By Simon Bennett
This paper views America’s ‘drones-first’ counter-insurgency effort in Pakistan through the lens of Merton’s theory of the unintended consequences of purposive action. It also references Beck’s Risk Society thesis, America’s Revolution in Military Affairs doctrine, Toft’s theory of isomorphic learning, Langer’s theory of mindfulness, Highly Reliable Organisations theory and the social construction of technology (SCOT) argument. With reference to Merton’s theory, the CIA-directed armed Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) campaign has manifest functions, latent functions and latent dysfunctions. Measured against numbers of suspected insurgents killed, the campaign can be judged a success. Measured against the level of collateral damage or the state of US-Pakistan relations, the campaign can be judged a failure. Values determine the choice of metrics. Because RPV operations eliminate risk to American service personnel, and because this is popular with both US citizens and politicians, collateral damage (the killing of civilians) is not considered a policy-changing dysfunction. However, the latent dysfunctions of America’s drones-first policy may be so great as to undermine that policy’s intended manifest function – to make a net contribution to the War on Terror. In Vietnam the latent dysfunctions of Westmoreland’s attritional war undermined America’s policy of containment. Vietnam holds a lesson for the Obama administration.
Keywords: RPV; War on Terror; CIA; Pakistan; Merton; Dysfunctions.
In an increasingly risk-conscious world (Beck, 1992, 2009; Waters, 1995) politicians attempt to reduce risk to a level deemed acceptable by their electors. This dynamic functions in every sphere, from energy generation to war-fighting. In a Risk Society, legitimacy lies in the support of the body politic. As shown by western powers’ reluctance to commit ground troops to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria (Joshi, 2014), public support is seen by politicians as a precondition for military operations – especially those undertaken not in defence of the homeland, but to promote a foreign policy objective. Regarding military action, existential threats have greater legitimatory power than non-existential threats: The American public’s perception that the intermediate-range nuclear missiles deployed to Cuba by the Soviet Union posed an existential threat to the continental United States helped legitimise Kennedy’s 1962 blockade. The issue was less clear-cut in the case of the communist insurgency in South East Asia. The growing belief that the spread of communism in that region did not pose an existential threat to the continental United States gradually undermined the American public’s support for military action. Westmoreland comments: “[O]ur national interest was not at stake …. Many in the American public thought that our participation was … not necessarily in the national interest” (2008: 340).
Most Cold War conflicts were spatially, temporally and politically constrained (Osgood, 1994). Despite its policy of containment, the United States was never comfortable with military adventures (Osgood, 1994). Since the exertions of the Second World War, America’s political class has found it increasingly difficult to win support for military action (Deri, 2012). The Vietnam War proved a watershed. Vietnam was the first war to be fought in the media spotlight. Images of body-bags being unloaded from military transports and of setbacks like the 1968 Tet Offensive were beamed into American homes (Mandelbaum, 1982; Messenger, 1995; Isaacs and Downing, 1998; Cerny, 2010). Losses shaped the public mood:
The USA entering the 1970s seemed a nation in turmoil and shock. The Vietnam war was an economic drain, and divided the country internally (Davies, 1995: 2).
It took a long time before America became united again. There was a lot of anger … (2008: 482).
Later reversals like the Carter administration’s 1980 failure to rescue the fifty-two Americans taken hostage by Iranian students and the Clinton administration’s withdrawal from the UN mission to Somalia following the loss of eighteen elite soldiers in the ‘Battle of Mogadishu’ provided further justification for new thinking.
According to Shaw (2005), today’s wars must be fought in such a way that they deliver both military success and public approval. ‘Risk-transfer war’ means risks are displaced to foreign soil (for example, many of the risks associated with fighting the War on Terror have been transferred to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and the Yemen). By advocating a more technology-centred approach to warfighting (James and Kievit, 1995; Sloan, 2002; Scales, 2003; Davis, 2010), RMA supports risk-transfer. RMA synthesises “information superiority, dominant manoeuvre, precision engagement, full-dimensional protection and focused logistics” (Davis, 2010: 14). According to Metz and Kievit, RMA garners public support:
[A] force built around stand-off, precision weapons … would be more politically usable than a traditional force-projection military (1995: vii).
