Unmanned aerial vehicle
For the Obama administration and the Bush administration before it, drone strikes kill terrorists before terrorists can kill innocents, and the strikes keep American soldiers out of harm's way.
But for a group of faith leaders, drones are a crude tool of death that make killing as easy as shooting a video game villain, and they put innocents in harm's way.
No matter how sophisticated and how many algorithms are programmed to help a drone or other machine make calculations before firing on a target, autonomous weapons systems could never comply with international human rights law, a Vatican official said.
"Meaningful human involvement is absolutely essential in decisions affecting the life and death of human beings," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva, told experts meeting May 13-16 to discuss lethal autonomous weapons systems.