Why do men like drone strikes more than women? Gee, that’s so hard to figure out. Hint: it ain’t because women are sweeter and kinder.

27 Jul

When I saw this piece at the Atlantic, written by someone named Alexis Madrigal, I assumed I was dealing with a woman writer, and I was interested in what other topics she had covered, so I clicked through her name. Well, lo and behold, Alexis is a man who generally covers technology. That makes the following article even more perplexing, if you ask me.


Alexis in italics.

Pew’s out with an international poll that shows, across countries and overall levels of support, a striking gender gap exists on support for American drone strikes.

Gosh, you don’t say. I wonder why that might be?

Women were much less likely to approve of “the United States conducting missile strikes from pilotless aircraft called drones to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”


Pilotless. Let’s keep that in mind, shall we?

In Japan, for example, support for drone strikes was 30 percentage points lower than their male counterparts. The smallest gaps — in France, South Korea, and Uganda — were 14, 14, and 13 percentage points, respectively. On average, there was a 22-point gap between male and female support for drone strikes, and it didn’t matter if there was considerable overall support for strikes or not.

“Gender gaps are also often seen in global surveys over the use of military force, with women far less likely than men to say that force is sometimes necessary in the pursuit of justice,” wrote Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, in introducing the data. “But the gender difference over drone strikes is unusually large.”


Women far less likely to support the use of force? Really? Let’s take a look at that a little more closely. It appears that how you spin the rationale behind a conflict has an impact on how much support you can expect to gain from women. According to Richard Eichenberg at Tufts University,

Gender differences do not vary as a function of the “war system”, as cumulative historical battle deaths are uncorrelated with the support of either men or women.

What is the “war system”? That is when a society responds to instability by socializing men into the role of warriors and defenders; something that both men and women support.

Not terribly surprising.

When a conflict is cast in terms of humanitarian concerns, and the troops are ordered under the aegis of the United Nations, more women support the actions.


Women respond more positively to humanitarian interventions and to interventions involving United Nations troops (which men do not respond to at all). These findings suggest that a liberal worldview is more strongly held among women.

A liberal worldview, or a worldview in which the inevitable sacrifices and casualties of war are spread around? I suppose that is merely semantics. A liberal world view IS a view of the world in which responsibilities are diffused across as many people as possible.

Men react more strongly to the idea of “terror” than women, although it is not a huge effect.

Men respond more strongly to questions that mention “terror” or “terrorism” (usually phrased as part of the “war against terror”). Men also increase their support more strongly when the question mentions military actions involving the NATO Alliance. Note that women do respond positively to such actions –the magnitude of their reaction is simply less.


NATO is an alliance calculated to maximize strength and effectiveness. The United Nations is an effort to involve everyone in a decision. Strength versus consensus. Again, I don’t find it surprising that men come out more strongly in favor of alliances designed to maximize power, while women want the appearance of consensus and cooperation.

That’s part of women’s desire to avoid any ultimate responsibility and to sidestep any ethically fraught or morally complex decisions.


Ultimately, how you rationalize an action and whether you can attach a strong association with accord will affect how men and women respond.

Eichenberg himself seems to disbelieve his own results, claiming that “there are many commonalities in the views of men and women, but the direction of gender differences is always and everywhere that women are less supportive of using military force than men”.


Well, except when it comes to the “war system” of socializing men to actually gear up and put their asses on the line. Then we have no observable gender differences at all.


The most directly comparable poll we could find focused on conflict in the Persian Gulf in the early 90s. Researchers asked whether respondents would support US military action if the embargo in Iraq failed. On average, men supported the option more than women by 7 percentage points. But there was considerably more geographic variation. Women in Ankara (the researchers surveyed by city rather than country) showed more support for the intervention than men there. Musocvites were roughly even, too. The differences were small in Lagos and Rome; largest in Stuttgart (-17), Tokyo (-15), and Mexico City (-15). The drone data, by contrast, shows a much more consistent pattern.

In 2003, Tufts University’s Richard C. Eichenberg conducted a meta-analysis of polling on gender differences in the United States related to war. He found that what he called “baseline average foreign policy restraint” differed between men and women by an average of 12 percentage points. That is to say, women were less likely to support military action by an average of 12 percent.

That’s the study I just quoted. Yes, women are less likely to support a military action IF an embargo fails, and IF the United Nations is not involved and IF the action is not cast in humanitarian terms, but when all those factors are in place, then there is NO difference in the level of support.

The “war system” is supported in equal measures.

Madrigal acknowledges that.

But he also showed that the polling language could create big changes in how much support men and women were willing to give the use of force. Here’s his original table:


Fascinatingly, the closest corollary to a drone strike – air or missile strikes – did not remarkably change the gender difference numbers. In fact, none of the *methods* of military intervention seemed to change the numbers very much in Eichenberg’s study.

Only one method seems to trigger a large gender gap.

Which means, perhaps strangely, that drones really do seem to be different. They’re a way of waging a war that men support far more than women. One reason might be that, as Eichenberg summarizes earlier research, “women were far more sensitive – and negative – about the prospects of civilian and military casualties in the war.”

Civilian AND military casualties? If women were concerned about military casualties, wouldn’t it stand to reason that they would PREFER drone strikes?


Pilotless. There is no male body to perish in a flaming wreck. The only bodies that will be destroyed will be the ones on the ground. The targets.