Given the risk-averse nature of Western constituents, the escalating cost of conventional war-fighting and the post–2007 economic downturn, governments unwilling to eschew foreign campaigns have adopted technologies that offer relatively risk-free and cost-effective capabilities (Hudson, Owens and Flannes, 2011; Alley, 2013). The age of the armed Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) has dawned (Alley, 2013).
Technologies like armed RPVs are an important component of the new war-fighting paradigm. Although vulnerable to conventional weapons, RPVs all but eliminate ‘home’ casualties thereby making it less likely that the public will turn on the political class (as it did in the United States over the Vietnam conflict (Davies, 1995)). Arms-length weapons systems like RPVs exemplify US General George S. Patton’s philosophy: “No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country” (cited in Appathurai, 2003).
However, while the accuracy of drone strikes has improved, non-combatants are still killed or injured (Hudson, Owens and Flannes, 2011; Boyle, 2013). In Pakistan, factors that induce collateral damage include: RPV strikes called up by unreliable informants (what is to stop someone with a grudge from using the CIA to eliminate an enemy?); insurgents living amongst non-combatants; poor quality video images; and the CIA’s use of ‘signature strikes’ that involve profiling the behaviour of suspected hostiles (Deri, 2012; Boyle, 2013). Boyle asserts that because signature strikes are based on profiling that is deficient in cultural awareness, they exemplify a general disregard amongst US personnel for the lives of non-combatants. Cloud claims that drone operators referred to all mature Pakistani men as “military-age males”, abbreviated by operators to ‘MAMs’ (Cloud, 2011). The MAM nomenclature may have primed operators’ perceptions. Speaking to the moral dimension of the CIA’s Pakistan campaign, Boyle concludes: “[S]tandards of proportionality have been eroded with drone warfare” (2013: 8). Alley claims that a lack of “reliable, on-the-ground human intelligence” has caused “the barrier of targeting certainty [to be] lowered” (2013: 9). Proportionality is an important moral principle in a State’s application of force, whether through a civilian police service or the military. There is little sense of proportionality in the use of force in authoritarian states (like Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Pol Pot’s Cambodia or Putin’s Russia).
It is claimed that RPV-incurred collateral damage has several consequences, including: the alienation of host-nation civilians from the War on Terror; recasting of terrorists as freedom-fighters; instigation of terrorist attacks on home territory (like the attempted 2010 Times Square bombing); undermining host nations’ local and national democratic institutions (because of their apparent inability to influence RPV policy); erosion of host nation cultural norms like weddings, tribal gatherings and communal burial ceremonies (because of the fear that any gathering is a potential CIA target); psychological distress (both acute and chronic) amongst those who live or work in the theatre of operation; and hostility to preventive medicine programmes (Hudson, Owens and Flannes, 2011; Pew Research Centre, 2011; Birch, Lee and Pierscionek, 2012; Deri, 2012; International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, Global Justice Clinic, 2012; Ahmed, 2013; Alley, 2013; Boyle, 2013; Foust, 2013).
Seen through the prism of Merton’s (1936) theory of unintended consequences, RPV operations in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Yemen have several latent dysfunctions or unintended negative consequences (in Hudson, Owen and Flannes’s (2011: 123) argot, “blowback”). The question for US policy-makers is whether these unintended negative consequences are so great that they negate the benefits that accrue from RPV operations (e.g. reducing the number of soldiers who return home in body-bags).
