Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent at The Guardian and The Observer
Pro to the question "Should the United States Continue Its Use of Drone Strikes Abroad?"
"[T]he nature of drone warfare itself has become central. The operators' very remoteness, it is claimed, leads to desensitisation. But throughout the history of weapons, designers have always sought to maximise lethality while reducing the vulnerability of those using the weapons. And while it has long been accepted that there is a relationship between increased distance from a target and the ability to kill with reduced feelings of guilt, recent anecdotal evidence suggests that some drone operators, because they spend so long intimately observing their targets, experience the same emotional damage as those who kill at close quarters.
What then of the issue of international legality? ...[T]his, too, is more complex than some have assumed. The use of force against countries in peacetime... is governed by Article 51 of the UN Charter. This permits 'the right of individual or collective defence' across borders in peacetime if either one of two requirements is satisfied: that the group or individuals being targeted poses a threat or if the country, where the strike takes place, 'consents'. While Pakistan has complained that drone strikes 'infringe its sovereignty', strong evidence exists that suggests it is heavily involved in providing the intelligence and other participation for strikes.
A case can be made too that drones might be 'more ethical' than other older systems because they can be more discriminate, lingering over their target for hours or returning for days to the location, giving those authorising the operations the opportunity to minimise noncombatant casualties."
"Are Drones Any More Immoral than Other Weapons of War?," theguardian.com, Aug. 18, 2012