British soldiers will be taught about the morality of drone killings

Soldiers who obliterate enemy fighters with drones will be guided on the morality of their actions by specially trained army chaplains

  • Chaplains will spend year studying masters degree in ethics at Cardiff University
  • Will then instruct officers about ethics of killing from thousands of miles away
  • Officials are also concerned about emotional trauma suffered by drone pilots

Pilots who obliterate enemy fighters with drones will be guided on the morality of their actions by specially trained army chaplains, it has emerged.

Chaplains will spend one year studying a masters degree in ethics at Cardiff University so they can instruct officers on the moral dilemmas involved in killing an enemy from thousands of miles away.

Officials have long been concerned about the emotional trauma suffered by drone pilots, as well as the risk they will be more likely to use deadly force if the confrontation is being played out on a computer screen.

Chaplains will spend one year studying ethics so they can instruct officers on the moral dilemmas involved in killing an enemy from thousands of miles away. Pictured: A Reaper drone

‘It’s very different in asymmetric warfare when people are going to work flying drones and then going back to their families in the evening,’ chaplain-general Reverend David Coulter told The Times.

‘They’re not deploying overseas and disappearing for months on end. So that brings a very interesting dynamic pastorally as well as professionally.’


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RAF Reaper drones are involved in combat in Mosul, Raqqa and Homes and are operated by pilots in Waddington, Lincolnshire, and the United States.

They are able to deliver 500lb bombs and laser-guided Hellfire missiles with a simple on-screen direction from more than 7,000 miles away.

The strikes often require approval from senior officers, who take into account the risk of killing civilians.
  

A drone operator is pictured in 2014 at the RAF’s drone command centre in Waddington, Lincolnshire

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