Merton (1936) claims that purposive social action (“action which involves motives”) can have both intended (expected) and unintended (unexpected) consequences (which he terms ‘functions’). Manifest functions are the consequences we expect. Latent functions are those we do not. There are two types of latent function: those that support the original intent, and those that work against it. Because they undermine the intent, ‘latent dysfunctions’ are the worst type of unanticipated consequence. Examples of Merton’s ‘law of unintended consequences’ abound: exhortations to eat sensibly, watch your weight and exercise have both manifest and latent functions. For some they improve health, self-esteem and longevity (manifest functions). For others they undermine health by causing eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. Viewed through Merton’s prism, anorexia is a latent dysfunction of well-intentioned advice.
Five factors influence the chances of an action having unintended consequences:
The more imperfect the foreknowledge, the greater the chance of an action having unintended consequences.
The more wayward the initial assumptions, the greater the chance of an action having unintended consequences.
The more myopic the actors (the more closed to contra-indications and susceptible to groupthink), the more likely an action will have unintended consequences.
The more zealous the actors, the greater the chance of an action having unintended consequences.
The more predisposed the actors, the greater the chance of an action having unintended consequences. Sveiby et al. (2009: 4) illustrate how predisposition can produce unintended consequences: “[B]ecause organisational change initiatives have failed in the past, [subsequent] change initiatives are met with cynicism by employees, thereby further increasing the risk of failure”. Predisposition may render action ineffectual (the unintended consequence).
Examples taken from the realm of social policy (health campaigns, for example) support Merton’s hypothesis that purposive social action can have both intended and unintended consequences (some of which are functional, others not). But what of the military domain? What does Merton’s hypothesis tell us about innovations like RPVs? Do RVP operations have both intended and unintended consequences (functional and dysfunctional)? If so, what impacts might there be on mission aims and objectives?
Like air-launched cruise missiles, RPVs are ‘arms-length’ weapons systems that mitigate the risks inherent in armed conflict. In part, the development of RPVs like Predator and Reaper reflect a shift in American military tactics brought about by a change in American public opinion. Obey (cited in Hamilton, 2012: 687) claims that post-Somalia America wanted "zero degree of involvement and zero degree of risk and zero degree of pain and confusion”. America’s doubts about ‘boots on the ground’ military expeditions were reified in drone technology and doctrine. Seen through the Social Construction of Technology (SCOT) lens (MacKenzie and Wajcman, 1985; Latour, 1991; Bjiker, 1994; Pinch, 1996), the desire to sanitise conflict was reified (concretised) in the armed RPV. SCOT theorist Jameson (1995: 37) talks about “the ultimately determining instance” – the spur to action, the nub, the catalyst. The Somalia episode could be described as that for the armed RPV.
The number of nations possessing some type of RPV numbers seventy-five. The RPV market is lucrative. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation considers the RPV a force multiplier (Birch, Lee and Pierscionek, 2012). The clamour over RPVs conceals limitations, however.
Seen through Merton’s prism, the CIA-directed RPV counter-insurgency campaign in Pakistan has manifest functions, latent functions and, worryingly, latent dysfunctions.
According to Merton (1936, 1968), five factors determine the number and severity of latent dysfunctions: Ignorance; Error; Imperviousness; Dogma; Predisposition. The alienation of many Pakistanis from the War on Terror reflects US ignorance, error, imperviousness and dogma in the matter of its approach to counter-terrorism. By measuring the success of its Pakistan operation solely in terms of numbers of terrorists killed, the United States overlooks the possibility that its drones-first strategy may be strengthening rather than weakening the ranks of organisations like al-Qaeda and the TTP.
Wedded to the CIA’s secretive campaign, and content to measure success by counting corpses, the Obama administration has blinded itself to the possibility that its modus operandi may fatally undermine the War on Terror. Obama has made the same mistake Johnson did over Vietnam. Content to measure success by counting NVA and Viet Cong (VC) dead (Lewy, 1984; Isaacs and Downing, 1998; Bernhardt, 2008), Johnson and his generals failed to appreciate they were losing the war of hearts and minds. The Johnson administration’s ignorance, error, imperviousness and dogma blinded it to the Vietnam War’s latent dysfunction – specifically that it was increasingly seen as a war of imperial conquest rather than of liberation (Greene, 1967). Groupthink (Janis, 1972) may have played a part in the Johnson administration’s myopic Vietnam strategy (as it did the Kennedy administration’s support for the ill-starred 1961 Bay of Pigs counter-revolutionary insurgency).
