Germany′s drone doubts | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 04.06.2013
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Germany's drone doubts

Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere has faced questions from parliament over cancellation of Germany's drone project. Criticized as unneccessary and wasteful, the Euro Hawk debacle reflects a larger drone debate.

As the inheritor of the Euro Hawk surveillance drone project, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière is also the symbol of its demise.

But as a surveillance aircraft that was to bear no armaments, the Euro Hawk was not the weapon of war that many imagined it to be. By developing it, Germany fulfilled a NATO obligation. Problems with the Euro Hawk, including malfunctions and airworthiness issues, led Germany to cancel the project.

Militaries around the world are embracing unmanned drones as "risk-free" tools of warfare. But do drones lower the "democratic threshold" for engaging in warfare? Does their "risk-free" nature actually increase risk-taking? And if the US uses its bases in Germany to guide weaponized drones to foreign targets, is Germany breaking the law?

By cancelling its drone project, Germany rid itself - albeit briefly - of a divisive moral question.

DW examines the issues.

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