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(Washington Post)   Obama administration weighing targeted drone strike on unnamed American citizen in unknown country doing unrevealed things   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 404
    More: Scary, American citizens, Obama, Americans, United States, Obama administration, Gadahn, Anwar al-Awlaki, risk aversion  
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5065 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Feb 2014 at 7:00 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-11 02:19:04 PM  

Two16: sprawl15: The Numbers: FWIW, I now have you favorited with the note: 'Cares more about facts than e-cred'.

cool fact


[i62.tinypic.com image 850x125]


I'm pretty sure that quote is part of why sprawl15's troll alt was made.
 
2014-02-11 02:20:07 PM  
Side note: It is pretty bizarre the weird crap that sticks in your brain. I remembered the aptly labeled user name first shot.
 
2014-02-11 02:28:55 PM  

jumac: Ok for those who don't like the drone strike.  HOW do you get to someone who is in a spot where there is no way to get to them to arrest them or take them out without causing some sort of international issue, or places american military personal at to great a risk to go in after them.

How do you get someone who is in a country that anything this side of us showing up with enough manpower and firepower to invade and take over their country and give them a chose of turning the person(s) over to use with in x time or we invade, are going tell us to go pound sand?

How do you get someone who is in an area where the government has no control of that part of the country and is unwilling to get any were near the area or there is no real government in control of the whole country.


You don't. Let the worthless POS rot in a cave or desert. There will now always be people who hate America and they will sometimes find like minded people and try to harm us. We will never be able to eliminate them. In our efforts to do so, we've alienated many people who were previously not anti-American. How many potential future terrorists do you think are created when some hillbilly with four kids gets bombed from our constantly circling, buzzing, death robots in Yemen?

You protect yourself the best you can. You recognize that terrorism is a threat [not even] on par with traffic accidents, heart disease, and domestic violent crime. You don't sell-out your core values because the mohammedans are foreign and scary.

I mean can anyone image what could have happen if the seal team that got bin laden had gotten to him then had to deal with the military of that country.  It would have been even a worst issue then what happen.

Bin Laden was a feeble old shut-in. To find him, we compromised polio vaccination campaigns to take DNA samples in the area. As a result, people we try to help with vaccines in other places refuse them, and aid workers have become fair targets for militants. To me that's a BS tradeoff.

And for the people who think that someone who is with a terrorist group who only goes online with some video and calls for more to fight for them or to thanks those who died in some attack is not the same as someone who dose the attacking.  Well sorry they are not.  Don't matter if you only cooked or just ran messages back and forth, or was the pr guy(s) or what ever part of the group you where doing you just as much a murder as the ones who go out and do the attack.

Just cause you are a American doesn't mean we should give you more rights when we try and deal with you. If we can get you safely great if not well when you join a group that has/is/will be attacking Americans you get what is coming to you.


You're exactly right. We should respect life equally. But please take a look at the people we were confident enough to kidnap, torture, and detain without charge in Guantanamo. A large number ended up there because of personal grudges or faulty intelligence. The number we have been confident enough to bring charges against is seven.

We are not good at distinguishing true threats. Until a few days ago, the regulations governing resettlement into the United States were so asinine, that a refugee who, literally at gunpoint, provided food or clothing to a militant group was barred from entry due to "material support" for terrorists. Likewise for children who were kidnapped and forced to act as servants. Ours is not a government to be trusted in determining who and who is not dangerous. And whatever was special about America, that people looked up to and respected, has been sacrificed in this frenzy. The answer is not complex; you follow criminal procedure or the Geneva Conventions.
 
2014-02-11 02:37:10 PM  
Meh, gotta drone something...

i1111.photobucket.com
 
2014-02-11 02:42:23 PM  

Zafler: Two16: sprawl15: The Numbers: FWIW, I now have you favorited with the note: 'Cares more about facts than e-cred'.

cool fact


[i62.tinypic.com image 850x125]

I'm pretty sure that quote is part of why sprawl15's troll alt was made.


man that was a hilarious thread

shame it got purged :(
 
2014-02-11 02:53:51 PM  

RyogaM: PunGent: RyogaM: YixilTesiphon: You're just supposed to guess?

