Defense secretary Leon Panetta recently announced a new Pentagon strategy: fewer troops, and a 30 percent increase in the US fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), such as Predator drones. In an age of unconventional warfare and an increasingly cash-strapped military, this approach has obvious appeal. Drones are much cheaper than boots on the ground; they avoid putting American troops at direct risk and allow us to target enemies wherever they may be. By using unmanned weapons, the argument goes, we can avoid the kind of protracted, costly wars that have been so disastrous in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bilmes, Linda J. "And Now, Battles with Hardly Any Rules." Boston Globe, February 5, 2012.