pulling more potential threats and targets into play over long periods, and because they are low-risk and highly accurate, they are more likely to be used. The assumption that drones save lives obscures a new turn in strategic thinking that sees states such as Israel and the US rely on large numbers of small, highly discriminating attacks applied over time to achieve their objectives. This examination of Israel’s 2014 war in Gaza argues that civilian casualties are not an unexpected or unintended consequence of drone warfare, but an entirely predictable outcome.