Yeah, if you've been doing things that might get you on a "capture if you can, kill if you can't" list, you might want to take a moment to call your embassy, give them your name, and ask.

Doing things like getting your name spelled wrong by some data entry clerk at the NSA, you mean?

Let's ask that woman on the No Fly list how accurate the FBI paperwork is.

Or that poor bastard whose fingerprints they "found" at the Madrid train bombings...oops...wasn't him either.

How many Americans have been put on a capture and kill list, do you think?  Just ball park it for me.


No idea.  The Due Process Clause doesn't have a "Oh, you only farked over x citizens?  OK then" escape hatch in it.

At least the one in MY copy of the Constitution doesn't.

They probably released a new version, and I'm not cleared to know what my rights are...
 
2014-02-11 02:54:33 PM  

modesto: Nope. Let me google that for you.


It pains me to see someone struggle like this with something they clearly don't understand. I'm not even trying to enter into snark-off with you; I'm just trying to explain to you (and I'm running out of ways to get this across) that there has never been an understanding of "due process" which forbade the targeting of somebody in a military operation based on what kind of citizenship they hold (the additional restrictions that the US military places on itself when targeting US citizens are there entirely of its own volition), nor has there ever been an understanding of "due process" which requires that a person must be put on trial and sentenced before they can be targeted in a military operation.

The only "process" which is "due" here is, in short, for the legislative branch to authorize military force, and for the executive branch to order it.
 
2014-02-11 03:02:49 PM  

Biological Ali: It pains me to see someone struggle like this with something they clearly don't understand. I'm not even trying to enter into snark-off with you; I'm just trying to explain to you (and I'm running out of ways to get this across) that there has never been an understanding of "due process" which forbade the targeting of somebody in a military operation based on what kind of citizenship they hold (the additional restrictions that the US military places on itself when targeting US citizens are there entirely of its own volition), nor has there ever been an understanding of "due process" which requires that a person must be put on trial and sentenced before they can be targeted in a military operation.

The only "process" which is "due" here is, in short, for the legislative branch to authorize military force, and for the executive branch to order it.


Wouldn't those targets have protection under various Geneva Convention treaties that we are signatories to?  If they are the targets of a military force operation by the US, it would seem that they should be afforded various protections under the Geneva Convention, which I believe we would be violating en masse with our current actions.
 
2014-02-11 03:05:03 PM  

modesto: You don't. Let the worthless POS rot in a cave or desert. There will now always be people who hate America and they will sometimes find like minded people and try to harm us. We will never be able to eliminate them. In our efforts to do so, we've alienated many people who were previously not anti-American. How many potential future terrorists do you think are created when some hillbilly with four kids gets bombed from our constantly circling, buzzing, death robots in Yemen?


That whole post was excellent.  It's the same mentality as those that think the solution to the problems caused by drugs is to raid and lock up as many drug dealers as we can, preferably with military tactics.
 
2014-02-11 03:07:09 PM  

MattStafford: If they are the targets of a military force operation by the US, it would seem that they should be afforded various protections under the Geneva Convention, which I believe we would be violating en masse with our current actions.


the us considers the 'enemy combatants' to fall under the same protection level as francs-tieurs, namely: no protections

per the geneva conventions, if you capture a francs-tieur you can summarily execute them. that's been the basis for the whole litany of bush's "treating them like dogshiat is better than they deserve" stuff in guantanamo.

that's where the whole inability of the geneva conventions to parse military engagements where one side is a non-state actor comes into play, since the situation we are in now (country exercises war powers on some people to be defined later) simply can't be put into the geneva conventions' terms
 
2014-02-11 03:10:28 PM  

MattStafford: Biological Ali: Neutralizing (either through capture or by killing) members of al-Qaeda and other organizations associated with them - particularly high-ranking members - is a public service that makes the entire world better off. Obama would be negligent if he didn't do it whenever the opportunity arose.

And the collateral damage? The additional terrorists created by these actions?  Are they not worth noting?


The idea that additional terrorists are "created" whenever existing terrorists are killed is more or less an urban myth - something that gets repeated without any real evidence to back it up. Even in the most extreme instances - attacks that go horribly wrong and kill only civilians, for instance - it isn't clear whether there's any substantial benefit for terrorists in terms of picking up new recruits. Terrorist recruitment is more driven by the long-standing socioeconomic conditions of the areas they operate in, as opposed to the by-product of military actions taken against them.