In Vietnam, events like the My Lai massacre (in which 347 villagers were murdered by US troops (Sheehan, 1988)) served to alienate locals from the American cause. Lewy says: “It was difficult to convince villagers that the Americans had come as their protectors if in the process of liberating them … allied troops caused extensive harm” (1984: 7). According to Warnke (1994), the American public’s reaction to the massacre was muted.
In Pakistan (and Afghanistan) the killing of civilians in drone strikes serves to alienate locals from the War on Terror (Hudson, Owens and Flannes, 2011). The US appears to have no understanding of (or chooses to ignore) the cultural dimension of warfighting in a country like Pakistan. Specifically, it has no understanding of the tribal and other bonds that unite the people of Pakistan’s border regions, and no comprehension of what happens when close-knit communities are attacked by a foreign power. As demonstrated by the growth in membership of organisations like the TTP, wilful ignorance of cultural norms is counter-productive. In failing to re-appraise its drones-first counterterrorism policy in Pakistan the US demonstrates imperviousness and dogma. According to Merton (1936, 1968), these traits are likely to produce latent dysfunctions. In his 2013 analysis of the drones-first counterterrorism policy, Boyle mentions a number of latent dysfunctions (which he terms ‘second-order political effects’). Hudson, Owens and Flannes recast Boyle’s second-order political effects as ‘blowback’:
[W]e argue that drone warfare has created five distinct, yet overlapping, forms of blowback: (1) the purposeful retaliation against the United States, (2) the creation of new insurgents, referred to as the ‘accidental guerrilla’ syndrome, (3) the further complication of US strategic coordination and interests in … the Afghan/Pakistan … theatre, (4) the further destabilization of Pakistan and (5) the deterioration of the US-Pakistani relationship (Hudson, Owens and Flannes, 2011: 123).
The recruitment by ISIS of foreign jihadis may be considered partly a blowback phenomenon.
Perhaps the most interesting question is not why the Obama administration continues its counterproductive drones-first policy, but why has it failed to learn the lessons of Vietnam? The parallels between Obama’s dysfunctional drones-first policy and Johnson’s failed attritional war are obvious. Johnson sought to kill as many of the enemy as possible, regardless of the costs (Bernhardt, 2008). He continued the policy despite the contra-indications. For example:
a) Soldiers’ awareness that while they were killing NVA regulars in the hills in significant numbers, VC insurgents were taking military and political control of lowland hamlets (Lewy, 1984).
b) The 1968 Tet offensive that sowed panic throughout South Vietnam and disillusion at home (Karnow, 1994; Isaacs and Downing, 1998). The US Army was being outflanked even as Johnson and Westmoreland claimed the war was being won. Defeat in Vietnam challenged America’s hegemony (Ambrose, 1971; Hall and Jacques, 1989; Cooke, 2008).
Johnson’s dogged attachment to a simplistic attritional war served to undermine the South Vietnamese government’s pacification programme, designed to bring security and development to rural communities. By preventing the needs of rural communities from being met, Johnson’s war let the Viet Cong in by the back door:
Attrition offered a convenient way to measure success in the short run …. [but it] meant the underlying political issues of the war were overlooked … (Hunt, 1994: 341).
Because they lived with the consequences, US troops realised the Johnson-Westmoreland strategy could not work. One Marine Corps officer wrote:
The rationale that ceaseless US operations in the hills could keep the enemy from the people was an operational denial of the fact that in large measure the war was a revolution which started in the hamlets … the Viet Cong were already among the people when we went to the hills (West cited in Lewy, 1984: 6).