The enemy.

So much of the discourse over drones has focused on the possibility and reality of civilian casualties that perhaps this has tinted the subject for women across the globe.

Perhaps? Think about it. In a drone strike, there is no soldier to gallantly sacrifice his life in service to his country and liberty. There are only targets. And if the drone gets it wrong, the targets could be civilians.

bomb shelter

Women. Children. The elderly. The disabled. The ones who do not expect to fight. The ones who expect to be protected. With the lives of men.

The possibility that women will be casualties, with no corresponding man to offer up in blood retribution becomes very, very real. For once, women will die, and men won’t. Unless they happen to be caught on the ground, too.

Another might be that men just really *like* drones and the prospect of troop-less war.


NO SHIT SHERLOCK! For centuries, men have been socialized, cajoled and outright FORCED to die in armed conflicts that made their deaths inevitable and more or less unremarkable. The “war system”. Men fight. Men die.

Men, and only men.


Drone strikes take the requirement of male sacrifice out of the equation. Civilians are still at risk, as they always are in any armed conflict between nations, but suddenly, the soldiers’ lives are spared.

Since it is MEN who are cannon fodder, is it really the tiniest bit surprising that they might approve of military methods that save their own lives?

Perhaps there are other, more technologically specific reasons that have not been tested by previous research.

No, jackass, there are not. Every pilotless aircraft saves the life of a man who would otherwise be required to risk death.

It’s really not more complicated than that.

Do you want to live?

Or die?

I have a hard time understanding how it is that Alexis does not see that his OWN life could be the one spared. How does he not see that?

Pew’s study is important and broad, but people’s attitudes about drones are only beginning to form. The prospect of killing with semi-autonomous airplanes remains a new phenomenon in our world.


And the prospect of waging a war in which the soldiers sit comfortably in offices far away from the conflict, manipulating pilotless aircraft at no personal risk to themselves, while the women on the ground wait quietly to discover just where those strikes are going to hit is an entirely new phenomenon, too.

Suddenly, it is women’s blood that will run.


That inverts the social contract women take for granted. The entitlement to male protection, the guarantee of male disposability, the knowledge that any man who engages in conflict does so with the understanding that he may lose his life, is broken.

It’s not surprising that women don’t like drone strikes. It has nothing to do with being the “kinder, gentler” sex. Bullshit. It has to do with fear.

Memorial Cenotaph Martin Pl

They stand to lose what millions of men have already lost:

Their lives.

And that’s not the kind of equality women are interested in.

Lots of love,


91 Responses to “Why do men like drone strikes more than women? Gee, that’s so hard to figure out. Hint: it ain’t because women are sweeter and kinder.”

  1. Erudite Knight July 27, 2013 at 15:29 #

    Hey great article, interesting thing to research. What would really be icing on the cake is asking women ‘support of air strikes involving pilots’ in other words, when there is a man piloting the machine of death. I bet support would be MUCH higher. Again, simply illogical.

    You hit it on the head that their support stems from simply a matter of semantics. Couch death in ‘humanitarian missions’ if you want, someone somewhere is still dying.


  2. reyeko July 27, 2013 at 16:12 #

    The first thing I though when I saw men support drone strikes more than women was “ya men gain something from having drones to the fighting, women don’t”
    We have seen this selfishness before with the white feather thing during WW1, women felt no guilt for sending men to go die for them, why would that change after a century of feminism?


  3. Jose July 27, 2013 at 16:22 #

    Another thing to consider is that it does not matter who is piloting the drone. It can be either a man or a woman. I’m not sure too many women would be comfortable knowing that 50% of the killings were made by other women, as that would destroy the fantasy of women as more civilized and less aggresive.


  4. not_PC July 27, 2013 at 16:23 #


    Slowly, but surely, with society’s help, MGTOW will grind into gear and the misandry bubble will pop in the worst way possible.

    Before, the idea was to remove the man from the house and have him struggle (and die) on behalf of the sisterhood. Now, with the help of technology, this is changing. When men — finally! — simply detach themselves from the responsibilities of society… *grin*


  5. Radical Suburbanite July 27, 2013 at 17:34 #

    My father-in-law is a former fighter pilot and actually had a lot to do with the expansion of the drone program (one drone in particular). He and several of his former flight members rose high enough politically to push the program along (I heard stories about the congressmen, male and female, that he sat in front of asking for funding) and he considered it his most important achievement before retiring. The whole point has always been about effective warfare and saving lives. Hard to argue with that.

    One of my husband’s former co-workers is now a drone pilot. *She’s* based in California.


  6. judgybitch July 27, 2013 at 17:37 #

    Call me cynical, but taking the death out of combat is why combat is now appealing to women.


  7. Spaniard July 27, 2013 at 18:13 #

    I think women in military and cop uniform are so sexy.
    Also think that women in combat are so fierce. We have a lot of examples in History.
    Cop women use to be quite agressive if necessary. In Spain we have women in the army and in the cops. They are so fab in their uniforms and wearing that guns.

    Talking about international politics, Russian people, normal people from the streets, lateley, they told me -as a person I am who is in a constant touch with Russian culture- that Russia is at the limit of its patience about issues like Siria or the USA harassment towards Iran.
    No war against the Soviet Union and probably USA is going to enter in a clash with Putin’s Russia? Taht would be ironic. And terrible for all.
    American Christian rightwingers do not know that Christian Sirians (and, by the way, Damascus is the hometown of the Paulist Church) support the current Sirian government? It is smart going against the Christians in Near East?
    Dear American Christians, think about it.