You can understand why this would be by thinking of the reverse - if it were true that attacks on terrorists created additional terrorists, it would also be true that attacks by terrorists - which kill far, far more people than the other way around - would generate recruits for whichever armies are fighting them (the Afghan and Pakistani militaries, for instance), but that doesn't happen in any significant numbers either. At the end of the day, joining a military (or quasi-military) force is a decision that not many people make to begin with, and those that do tend to do so for occupational reasons more than anything else.
 
2014-02-11 03:16:37 PM  

Biological Ali: MattStafford: Biological Ali: Neutralizing (either through capture or by killing) members of al-Qaeda and other organizations associated with them - particularly high-ranking members - is a public service that makes the entire world better off. Obama would be negligent if he didn't do it whenever the opportunity arose.

And the collateral damage? The additional terrorists created by these actions?  Are they not worth noting?

The idea that additional terrorists are "created" whenever existing terrorists are killed is more or less an urban myth - something that gets repeated without any real evidence to back it up. Even in the most extreme instances - attacks that go horribly wrong and kill only civilians, for instance - it isn't clear whether there's any substantial benefit for terrorists in terms of picking up new recruits. Terrorist recruitment is more driven by the long-standing socioeconomic conditions of the areas they operate in, as opposed to the by-product of military actions taken against them.

You can understand why this would be by thinking of the reverse - if it were true that attacks on terrorists created additional terrorists, it would also be true that attacks by terrorists - which kill far, far more people than the other way around - would generate recruits for whichever armies are fighting them (the Afghan and Pakistani militaries, for instance), but that doesn't happen in any significant numbers either. At the end of the day, joining a military (or quasi-military) force is a decision that not many people make to begin with, and those that do tend to do so for occupational reasons more than anything else.


That's a great point... we didn't see an increase at all in people joining the US military forces after 9/11, did we?
 
2014-02-11 03:19:33 PM  

MattStafford: Wouldn't those targets have protection under various Geneva Convention treaties that we are signatories to? If they are the targets of a military force operation by the US, it would seem that they should be afforded various protections under the Geneva Convention, which I believe we would be violating en masse with our current actions.


I don't think anybody considers it to be a violation of international law when al-Qaeda and other associated organizations are targeted by militaries who they are engaged in armed hostilities with. Bear in mind that it's not just the US going after them - Afghanistan, for instance, is officially a NATO operation. The only instance where the notion of international law violation has been even briefly pondered (before being promptly discarded) is limited to Pakistan, and it has to do not with concern for the people being targeted, but rather, with a potential violation of Pakistan's sovereignty (this notion is itself laughably ridiculous, though getting into it might be a bit too much of a threadjack).
 
2014-02-11 03:29:50 PM  

Biological Ali: MattStafford: Wouldn't those targets have protection under various Geneva Convention treaties that we are signatories to? If they are the targets of a military force operation by the US, it would seem that they should be afforded various protections under the Geneva Convention, which I believe we would be violating en masse with our current actions.

I don't think anybody considers it to be a violation of international law when al-Qaeda and other associated organizations are targeted by militaries who they are engaged in armed hostilities with. Bear in mind that it's not just the US going after them - Afghanistan, for instance, is officially a NATO operation. The only instance where the notion of international law violation has been even briefly pondered (before being promptly discarded) is limited to Pakistan, and it has to do not with concern for the people being targeted, but rather, with a potential violation of Pakistan's sovereignty (this notion is itself laughably ridiculous, though getting into it might be a bit too much of a threadjack).


So I guess you think it's just an administrative oversight that we've adamantly refused to join the Rome Statute with the rest of the free world?

Whatever man, for a taste of your own condescension, anyone who thinks the Pakistani military fights terrorism has ignorance of the situation on full display.

I sorry prior posts "pained" you to see. Instead, picture me rollin'.
 