Obama has committed many of the same, or similar errors in relying on CIA-directed armed RPVs to prosecute the War on Terror in Pakistan. Toft’s (1992, 1997) theory of isomorphic learning suggests Obama and his generals could learn from Johnson and Westmoreland’s failure. Toft describes a person or organisation’s failure to translate lessons into action as passive learning. Active learning requires that lessons inform policy and action.
By using RPVs to reduce the human, political and financial risks of warfare, the United States has incurred significant costs (Hudson, Owens and Flannes, 2011). However, the USA’s new warfighting paradigm has created a set of unintended consequences that are undermining the War on Terror. Failure to manage the campaign’s latent dysfunctions could render the War on Terror an exercise in futility.
The CIA’s drone campaign offers several lessons for the Obama Administration and for the other nations prosecuting, or considering the prosecution of a conflict with armed RPVs:
Mindful militaries are more capable. Because Major Orde Wingate heeded the contra-indications of the British Army’s conventional war in Burma, he was able to formulate a strategy (reified in a volunteer, deep-penetration guerilla force called the Chindits) that challenged the Japanese. Wingate revelled in his open-mindedness and rejection of convention (Allen, 1984). Respected by his men and supported by Churchill, he personified mindfulness: “Wingate was a lateral thinker who questioned everything and everyone – especially his superiors” (Bennett, 2010: 5). Wingate “… changed the nature of jungle campaigning” (Allen, 1984: 148).
Our Mertonian dissection of the United States’s use of armed RPVs to prosecute the War on Terror inside Pakistan shows how US tactics have produced manifest functions (e.g. elimination of high-value targets) and latent dysfunctions (e.g. deaths of non-combatants and instability). We conclude that the drone campaign’s latent dysfunctions may be so severe as to undermine that policy’s intended manifest function – to make a net contribution to the War on Terror.
Latent dysfunctions can only be remedied if those directing purposive action are willing to listen and act. In our comparison case study of the Vietnam War, had Westmoreland heeded his officers’ scepticism (that is, had he practiced mindfulness) he might have been able to salvage a US$112 billion campaign that cost the lives of nearly 50,000 US soldiers (Lewy, 1984). Regarding the latent dysfunctions inherent in today’s CIA drones-first strategy, it would appear that the Obama administration believes that the negatives (collateral damage, vengefulness, de-legitimation of the government of Pakistan, diplomatic rifts, regional instability, etc.) are outweighed by the positives (e.g. the saving of US airmen and soldiers’ lives). As of August, 2014, there is no sign that President Obama will act to remedy the latent dysfunctions we have identified that are inherent in the drones-first strategy.
As to how the Pakistan mission is ultimately judged, the answer depends on the criteria applied. Measured against the number of alleged insurgents killed, or against the popularity of the policy with American voters, or, indeed, against induced advances in RPV technology, the mission can be judged a success. Measured against Pakistan’s support for the War on Terror, or countering the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, or improving America’s relations with the developing world, the answer is less clear-cut. Possibly it is trending towards the negative:
Drone attacks … deliver a politically satisfying short-term ‘bang for the buck’ for US constituencies ignorant of, and indifferent to those affected by drone warfare, or the phenomenon of blowback (Hudson, Owens and Flannes, 2011: 125).
About the author: Dr Simon Bennett directs the Civil Safety and Security Unit at the University of Leicester. He reads sociology with psychology. His interests include international relations, terrorism, actor-network theory and social theories of risk. His books include Human Error - by design? (Palgrave-Macmillan), Innovative Thinking in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management (Gower) and How Pilots Live (Peter Lang). He obtained his PhD from the Centre for Research into Innovation, Culture and Technology (CRICT) at Brunel University, where he studied under Professors Steve Woolgar and Alan Irwin.
Abé N (2012) The woes of an American drone operator. Spiegel Online. 14 December
Ahmed A S (2013) The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam. Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC
Ahmed D I (2013) Rethinking Anti-Drone Legal Strategies: Questioning Pakistani and Yemeni ‘consent’. Yale Journal of International Affairs, Summer: 1–11.