  8. Take Back Your Face! July 27, 2013 at 18:25 #

    I’m anti-war. Particularly these corporate contracting wars.


  9. Wilson July 27, 2013 at 18:40 #

    Not sure if guys are thinking about casualties, the drone is just the best weapon, though I agree that women are probably more opposed since drones can kill soldiers’ families, while we generally think of airstrikes as targeting soldiers in the field.


  10. Liz July 27, 2013 at 19:47 #

    You support the Syrian government?
    That’s a pretty unpopular position these days (though I do take the unpopular road myself on that, and think we should stay the h e double hockey sticks out of that one, in all respects).

    Per Russia/US war, that’s unlikely in the extreme.


  11. Emcee July 27, 2013 at 19:53 #

    It’s going to be interesting to see how MGTOW will change things. I don’t know where the hell I’ll be when it happens, but I will be paying attention either way.


  12. Liz July 27, 2013 at 20:22 #

    Just a few thoughts…I really don’t think this is terribly new. Women have historically been left of men, on average, when it comes to war.

    And feminists were pushing to get women into combat positions long before drones existed, regardless of the effect on general morale or potential (inevitability really) for lost lives and resources due to the impact of placing women who are less able into the positions of men who are more able. None of that matters to the people pushing social agenda…it isn’t their @ss on the line. Furthermore, when the drones first came out and started to be utilized (Kosovo/Bosnia campaigns), fighter pilots were actually charged with defending the drones. That means real people were expected to place their necks on the lines to protect the people-less mobile. It had a camera, and the leaders wanted that footage you see…and unlike the recent third world engagements, they had anti-aircraft capabilities that could really reach out and touch you.

    My husband worked as a private contractor drone pilot for a few months (also an instructor for a short while). Most pilots would much, much rather be in the cockpit. I’ve known pilots to go to Afghanistan for a year with the Marines in some awfully dangerous locations just for the promise to get back into a cockpit rather than having to fly a drone. It isn’t fun, it’s actually awfully difficult to keep situational awareness looking through a soda straw, and the hours are relentless and exhausting. From what I’ve heard, the guys on the ground with their collective @sses on the line do love them, for good reason…they’ve saved their bacon on numerous occasions.


  13. A. July 27, 2013 at 20:44 #

    I like hand to hand combat. Let’s remove all projectile weapons from the equation, entirely, and perform war as we did for tens of thousands of years. If your convictions are strong enough to snuff a life, you should at least honor your enemy enough to smell their spilling entrails.

    Hmm… I am not sure if this preference comes from extreme inner violence or pacifism. Maybe I am just old fashioned…


  14. Sherlock July 27, 2013 at 20:45 #

    That is very, very, very, very, very true. The number of casualites, both military and civilian, has gone down by an incredible rate in this century. The death rates US soldiers experience now is tiny compared to previous wars. And, as you say, THAT is why it has become appealing. You can expect not to die instead of say have odds of 20% or 50% etc of dying.


  15. Aye. July 27, 2013 at 21:00 #

    Incidentally, I feel more or less the same way about meat. If you think you deserve to eat chicken, alright, then, raise some and get to chopping.


  16. Misguided Child July 27, 2013 at 21:13 #

    Pilots want to be in the cockpit. Two Air Force F-16 pilots formed a band called Dos Gringos. Very funny songs. One of their songs is called Predator Eulogy. It talks about how they hope they don’t end up losing there F-16 and end up flying a drone. This was written after an Iraqi MiG-25 shot down a Predator performing reconnaissance over the no fly zone in Iraq on December 23, 2002.

    Semper Fidelis


  17. Liz July 27, 2013 at 21:23 #

    I love Dos Gringos! 🙂


  18. Liz July 27, 2013 at 21:45 #

    Attila the Hun would last about 5 seconds on today’s battlefield, armed only with his old equipment.

    But hypothetically, if we truly want to perform war “as we did for tens of thousands of years” (let’s say hundreds of years…before agriculture there weren’t any wars to speak of really, with agriculture came property and the concept of ownership and then came the stealing of property, but that’s another subject)…it was a pretty up close and personal back then. Hypothetical Attila would come to town, start beating nails into the heads of children until the parents cried uncle. Then they’d often kill all the males anyway, take the women, burn what was left.
    Gengis Khan had a particularly interesting tactic…he’d set up tents. the first day White, the next Red, the next Black. If the city surrendered to the red tent, he’d come in and loot and pillage…but not slaughter the inhabitants. By the second day of the red tent, if the village surrendered, he’d kill all the males. The black tent was a signal that everyone in the village was going to be slaughtered.


  19. Spaniard July 27, 2013 at 22:05 #

    I do not give a shit about Syrian government.
    I just say that the so called “Rebel Army” is just a bunch of Latin american mercenaries. And the Syrian Orthodox Church supports El Assad. I am Catholic, so I feel concerned about the Christians in Near East.