2014-02-11 03:30:19 PM  

Biological Ali: The idea that additional terrorists are "created" whenever existing terrorists are killed is more or less an urban myth - something that gets repeated without any real evidence to back it up. Even in the most extreme instances - attacks that go horribly wrong and kill only civilians, for instance - it isn't clear whether there's any substantial benefit for terrorists in terms of picking up new recruits. Terrorist recruitment is more driven by the long-standing socioeconomic conditions of the areas they operate in, as opposed to the by-product of military actions taken against them.


Terrorists derive their support from a friendly population to hide in.  Perhaps they don't get new recruits directly from these actions (and I highly doubt that claim), but they certainly will end up with a friendlier population to hide in.  If you don't think drone strikes have made terrorist organizations more popular and stronger, I would question your sources or logic.  The fact that there are many educated, relatively well off terrorists seems to belie your argument regarding socioeconomic conditions fueling terrorism.  Terrorism is fueled by being locked out of the political process and having unpopular policies forced on you.

Biological Ali: You can understand why this would be by thinking of the reverse - if it were true that attacks on terrorists created additional terrorists, it would also be true that attacks by terrorists - which kill far, far more people than the other way around - would generate recruits for whichever armies are fighting them (the Afghan and Pakistani militaries, for instance), but that doesn't happen in any significant numbers either. At the end of the day, joining a military (or quasi-military) force is a decision that not many people make to begin with, and those that do tend to do so for occupational reasons more than anything else.


The reason for that is because the people killed by the terrorists have political recourse.  If someone blows up my family, I don't need to go buy a gun and take on the terrorists myself - I have a government that listens to me (to an extent, of course) and will do the gun buying and terrorist taking out for me.  If someone blows up my family, and I don't have a government that listens to me or will react for me, my options are limited. Picking up the gun may make sense for me.
 
2014-02-11 03:36:21 PM  

GanjSmokr: That's a great point... we didn't see an increase at all in people joining the US military forces after 9/11, did we?


That's besides the point anyway.  We can vote for a stronger military presence.  We can vote for additional funding.  We can vote for drone strikes.  The people we're droning right now do not have that recourse.  Their governments are not sympathetic to their cause.

Let's say, for example, that Canada started bombing the hell out of the Pacific Northwest.  Shocked and Awed Seattle or something.  And the US government not only didn't respond, but tacitly allowed the bombing to occur.  In addition, they did not respond to any Washingtonian requests for help.  How long before the people of Washington would take up arms against Canada?  Now compare that to what would happen if the US fought back against Canada.  I doubt those Washingtonians would need to fight.
 
2014-02-11 03:42:48 PM  

Headso: We can't trust our government to feed poor people but we can trust it to kill citizens based on secret information.


Well everyone is good at one thing at least.
 
2014-02-11 03:44:35 PM  

Biological Ali: I don't think anybody considers it to be a violation of international law when al-Qaeda and other associated organizations are targeted by militaries who they are engaged in armed hostilities with.


http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/05/obama-administr at ion-drone-strikes-war-crimes

Well, no one except for the UN, but who's counting?
 
2014-02-11 03:45:27 PM  

MattStafford: If you don't think drone strikes have made terrorist organizations more popular and stronger, I would question your sources or logic.


See pages 23 and 24. People have gone out of their way to look for any evidence of recruitment benefits that terrorist groups are supposedly gaining as a result of drone strikes, and they've come up short. Meanwhile, there is a fair bit to indicate that these groups are being significantly damaged, at least in the short run, by said strikes.

I understand where you're coming from. I myself used to believe that military strikes "created terrorists", because it just seemed like something that sounded true. But there's really no actual evidence for it.
 
2014-02-11 03:46:58 PM  

MattStafford: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/05/obama-administr at ion-drone-strikes-war-crimes

Well, no one except for the UN


from that article:
Outside of a defined conflict zone, international human rights law is the applicable law. This is important because human rights law demands significantly more stringent rules for the use of lethal force than does humanitarian law.

If the United States is only involved in an armed conflict in Afghanistan, international human rights law would be the regime that regulates the use of lethal force in Pakistan and Yemen.
that's the key problem. there is no defined conflict zone. the US is using war powers on non-state actors.
 
2014-02-11 03:49:18 PM  

Epic Fap Session: A "Shock and Awe" bombing campaign in a city of several million based on trumped up evidence just feels more lawful to me.