Ali W (2013) The Cost of our Drone War in Pakistan. http://bostonreview.net Accessed 10 October 2013
Allen L (1984) Burma: The Longest War. Dent, London
Alley R (2013) The Drone Debate: Sudden Bullet or Slow Boomerang? Victoria University of Wellington, Centre for Strategic Studies, Wellington
Ambrose S E (1971) Rise to Globalism. Penguin, New York
Anonymous (2013) Virtual Adrenaline Revisited. Remotely-piloted combat and one of its potential risks. The Combat Edge. June-August: 8–13
Appathurai J (2003) Book Review: Revolutionary Writing. http://www.nato.int/docu/review/2003/issue2/english/book.html Accessed 29 January 2014
Bainbridge L (1983) Ironies of Automation. Automatica. 19(6): 775–779.
Barnes J E (2010) Air Force works to instil ‘warrior culture’ in drone crews. Los Angeles Times. 29 March
Barnidge R P (2011) A Qualified Defence of American Drone Attacks in Northwest Pakistan Under International Humanitarian Law. Boston University International Law Journal. 30: 409–447
Beck U (1992) Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Sage, London
Beck U (2009) World at Risk. Polity Press, Cambridge
Becker J, Shane S (2012) Secret ‘kill list’ proves a test of Obama’s principles and will. New York Times, 29 May 2012
Bennett S A (2010) Human Factors for Maintenance Engineers and Others – A Prerequisite for Success. In Blockley R, Shyy W (eds) Encyclopaedia of Aerospace Engineering. Wiley, Chichester
Bennett S A (2013) Killing them softly. Will drone operators pull the trigger? Air International. October: 8–13
Bernhardt M (2008) The portable free-fire zone. In: Appy C G (ed) Vietnam. The Definitive Oral History, Told From All Sides. Ebury Press, New York
Birch M, Lee G, Pierscionek T (2012) Drones: The physical and psychological implications of a global theatre of war. Medact, London
Bjiker W (1994) Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs. Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, Cambridge MA
Boyle M J (2013) The costs and consequences of drone warfare. International Affairs. 89(1): 1–29
Braithwaite R (2011) Afgansty. The Russians in Afghanistan 1979–89. Profile Books, London
Callam A (2010) Drone Wars: Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. International Affairs Review. 18(3)
Cerny P G (2010) Globalisation and Statehood. In: Beeson M and Bisley N (eds) Issues in 21st Century World Politics. Palgrave-Macmillan, Basingstoke
Cloud, D S (2011) Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy. http://articles.latimes.com/print/2011/apr/10/world Accessed 29 December 2013.
Cooke A (2008) Reporting America. Allen Lane, New York
Dao J (2013) Drone Pilots Are Found to Get Stress Disorders Much as Those in Combat Do. The New York Times. 22 February
Davey M (2013) A Private Boom Amid Detroit’s Public Blight. http://www.nytimes.com Accessed 27 November 2013
Davis P K (2010) Military Transformation? Which Transformation and What Lies Ahead? RAND, National Security Research Division, Santa Monica, CA
Davies P J (1995) The end of the American century: the shape of the closing quarter. In: Davies P J (ed) An American Quarter Century. US Politics from Vietnam to Clinton. Manchester University Press, Manchester
Deri A R (2012) ‘Costless’ War: American and Pakistani Reactions to the US Drone War. Intersect. 5
Diab K (2014) The Caliphate Fantasy. The New York Times. 2 July
Foust J (2013) US Drones Make Peace With Pakistan Less Likely. http://www.theatlantic.com Accessed 10 October 2013
Foust J, Boyle AS (2012) The Strategic Context of Lethal Drones. A Framework for Discussion. American Security Project, Washington DC
Friedman T L and Mandelbaum M (2011) That Used To Be Us: What went wrong with America – and how it can come back. Little, Brown, New York
Fund for Peace (2013) The Failed States Index 2013. http://ffp.statesindex.org/rankings–2013-sortable Accessed 24 November 2013
Gitell S (2007) Spitting on Veterans. New York Sun. 6 February
Greene F (1967) Vietnam, Vietnam. Penguin, Harmondsworth
Grossman D (1998) Trained to Kill. http://www.killology.com. Accessed 28 April 2013.
