Killer Robots! Germany Crosses a Threshold

Until the 13 June 2018, Germany was the only big Western country not to buy “killer robots”.

On this day the German Bundestag committee voted to approve the spending of nearly €1bn ($1.1bn) to lease from Israel five drones which can be equipped with deadly weapons.

Unlike the US, Germany’s drones are described as weaponisable not weaponised. A further decision would be needed to equip the drones with deadly weapons. The path to the vote was a slow one in which the price rose.

Germany currently has about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, and German generals have occasionally felt frustrated in situations where they saw dangers facing their troops but could not react.

However, German voters have dark memories of an air strike in Afghanistan in 2009, called in by their forces but executed by the Americans, in which civilians perished and their government had to compensate the bereaved.

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