Talking about Syria I assume? Lawfully the US has been justified to bomb Iraq since about 95 when Iraq broke the conditions of the cease fire.
 
2014-02-11 03:50:26 PM  

Dedmon: DrPainMD: TuteTibiImperes: If you're located within the borders of the US you're entitled to due process of law.  If you're operating as part of a terrorist network overseas, it shouldn't matter if you're a citizen of the US, Afghanistan, or Pakistan, the same rules don't apply over there as they do here.

The Fifth Amendment says:
"...nor shall any person... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."

Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment says:
"...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."

 Ummm... that's not what the Constitution says.

It actually does. What do you think "due process of law" means, anyway? It's never so simple as a one line quote. What the president is doing is within the powers of his office, powers that were allocated by the constitution and by various acts of congress over the centuries. The war powers of the president should be more limited,I agree. However, the "due process" doesn't have to be a court, by law. It could be any "due process" as interpreted by the POTUS and SCOTUS, and thus far, it's been deemed appropriate to use intelligence agencies to locate and eliminate any person duly determined to be at war with America or our allies.

TLDR: The due process is the president getting together with the intelligence agencies, looking over the evidence, and determining if another human should die on the other side of the world, all within the law.


So you are cool if we just dispense with these nasty things called "Juries" right? Wouldn't it be quicker if the Judge just got together with the cops and decided if a person was guilty based on what the cops said? Plus we wouldn't have nasty things like "Jury Nullification" to mess up the works! And no one would be bothered by "Jury Duty" anymore!  And everybody could get a job because they would always need more guards at the new prisons.


/Are you REALLY this stupid?
//A citizen is entitled to his homeland's rights regardless what country he is in at the time.
 
2014-02-11 03:51:34 PM  

washington-babylon: So you are cool if we just dispense with these nasty things called "Juries" right?


my grandfather served on a jury on d-day

he personally convicted six machine gun positions and allowed the naval bombardment to occur
 
2014-02-11 03:59:52 PM  

Biological Ali: See pages 23 and 24. People have gone out of their way to look for any evidence of recruitment benefits that terrorist groups are supposedly gaining as a result of drone strikes, and they've come up short. Meanwhile, there is a fair bit to indicate that these groups are being significantly damaged, at least in the short run, by said strikes.

I understand where you're coming from. I myself used to believe that military strikes "created terrorists", because it just seemed like something that sounded true. But there's really no actual evidence for it.


FTA:  "A local analyst who has extensively researched security and governance in FATA notes that 
while anti-drone rhetoric does draw some converts, 'the loss of a Baitullah Mehsud 
or a Qari Hussain is much more damaging than the recruitment of a few dozen foot 
soldiers'."

So a single unnamed analyst (the footnote simply says "interview") is your source for this?  Should I accept that as more authoritative than a Stanford/NYU study?   http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/sep/25/drone-attacks-pakistan-c o unterproductive-report

In addition, that paper did not particularly address the claim regarding the populations acceptance of terrorist organizations.  Terrorist organizations draw their strength from the local population.  They buy food and supplies from them, and most importantly hide among them.  A person with a family member recently killed by a drone strike might not join up, but would certainly be more amenable to selling goods to an organization, or keeping mum if asked about them.

Finally, that statement sounds an awfully lot like the strategies behind anti drug policies.  Chopping the head off will kill the beast, regardless of how many new legs it grows.  But there will always be the next head that emerges.  Even if you kill a Qari Hussain, you have done nothing to address the underlying causes that created that Qari Hussain, or that will create the next Qari Hussain.  You can bust a drug kingpin, but you aren't going to stop the drug trade in that city.
 
2014-02-11 04:07:01 PM  

washington-babylon: Dedmon: DrPainMD: TuteTibiImperes: If you're located within the borders of the US you're entitled to due process of law.  If you're operating as part of a terrorist network overseas, it shouldn't matter if you're a citizen of the US, Afghanistan, or Pakistan, the same rules don't apply over there as they do here.

The Fifth Amendment says:
"...nor shall any person... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."

Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment says:
"...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."

 Ummm... that's not what the Constitution says.