Hall S, Jacques M (1989) New Times. Lawrence and Wishart, London
Hamilton N (2012) Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency. Random House, London
Health and Safety Laboratory (2011) High reliability organisations: A review of the literature. Health and Safety Laboratory, Buxton
Hersh S M (2004) Chain of Command. The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib. Allen Lane, London
Hudson L, Owens C S, Flannes M (2011) Drone Warfare: Blowback from the New American Way of War. Middle East Policy. 18(3): 122–132
Hunt R A (1994) Pacification and Attrition in Vietnam. In: Freedman L (ed) War. Oxford Readers, Oxford
International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School, Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law (2012) Living Under Drones. Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan. http://livingunderdrones.org. Accessed 17 November 2013
Isaacs J, Downing T (1998) Cold War. TransWorld, London
Jameson F (1995) Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Duke University Press, Durham
Janis I L (1972) Victims of Groupthink: a Psychological Study of Foreign-Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
Joshi S (2014) British Options in Iraq: Capabilities, Strategies and Risks. https://rusi.org. Accessed 13 September 2014
Kapoor D (2013) Instability in Pakistan. Journal of Defence Studies. 7(1): 5–8
Karnow S (1994) General Giap on Dien Bien Phu and Tet. In: Freedman L (ed) War. Oxford Readers, Oxford
Langer E J (1989) Mindfulness. Addison-Wesley, Reading MA
LaPorte T R, Consolini P (1991) Working in practice but not in theory: theoretical challenges of high-reliability organisations. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. 1: 19–47
Latour B (1991) Technology is Society Made Durable. In: Law J (ed) A Sociology of Monsters. Essays on Power, Technology and Domination. Sociological Review Monograph. 38
Lewy G (1984) Some Political-Military Lessons of the Vietnam War. Parameters. Journal of the US Army War College. 14(1): 2–15
MacKenzie D, Wajcman J (eds) (1985) The Social Shaping of Technology. Open University Press, Milton Keynes
Mandelbaum M (1982) The Television War. Daedalus. 111(4): 157–169
Mason P (2012) US auto industry: The road to recovery? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/17842000 Accessed 27 November 2013
Mason R O (2004) Lessons in Organizational Ethics from the Columbia Disaster: Can a Culture be Lethal? Organizational Dynamics. 33(2): 128–142
McCain, J (2008) Americans like conspiracies. In: Appy C G (ed) Vietnam. The Definitive Oral History, Told From All Sides. Ebury Press, New York
Messenger C (1995) The Century of Warfare. BCA Books, London
McIntyre G R (2000) Patterns in Safety Thinking. Ashgate, Aldershot
Mearsheimer J (1994) Instability in Europe After the Cold War. In: Freedman L (ed) War. Oxford Readers, Oxford
Mehta A (2014) Global Hawk Wins in 2015 Request, Sources Say. http://DefenceNews.com. Accessed 29 May 2014
Merton R K (1936) The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action. American Sociological Review. 1(6): 894–904
Merton R K (1968) Social Theory and Social Structure. Collier-Macmillan, London
Metz S, Kievit J (1995) Strategy and the Revolution in Military Affairs: From Theory to Policy. Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Carlisle, PA
Mohanty N (2013) America, Pakistan and the India Factor. Palgrave-Macmillan, Basingstoke
National Intelligence Council (2012) Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Washington DC
Orwell G (1949) Nineteen eighty-four. Secker and Warburg, London
Osgood R E (1994) The Reappraisal of Limited War. In: Freedman L (ed) War. Oxford Readers, Oxford
Otto J L, Webber B J (2013) Mental Health Diagnoses and Counselling Among Pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft in the United States Air Force. Medical Surveillance Monthly Report. 20(3): 3–8