  20. PossiblyMaybe July 27, 2013 at 22:50 #

    I’d always thought that people hated drones so much was because of how the US uses them. Sending the drones to perform air strikes all over the world, in countries where they’re not at war, to blow up whatever and whom ever they want, because “terrorism”, and things like the double tap, where they wait around after the inital attack and fire on anyone that comes to the aid of those attacked because they may be “terrorists” too.


  21. judgybitch July 27, 2013 at 22:53 #

    Even if that were true, why should women hate them more than men?


  22. Exfernal July 27, 2013 at 23:45 #

    It isn’t fun, it’s actually awfully difficult to keep situational awareness looking through a soda straw, and the hours are relentless and exhausting.

    Hmm, so is it only a problem of not enough cameras installed? From the operator’s perspective, a multi-monitor display set is not very difficult to arrange. And for the hours, there is a possibility to change operators on the fly, unlike with actual single-pilot aircrafts.

    Several easy counterarguments in favor of drones:

    A pilotless drone is not restricted in its movement by physiological limitations of the pilot.

    Human body (even wearing the anti-g suit) is by wide margin more fragile than composite materials used in modern “war-ware” equipment.

    Reaction time and 3D battlefield coordination worsen significantly under dogfight conditions, when the blood flow inside the brain is affected by rapidly and erratically changing g-forces.

    The drone has also smaller visual profile without the cockpit and its resident.

    In short: the drone is a faster, more maneuverable and smaller target.


  23. Zorro July 27, 2013 at 23:57 #

    F*ck, but you give me raging wood!


  24. Liz July 28, 2013 at 00:43 #

    At present g forces aren’t really a problem that is fixed by drones. We don’t have drone fighters yet, or anything close. You’d be amazed how many crash just trying to land.


  25. Liz July 28, 2013 at 00:46 #

    Just to add: I’m not a naysayer about drones. I think drones are the future, just adding some perspective. They haven’t even faced a nation with significant anti-aircraft capability. (Pakistan does have anti-aircraft capability but they didn’t target our drones…in point of fact, our drones took off out of Pakistani airspace until quite recently).


  26. Richard Blaine July 28, 2013 at 01:34 #

    In War, drones will never replace the grunt on ground. If you want to “win” it takes that personal “in your face” touch.

    Drones used as tools for air support, battlefield surveillance, and target interdiction are fine. Drones as a tool of assassination are useful in some situations but should generally be avoided, it’s not always effective and tends to have too much collateral damage.

    I think the problem with the article is it fails to bring any light to the motivations for disapproval. I suspect there may be some fear that removing the treat of death from the solder will result in more war. I think it will result in more assassinations. I doubt it will have an effect on the number of and reasons for going to war. From my experience women and liberals (in general – hmm is that redundant?) have steep in the idea that “violence never solves anything.” Which as near as I can tell was coined by and perpetuated by people who suck at violence. Virtually every major decision in human history was decided though violence.

    In today’s world – war is really more of a tool of the policy of distraction – Wow look at that we’re at war and our boys are dying – isn’t that awful – economy? what economy, scandals? what scandals – look at the WAR stupid.) There is always a need to frame the issue as something men can be made to care about. My personal experience is that, many women don’t care enough about anything to put themselves at risk.

    re: Syria. Getting involved in that mess would be incredibly stupid. You have the choice of supporting a despot on one hand and terrorists on the other. There is no WIN in that conflict. This is simply a case of those who risk nothing pushing for those who risk everything to go “Do Something” because it makes them feel better, and Obama hoping to distract everyone from his monumental screw-ups. If they attacked Israel – then I might think differently. But I really don’t care if a bunch of Muslims want to kill each other instead of us for a change.

    In the case of the author – if he doesn’t see it could be his own life that is saved it’s most likely because he is the type of person who would never sign up to go to war.

    In terms of going back to basics – don’t bother we’ve proven through out history that we have no problem hacking each other to bits. If you goal is to eliminate war, simply make the people who make the decisions walk point. I doubt you’ll find very many Senators voting to go to war in Syria if they were going to get assigned to walk point in every front line company. ( I don’t actually recommend this approach, as it wouldn’t take very long for our enemies to realize they had a free shot.)


  27. Exfernal July 28, 2013 at 01:35 #

    The future will be interesting indeed. Well, there is the problem with questionable legitimacy of their use on neutral ground…


  28. Ashlyn July 28, 2013 at 07:11 #

    Is it really so far-fetched that women are genuinely more violence-averse than men? On average we are smaller and lighter, with less muscle mass. If our side loses, we can expect to suffer plenty. If we win… well, for most of human history (and still in some pockets of the world), men could win status, prizes, and even women in the high-stakes, high-reward game of warfare. Women’s gains from a victory were more diffuse and indirect.

    Maybe women’s innate cost-benefit gauge for violent conflict is aligned slightly differently than men’s. This doesn’t require us to believe that women are “sweeter and kinder”; it’s still a matter of self-interest.

    Men (on average, as a group) are willing to have sex under a wider range of circumstances than women are. Maybe they’ll also have a fight under a wider range of circumstances.


  29. Spaniard July 28, 2013 at 10:57 #

    Probaly women are very sadistic and they love men from homeland to be killed in combat. They can cheat with the male who remains at home. If the war is lost, will come the enemy soldiers and rape them massivly, and, probably, that sounds like party.


