The “Moral Imperative” of Imperialist Killing



How leading circles in the U.S. cynically justify the development of Artificial Intelligence weapon systems


By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 30 January 2021,




One of the most important duties of every socialist, in fact every reasonable person, is to refuse trusting the announcements and explanations of the ruling class, its institutions and its media. Everything must be approached with the highest possible suspicion, one must read between the lines and behind the words, try to discern elements of truth (if they exist at all) from the fog of lies and half-truths. One must understand that the bourgeois politicians and journalists have developed a whole discipline of art how to whitewash the bitter reality of capitalism and the evil intentions of its lords.


Here is an example, one could say a particularly cynical example, how representatives of the ruling class present their ill intentions in hypercritical moralistic language.


A few days ago, a government-appointed panel in the U.S., called the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, said in a draft report for Congress that the United States should not agree to ban the use or development of autonomous weapons powered by artificial intelligence (AI) software. Furthermore, the panel’s report “recommended use of AI by intelligence agencies to streamline data gathering and review; $32 billion in annual federal funding for AI research; and new bodies including a digital corps modeled after the army’s Medical Corps and a technology competitiveness council chaired by the U.S. vice president.[1]


This contrasts with the wishes of many states to ban AI from military use as discussions in the United Nations on this issue since 2014 have shown. It is not difficult to recognize the motivation behind the recommendations of the panel. We are living in a period of capitalist decay and ruptures in the world order. [2] Under such conditions it is inevitable that the rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers (U.S., China, Russia, EU, and Japan) is accelerating. [3] U.S. imperialism – the long-time hegemon which is declining while China is rising – tries to keep its military superiority by any means possible. The development of AI-powered weapon systems naturally provides an advantage for any imperialist Great Power.


Let us note in passing that this panel has been led by former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt. This confirms once more the Marxist thesis that imperialist capitalism is characterized by a close relationship between the big corporations, the state apparatus, and the military. This is hardly surprising. The corporations want to raise their profits, the army wants to increase its ability to kill and the purpose of the state in capitalism is to realize (and pay for) these interests. [4]


One does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that all this is about developing even more deadly and effective killing machines in order to get an advantage in the global arms race between the Great Powers. It is equally clear that the Lords of Power and Money do not want to present openly their motivation. So they look for ways to conceal their desire for developing killer robots with “humanitarian” arguments. This can result in the most grotesque formulations.


The above-mentioned Reuters report quotes the panel’s Vice Chairman Robert Work, a former deputy secretary of defense, as saying that “autonomous weapons are expected to make fewer mistakes than humans do in battle, leading to reduced casualties or skirmishes caused by target misidentification. It is a moral imperative to at least pursue this hypothesis.


You see, the U.S. imperialists want to develop AI-powered weapon systems not for killing more efficiently, not for winning future wars, not for raising the profits of high-tech and arms corporations. No, their motivation is solely humanitarian – they want to “reduce casualties”! Their concern for human lives is so big that they even call this a “moral imperative”!


What an extraordinary example of 1984-like language! There is a “moral imperative” to develop killer robots since they are humanitarian instruments! Of course, this is just one of many examples. Today, when Great Powers send troops in a foreign country they don’t call it “war” but “peacebuilding operation”.


Only naïve fools can trust the imperialists and their ideological PR-stunts. Unfortunately, today the virus of credulity has spread wide among the so-called left which blindly believes the ruling class which utilizes the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for launching an unprecedented counterrevolution by expanding the police and surveillance state and dramatically restricting democratic rights. [5] Those leftists who do not break down the propaganda lies of the ruling class – be it because of stupidity or because of evil intentions – are not socialists but useful idiots of the bourgeoise!


[1] Jeffrey Dastin, Paresh Dave: U.S. commission cites 'moral imperative' to explore AI weapons, January 26, 2021,

[2] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: The Catastrophic Failure of the Theory of “Catastrophism”. On the Marxist Theory of Capitalist Breakdown and its Misinterpretation by the Partido Obrero (Argentina) and its “Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International”, RCIT Pamphlet, May 2018,; RCIT: Advancing Counterrevolution and Acceleration of Class Contradictions Mark the Opening of a New Political Phase. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries (January 2016), Chapter II and III, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 46,; Michael Pröbsting: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, RCIT Books, Vienna 2018,; Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013,; Michael Pröbsting: Imperialism, Globalization and the Decline of Capitalism (2008), in: Richard Brenner, Michael Pröbsting, Keith Spencer: The Credit Crunch - A Marxist Analysis, London 2008,

[3] See on this e.g. the numerous RCIT’s documents on the Global Trade War which have been collected at a special sub-page on our website:; for a more fundamental analysis of the Great Power rivalry we refer to our book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019, Other RCIT documents on the accelerating rivalry between the Great Powers are complied at a special sub-page on our website:

[4] The RCIT has dealt with state monopoly capitalism in various works. See e.g. chapter II in our book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020,

[5] The RCIT has analysed the COVID-19 counterrevolution extensively since its beginning. Starting from 2 February we have published more than 70 pamphlets, essays, articles and statements plus a book which are all compiled at a special sub-page on our website: In particular we refer readers to the RCIT Manifesto: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive. We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes, 21 March 2020, In addition, we draw attention to our book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020, See also our very first article on this issue by Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: "I am not a Virus"... but WE will be the Cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 2 February 2020,; Michael Pröbsting: The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. On the ruling class strategy in the current conjuncture, its inner contradictions and the perspectives of the workers and popular resistance, 20 July 2020,; by the same author: The Police and Surveillance State in the Post-Lockdown Phase. A global review of the ruling class’s plans of expanding the bonapartist state machinery amidst the COVID-19 crisis, 21 May 2020,; COVID-19: The Great Barrington Declaration is indeed Great! Numerous medical scientists protest against the reactionary lockdown policy, 11 October 2020,