PBS NewsHour (2013) More Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan than any other recent American conflict. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/ Accessed 7 February 2014
Pew Research Centre (2011) US image in Pakistan falls no further following Bin Laden killing. http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2032/pakistan-public-opinion-osama-bin-laden-india-terrorism-al qaeda-american-image Accessed 20 November 2013
Pew Research Centre (2012) Global Attitudes Project. Global Opinion of Obama Slips, International Policies Faulted. Drone Strikes Widely Opposed. http://www.pewglobal.org/ Accessed 7 February 2014
Pinch T (1996) The social construction of technology: A review. In: Fox R (ed) Technological change: Methods and themes in the history of technology. Harwood Academic Publishers, Newark
Roberts K H (1990) Some characteristics of one type of high reliability organisation. Organisation Science. 1(2): 160–176
Roberts K H (1993) Cultural characteristics of reliability-enhancing organisations. Journal of Managerial Issues. 5(2): 165–181
Ross A K (2014) Get the data: Pakistani government’s secret report on drone strikes. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/drones-pakistan Accessed 1 June 2014
Scales R (2003) Yellow Smoke. The Future of Land Warfare for America’s Military. Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham MD
Shah S A (2010) War on Terrorism: Self Defence, Operation Enduring Freedom and the Legality of US Drone Attacks in Pakistan. Washington University Global Studies Law Review. 9(1): 77–129
Shaw M (2005) The New Western Way of War: Risk-Transfer War and its Crisis in Iraq. Polity, Cambridge
Sheehan N (1988) A Bright Shining Lie. Picador, London
Sifton J (2012) A Brief History of Drones. The Nation. 7 February
Sloan E (2002) The Revolution in Military Affairs. McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal
Sveiby K E, Gripenberg P, Segercrantz B, Eriksson A, Aminoff A (2009) Unintended and Undesirable Consequences of Innovation. Conference Paper, XX ISPIM conference, The Future of Innovation. Vienna 21–24 June 2009
Tilghman A (2013) Pentagon’s new high-tech warfare medal draws backlash. http://www.usatoday.com. Accessed 28 November 2013
Toft B (1992) The Failure of Hindsight. Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal. 1(3): 48–63
Toft B, Reynolds S (1997) Learning from Disasters. Perpetuity Press, Leicester
Tvaryanas A P, Thompson W T, Constable S H (2006) Human factors in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operations: HFACS Analysis of 221 Mishaps Over 10 Years. Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine. 77(7): 724–732
United States Air Force (2013a) Fact sheets. http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/104482/b–2-spirit.aspx Accessed 20 November 2013
United States Air Force (2013b) Fact sheets. http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/104505/f–16-fighting-falcon.aspx Accessed 20 November 2013
Warnke P (1994) Vietnam and Nuremberg. In: Freedman L (ed) War. Oxford Readers, Oxford
Waters M (1995) Globalisation. Routledge, London
Weick K E (1987) Organisational culture as a source of high reliability. California Management Review. 29: 112–127
Weick K E, Sutcliffe K M, Obstfield D (1999) Organising for high reliability: processes of collective mindfulness. Research in Organisational Behaviour 21: 81–123
Weick K E, Sutcliffe K M (2001) Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco
Westmoreland W (2008) I was leading an unpopular war. In: Appy C G (ed) Vietnam. The Definitive Oral History, Told From All Sides. Ebury Press, New York
Woods C (2012) Drones: Barack Obama’s secret war. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2012/06/drones-barack-obamas-secret-war. Accessed 17 November 2013
Woods C (2013) Bureau investigation finds fresh evidence of CIA drone strikes on rescuers. http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/drones-pakistan Accessed 29 May 2014