  30. Spaniard July 28, 2013 at 11:12 #

    I agree with most of your comment.
    But Syria is not about muslims killing ech other. Syria is about Latin American mercenaries killing Syrian muslims and Christian muslims. Who is behind this Latin American mercenaries, I do not know.
    By the way, Syria is a secular State. Syrian never performed acts of terrorism in Europe neither USA.


  31. Liz July 28, 2013 at 11:48 #

    “Syria is about Latin American mercenaries killing Syrian muslims and Christian muslims.”

    That is quite a claim. So the laundry list of rebel Muslim groups piling into Syria to oppose Assad and bringing weapons are a rouse? What about the HUGE Syrian National Coalition? How about every Muslim government that has made public statements against the regime…what about the recent UN talks with rebel leaders? Are they from Latin America….didn’t know Najib Ghadbian, Ahmed al-Jarba were Latin American names? Sure are a lot of staged photos in existence with a lot of Muslims battling against the government and holding faux weapons!


  32. Liz July 28, 2013 at 12:36 #

    The use of drones actually reduces the probability of collateral damage/mistakes. Less ‘fog of war’ effect, greater likelihood for calm, cool and collected thinking….not the same when one is getting shot at.

    Anyone who disagrees should try doing something that requires a great deal of concentration and thought, while being shot at.

    Most people don’t realize that war lawyers are a fundamental part of the process when assessing whether or not the laws of armed conflict determine a target is justified and passes the principle of proportionality test (true for fighters, bombers, ect, not only drones…mission planners for all bombing campaigns have those war lawyers at the planning table)


  33. Nergal July 28, 2013 at 13:08 #

    I’m not a Christian,but I am against anybody Obama is for, and I’d much rather have Putin as President than Obama.

    I hope your Russian contacts realize the Cold War is pretty much water under the bridge over here. Very few Americans want a conflict with Putin’s Russia,I can’t think of a single American interest that it would serve.

    You can tell your Russian contacts that If Putin wants to take Obama out behind the woodshed and slap him around, I’m pretty sure even Obama’s Secret Service would look the other way for a while. A whole lot of us hate the guy, but the people closest to him probably hate him most of all.

    Putin doesn’t have to put up with any of Obama’s shit,he didn’t get HIS job through any sort of racial quota.


  34. patriarchal landmine July 28, 2013 at 13:50 #

    my question is: why are civilians even at risk in a warzone? usually, they tend to flee or be forcibly evacuated from the area before fighting starts.

    it’s the nature of the war on terror. terrorist want to involve as many dead non combatants as possible.
    I also wonder if perhaps women would feel more comfortable with drone strikes if the potential targets were their boyfriends and husbands who refused to give them money to go shopping. look at any realistic domestic violence accounts for proof that women really don’t concern themselves with who the target of violence is.


  35. Spaniard July 28, 2013 at 13:56 #

    I think Putin prefers Democrats in the White House. Maybe with a Republican goverment we would have an invassion of Iran already.


  36. Spaniard July 28, 2013 at 14:01 #

    Sorry, I meant: “Syrian muslims and Syrian Christians”.


  37. Liz July 28, 2013 at 14:05 #

    “why are civilians even at risk in a warzone? usually, they tend to flee or be forcibly evacuated from the area before fighting starts.

    it’s the nature of the war on terror. terrorist want to involve as many dead non combatants as possible.”

    True, but it is also a tactic used by dictatorial regimes, guerrilla forces, ect. Saddam, for instance, placed his anti-aircraft systems next to schools, hospitals, busy highways. This tactic was also used, to some extent, during the Kosovo and Bosnian campaigns.


  38. Marlo Rocci July 28, 2013 at 14:09 #

    I find it interesting that the hand that rocks the cradle now is in the crosshairs of the drone. These terrorists we’re trying to kill didn’t just pop out of the ether. They were raised by women who influenced the men they became. The men they raised to die on their behalf can no longer protect them. Maybe now they’ll stop trying to teach their little boys how wonderful it is to die in jihad.


  39. Liz July 28, 2013 at 14:17 #

    The percentage of soldiers who qualify for disability has never been higher, however. It isn’t all PTSD. Body armor, along with modern medicine, has enabled a lot of people who would have died in the past to live, but in many cases it’s a very diminished life.


  40. Ashlyn July 28, 2013 at 23:02 #

    I’ve heard mothers blamed for the fact that their children turned out gay/sociopathic/autistic/commitment-phobic/prone to allergies, but I’ve never heard them blamed for raising their kids to be terrorists. Most radicals tend to become attracted to Islamist ideology in their young adulthood, influenced primarily by male religious leaders and their male peers.

    Also, the idea that women as war casualties is a new thing is just plain strange. There was never a magical time when civilians went about untroubled while men of fighting age did all the suffering. Conquering armies do not generally greet their conquests with flowers for the ladies. The capture of women was an explicit war aim of many pre-state and early state societies, and to this day rape and other atrocities are common features of conflict zones. Women die just as bloodily and messily as men do when someone sets off a bomb on a bus.


  41. Ashlyn July 28, 2013 at 23:07 #

    Maybe women really do have a greater distaste for violence than men do. Not across the board, but maybe just a narrower range of circumstances under which they think violence is a good plan?


  42. judgybitch July 28, 2013 at 23:09 #


    So much ignorance in this comment, it’s mind boggling.

    Have you read any history, ever?!?


