[…] USA is increasing its commitment to drone warfare without regard for the risks these weapons pose to our security and moral standing in the world. Drone technology is spreading rapidly, with dozens of countries and even nonstate actors such as Hezbollah now developing or purchasing these systems. Military planners are developing autonomous drones that could make their own decisions on when to unleash lethal force. If other nations follow our example as they often do, we will soon face the prospect of a world in which terror can rain down from the sky at any moment without warning. There is no long-term benefit to the United States in the unchecked proliferation of drone weapons or in the absence of agreed standards for limiting their use. […]
The United States should work through the United Nations to convene an international conference for developing legal standards on the use of unmanned weapons. The goal should be to ensure that any military use of these systems complies fully with the laws of war, including international humanitarian law and human rights law. This would enhance our moral standing and strengthen U.S. and international security.