Drone Theory

Drone Theory

Author: Grégoire Chamayou

Translator: Janet Lloyd

Original language: French

Published by: Hamish Hamilton, 2015

Safety Observer: Yeah, they hit it. There's some smoke.
Sensor/Operator: What are those? They're in the middle vehicle.
Mission Coordinator: Women and children.
Sensor/Operator: Looks like a kid.
Safety Observer: Yeah. The one waving the flag.


In 2011 alone, the US deployed one drone strike every four days in Pakistan, spearheading a radically new form of warfare in which supposedly hostile targets could be eliminated with zero risk to the attacker. Employed in both areas of armed conflict and countries officially at peace, the use of armed drones has become emblematic of US anti-terrorist doctrine - 'kill rather than capture’ - and has placed entire populations under potentially permanent lethal surveillance.

Drone Theory is a rigorous polemic against the increasing use of robot warfare around the world. Drawing on philosophical debate, moral lessons from Greek mythology and transcripts of conversations between drone operators, Drone Theory re-evaluates the socio-political impact of drone warfare on the world – and its people. Chamayou takes us through Nevada, Pakistan and arresting philosophical terrain to reveal how drones are changing the landscape of war theory and to highlight the profound moral implications of our own silence in the face of drone warfare.