  43. judgybitch July 28, 2013 at 23:10 #





  44. judgybitch July 28, 2013 at 23:17 #

    Also, your name is properly spelled AISLING

    Let me guess – single mother named you?


  45. Take Back Your Face! July 29, 2013 at 04:32 #

    “Not sure if guys are thinking about casualties, the drone is just the best weapon, though I agree that women are probably more opposed since drones can kill soldiers’ families, while we generally think of airstrikes as targeting soldiers in the field.”


    I’m anti-war but the only type of combat I can get behind is direct, face-to-face between combatants. There is honor in that.

    There is no honor in drones, especially not in drones that kill civilians.


  46. Take Back Your Face! July 29, 2013 at 04:33 #

    Like I said above, face-to-face battle between combatants is the only honorable way to fight.


  47. Take Back Your Face! July 29, 2013 at 04:35 #

    What was inaccurate or ignorant about the following, JB?

    “Also, the idea that women as war casualties is a new thing is just plain strange. There was never a magical time when civilians went about untroubled while men of fighting age did all the suffering. Conquering armies do not generally greet their conquests with flowers for the ladies. The capture of women was an explicit war aim of many pre-state and early state societies, and to this day rape and other atrocities are common features of conflict zones. Women die just as bloodily and messily as men do when someone sets off a bomb on a bus.”


  48. Ashlyn July 29, 2013 at 05:53 #



  49. princesspixiepointless July 29, 2013 at 08:16 #

    Women that are raped and impregnated by the enemy are often exiled from their villages.


  50. Spaniard July 29, 2013 at 10:11 #

    Judgybitch, yo have an issue with Miss Ashlyn.

    What was the bombing of Irak? It was not terrorism? Heavily supported by my former Prime MinisterJose Maria Aznar. A mister who is consider by milions of my countrymen like a psycho with inferiority complex. And he goes to church every sunday and takes the Holy Bread. With all that hundresd of thousends of deaths over his conscience. Maybe Aznar is fanatic Christian who loves to kill muslims.


  51. Spaniard July 29, 2013 at 11:48 #

    Anyway, has anybody seen Syrian rebel soldiers there?
    I think there are some videos and audios where this “Syrian” rebels speak Spanish with latin american accent.


  52. Liz July 29, 2013 at 12:39 #

    This has to be the most astounded conspiracy theory I have ever heard. The Syrian Muslim brotherhood itself is a part of the rebel alliance. The Syrian rebel leaders recently spoke at the UN. The UN itself doesn’t seem to “realize” the “entire rebel alliance is made of Latin American mercs.”

    Tens of thousands have died and you believe only Latin Americans are in the government opposition. Assad has brought in Iranian fights, and Iranian proxies to aid in the fight (and some North Koreans are there too, ostensibly in a ‘consultation’ capacity). It is a civil war. Not long ago, chemical weapons were used by one side and Assad blamed the rebels. THe UN believes it was Assad. Note he did not blame Latin America or Latin Americans specifically….I’d think he’d ask the UN to help get those pesky Latin American mercs out if that were the case, don’t you? Wonder where they would have obtained that chemical weapons supply, pretty good trick carrying that stuff all the way over…

    Do you think Libya was the result of Latin American mercs too? Tunisia? Egypt? There are plenty of reasonably reputable foreign policy news sources to choose from, and not one of them would support your assertion here. Hell, just read Al Jazeera, and it will tell you (or do you think Al Jazeera is a Latin American puppet/stooge too?


  53. Liz July 29, 2013 at 12:55 #

    I know I’m wasting bandwidth and breath here, but when UNSC resolution 1441 passed unanimously; the resolution stated that Iraq had failed to comply with the stack of resolutions requiring it to demonstrably divest itself of NBC weapons, stockpiles, delivery systems and development progams for either, and that it had ONE last chance to co-operate “Immediately, Unconditionally and Actively” with Unmovic and IAEA lest it be confronted with “serious consequences.”

    What do you believe that meant, exactly? Serious consequences are not generally legal-speak for “or else we’ll send more inspectors so that you can stonewall them as well.”


  54. Spaniard July 29, 2013 at 13:41 #

    Lybia yes. latin american mercs.
    Tunisia and Egypt were spontaneous.


  55. Spaniard July 29, 2013 at 13:51 #

    As far a s I remember, the invasion of Irak was consider “ilegal” by the UN. And, as far as I remeber, Irak was cooperating.
    Anyway… you have to destroy the Garden of Eden, according to the Book of Genesis, just to kill one bad guy?
    Irak had nothing at all to do with Islamic terror. Irak was a secular State with an important presence of Christians in the government.
    Of course, no massive destructioon weapons. Maybe the shoe of that journalist. Probably stinked so much.


  56. Liz July 29, 2013 at 14:00 #

    So, it would appear that everywhere Russia has a vested interest, Latin American mercs are foiling their plans.
    Got it.


  57. SuperAwesomeGuy July 29, 2013 at 14:43 #

    What does that actually have to do with anything? lol we sure like ad hominem around here.


  58. Spaniard July 29, 2013 at 14:53 #

    A lot of Russian blood in German population. Since 1945.


  59. Spaniard July 29, 2013 at 14:54 #

    More or less.


  60. SuperAwesomeGuy July 29, 2013 at 14:56 #

    You should look into the support (in cash) that Saddam gave to the mothers of palestinian suicide bombers. There is footage of a mother holding up her son who looked like he was maybe 3, pointing as if to say he’s next.


  61. Spaniard July 29, 2013 at 15:08 #

    Ok, let’s send a commando and kill Saddam, like they did with Ben laden. Not killing million innocent people.


  62. Liz July 29, 2013 at 15:33 #

    Guess the Hutus in Rwanda were a really honorable bunch then.


  63. Liz July 29, 2013 at 16:19 #

    The Srebrenica massacre was some really honorable shite too. The Dutch, essentially used as human shields in that case, were also honorable (along with the UN) as they confiscated weapons of every person entering the UN “safe haven” area and were then honorably faced by their combatants, and slaughtered en masse “honorably”.

    After slaughtering the occupants, NATO then behaved “dishonorably” by holding them to account. In Somalia, same thing….warlords were completely honorable taking UN humanitarian food aid until we dishonorably attempted to distribute that food aid to those in need.


  64. Liz July 29, 2013 at 16:51 #

    The UN had a tool at its disposal if it wanted to declare the Iraq invasion illegal. It was never used. OTOH, it was used in the case of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It was adopted in 1950 (perhaps it was in response to the French, British, and Israeli attack on Egypt during the Suez canal crisis).
    It’s called the Acheson Resolution. In the case of the USSR, the UN demanded “the immediate, unconditional and total withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan”….though it was obvious that the USSR would veto it as a member of the UNSC, the 14-1 vote sent a message that “the international community” condemned the invasion. No such proposal was introduced by any of the countries opposing the US-led invasion of Iraq.

    I’m not going to argue that the invasion of Iraq was a fine idea. I’m one of the few who argued strongly against it at the time, but then it was on deaf ears.


  65. Liz July 29, 2013 at 17:14 #

    “(perhaps it was in response to the French, British, and Israeli attack on Egypt during the Suez canal crisis).”

    Take that back…the Suez canal crisis happened later that decade, so it couldn’t have been that.


  66. Liz July 29, 2013 at 17:15 #

    If we’d had Robocop, or Jedi knights, or the Terminator that would have been a good plan.


  67. Copyleft July 29, 2013 at 19:18 #

    To me, it’s striking that this obvious answer never even occurred to the writer of the original article. But then, perhaps the reasearchers never bothered asking men for their reasons; why would they?


  68. Goober July 30, 2013 at 00:16 #

    Wrong – the only honorable way to fight is in self-defense of yourself or another innocent. It doesn’t matter how you do it.

    The most advisable method of fighting is the method by which you put yourself at the least amount of risk while increasing your chances of success to the highest level possible – in other words, reduce the risk to yourself to a minimum, and increase the risk to your opponent to the maximum. This is just smart. There is no honor in violence, just utility – so be utilitarian about it.

    Drone warfare does exactly this, so I think it is a great idea.

    That being said, I hate how it is being used, because I hardly think that anything that we are doing at this point could be considered “self-defense.”


  69. Richard Blaine July 30, 2013 at 00:55 #


    I was unclear – in using drones as a tool for assassination (or interdicting high value targets if assassination is to politically incorrect) I think there is considerably more potential for collateral damage from a missile than say a .338 Lapua Magnum CSRSP/PSR at 1500 yards. I guess I’m really suggesting that drones are excellent tools, but not always the best – some times, it’s the only good option. RE fog of war – agree 100%. When you send armed men into conflict shit is going to get broken even if no one wanted it to.

    Spaniard – stop trolling – you’re lacking facts and history – Besides, Liz is kicking your ass.


  70. Spaniard July 30, 2013 at 14:06 #

    Agree 100%.


  71. Anaphylactic July 31, 2013 at 16:28 #

    gonna play devil’s advocate here:
    Most men (as a young man, I speak mostly for these) know wars just from videogames and movies and it seems kinda cool… Also – drones? Sounds like killer robots – which is simply MEGACOOL… And to fly the drone you don’t need to do as extensive training as the real pilots, which means I could maybe play Battlefield 3 in real life – AWESOME!


  72. Liz July 31, 2013 at 18:10 #

    I just remembered this video, reading your post.
    I just LOVE this baby! 🙂


  73. Take Back Your Face! July 31, 2013 at 21:34 #

    As long as no civilians were killed, why not?

    The only people that should be fighting and dying in a “war” are those who support that war and are actual enlisted soldiers in it.

    The rest of us should be left alone.


  74. Take Back Your Face! July 31, 2013 at 21:36 #

    “There is no honor in violence, just utility – so be utilitarian about it.”

    The utilitarian way to go about it is to have only those enlisted soldiers who support the war fight and die in it. The rest of us should be left alone.


  75. Liz August 1, 2013 at 03:05 #

    Why the need for bloodshed whatsoever?
    Ever thought about dueling banjos? Air guitar? Or how about some really rad fan fiction competitions?

    OMG! OMG! I think I just solved the problem of world peace. Hurray for me.


  76. Exfernal August 1, 2013 at 09:55 #

    I’m for “economical” application of violence. A minimal yet sufficient use of force for achieving planned goals.


  77. Exfernal August 1, 2013 at 10:01 #

    Of course, most of the time no violence is necessary whatsoever.


  78. Liz August 1, 2013 at 12:41 #

    -““Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. ”


  79. Exfernal August 1, 2013 at 13:48 #

    What decided the winner of the cold war? Superior economy – the most efficient allocation of resources – NOT superior numbers, weaponry, morale, public relations nor ideals. USSR and Eastern Bloc went bankrupt trying to keep up with the arms race. Numerous examples of military technology from the WW II found civilian uses in the period that followed it. Inability to take advantage of the technological advance spurred by war effort was one of major drawbacks of central-planning-centered economy.


  80. Liz August 1, 2013 at 16:00 #

    DARPA (Defense advanced research project agency) is always and interesting topic. They have a very efficient system, which has been invaluable to private industry for technological innovations. I’m not aware of any other government agency that comes anywhere close to that level of efficiency.


  81. Exfernal August 1, 2013 at 16:26 #

    Even the Internet has grown from a military project.


  82. Liz August 1, 2013 at 16:39 #

    Yes, that’s DARPA, formerly known as ARPA. They’re the reason we have GPS, too. And a whole, whole lot more.


  83. Exfernal August 1, 2013 at 16:51 #

    And many other inventions.


  84. Robert August 2, 2013 at 21:43 #

    On a personal level I can understand the desire to be out of harms way when fighting a war. However, on a societal level is it good to make waging war so easy? Will we feel the same way when our government turns the drones on us during a civil disturbance of some kind?


  85. Liz August 3, 2013 at 13:37 #

    It isn’t the pilot in the cockpit, risking his life, who acts as a deterent to war. With only roughly one person in 300 serving in the military (and dropping, the army is set to lose 10 brigades in the next 4 years, a drop in the tens of thousands of troops), the public at large is already incredibly removed from the policy decisions of those they elect.

    I tried to post a link earlier but my post didn’t go through…perhaps it was the length of the quote or the link. This time I won’t post a link, but the following is from an article entitled, “How to lose a war” (zenpundit) Highly recommend reading.

    ““At the outset of the war, ask no sacrifice of the people because that will give them too much of a stake in a victorious outcome and raise expectations about your own leadership. Neither raise their taxes (at least not for the war at any rate) nor conscript their sons. Do not even issue a national call to the colors for volunteers, instead encourage people to be at ease and go about their business. Supplement your small regular army that increasingly feels itself a caste apart with highly paid mercenaries and foreign paramilitaries while neglecting the needs of your own troops. Speaking of the troops, always lavish the soldiers with superficial public pieties about service, sacrifice and heroism, but cynically break faith when it comes to your obligations to look after their interests.


    “Keeping in mind #1, the point of war policy is to generate a set of politically compelling slogans that remain ill-defined enough to serve as an umbrella under which many contradictory and competing agendas can cohabit until some of them can be opportunistically realized. These agendas may not be realistic – in fact, it is easier to put them forward as attractive fantasies for the public if your administration is unburdened with officials with genuine expertise in warfare, economics, foreign cultures, history and other inconvenient information that the media and the political opposition will only be too happy to seize upon. The more abstractly and arcanely expressed the policy the harder it is for critics to demolish and the better it is for losing wars. “Unconditional surrender” for example, is bad because it is too concrete and easily evaluated – either an enemy is totally defeated and in your power or he is not. “Make the world safe for Democracy” by contrast, is better as it is more ill-defined and subjective, permitting a larger range of politically tolerable bad outcomes. ”Responsibility to Protect” and “War on Terror” are even more abstract, being essentially unlimited, open-ended, process goals that do not have any point of “victory” whatsoever and can thus not only potentially bring about not only losing wars but very long ones.”


  86. Exfernal August 6, 2013 at 16:01 #

    I’ve heard mothers blamed for the fact that their children turned out gay/sociopathic/autistic/commitment-phobic/prone to allergies […]

    Are you trying to insinuate that literally thousands of articles like this one (I’m not going to link any more, b/c it’s tedious) are an instrument of patriarchal oppression? Hah, a good one. You should know that willful ignorance does not absolve of responsibility. Who I am trying to convince, and, more importantly, why?

    There was a time when the default answers for all unexplained occurrences were: “the God’s will”, “fate”, “karna”. Has it now to be the times when the default answer for all unfavorable occurrences would be “because Patriarchy”? Causal chains that carry over generations – not exclusively through motherhood – (may it be genetic, epigenetic, environmental, and/or cultural) are not so uncommon, you know…


  87. Exfernal August 6, 2013 at 20:44 #

    “karna” -> “karma”
    “Who I am trying…” – > “Who am I trying…”

    Excuse oversights to my spelling and grammar. English is my third language and I have difficulty with previewing & proofreading before posting.


  88. matt August 12, 2013 at 19:07 #

    “women are the primary victims of war”.
    hillary clinton-sounds like you 2 are in agreement. I love gynocentrism (sarcasm).


  89. westcoastwildlife August 31, 2013 at 05:34 #

    Would you bring this discussion up with a woman you respected, in real life – not internet, or is that beyond comprehension? Women are already born into war, they live in the dirt and the mud, feeling far more of the grime. Men are the generals, who have vision and lead because of their detachment, but the best leaders are determined amongst yourselves. So have fun with the sperm wars, with respect to who actually fights for life: Women.



  1. Lightning Round – 2013/07/31 | Free Northerner - July 31, 2013

    […] JB analyzes the drone study. […]


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