It actually does. What do you think "due process of law" means, anyway? It's never so simple as a one line quote. What the president is doing is within the powers of his office, powers that were allocated by the constitution and by various acts of congress over the centuries. The war powers of the president should be more limited,I agree. However, the "due process" doesn't have to be a court, by law. It could be any "due process" as interpreted by the POTUS and SCOTUS, and thus far, it's been deemed appropriate to use intelligence agencies to locate and eliminate any person duly determined to be at war with America or our allies.

TLDR: The due process is the president getting together with the intelligence agencies, looking over the evidence, and determining if another human should die on the other side of the world, all within the law.

So you are cool if we just dispense with these nasty things called "Juries" right? Wouldn't it be quicker if the Judge just got together with the cops and decided if a person was guilty based on what the cops said? Plus we wouldn't have nasty things like "Jury Nullification" to mess up the works! And no one would be bothered by "Jury Duty" anymore!  And everybody could get a job because they would always need more guards at the new prisons.


/Are you REALLY this stupid?
//A citizen is entitled to ...



ih0.redbubble.net
 
2014-02-11 04:12:33 PM  

MattStafford: Biological Ali: I don't think anybody considers it to be a violation of international law when al-Qaeda and other associated organizations are targeted by militaries who they are engaged in armed hostilities with.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/05/obama-administr at ion-drone-strikes-war-crimes

Well, no one except for the UN, but who's counting?


The only comment from the UN is one from a report by Heyns, talking in general terms about the potential consequences of increased drone use, along with some comments about international law which, as far as I can see, are his own opinion with no legal force (the resolution that the report is tied to says only that it "takes note" of his reports and "invites States to take due consideration" of the recommendations).

It's always best to see the primary sources for oneself rather than summaries that have been filtered through heavily slanted sources.
 
2014-02-11 04:22:08 PM  

Biological Ali: (the resolution that the report is tied to says only that it "takes note" of his reports and "invites States to take due consideration" of the recommendations).


You expect a UN resolution to pass with language condemning the US?

Anyway - Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both condemned them as in violation on international law, and the UN appears troubled by it.  I certainly don't think that is something you can just brush off.  A country that "brushes off" Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch while troubling the UN certainly seems like the bad guy, doesn't it?
 
2014-02-11 04:42:23 PM  

MattStafford: So a single unnamed analyst (the footnote simply says "interview") is your source for this? Should I accept that as more authoritative than a Stanford/NYU study? http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/sep/25/drone-attacks-pakistan-c o unterproductive-report


Already read that report a long time ago, and it's out of date - we have since learned that its estimates of civilian casualties were off by about an order of magnitude. Their claim about terrorist recruitment, meanwhile, links back to a New York times article which used the phrase in reference to a statement from a single failed terrorist.

Look, there's obviously an ethical component to it, and you can pick which side you fall on. I personally have no issue with drone strikes because they've been astonishingly accurate (as per the latest numbers), and the people that are being targeted really do have it coming. That said, I can still understand and respect the opinion of people who oppose drone strikes on principle - however, whether or not drone strikes facilitate terrorist recruitment in any meaningful way is an empirical question, and thus far there just hasn't been any compelling evidence in support of it (certainly no evidence that the terrorists receive such a huge recruitment bump that they completely recover the losses they sustain from the actual strikes and come out ahead).

Just because a person has opinions about the ethics of a particular action doesn't mean he or she needs to ignore reality when it doesn't completely bolster their argument. The report I linked earlier which questioned the "drone strikes breed terrorists" assumption, for instance, was by Crisis Group, which is very much against drone strikes.
 
2014-02-11 05:15:49 PM  

MattStafford: You expect a UN resolution to pass with language condemning the US?


I'm just saying that attributing it to the UN is misleading. If a Senator, speaking only in his own capacity, criticized something Obama had done - it wouldn't be quite right to phrase that as "Obama criticized by US", would it?

More to the point, as sprawl15 points out, the concerns are based not directly on humanitarian/human rights grounds, but rather, the highly dry, technical and extremely vague conceptions of whether the strikes are taking place sufficiently close to a "conflict zone". Which, among other things, is why military actions taking place inside Afghanistan aren't being called out, even though they're far more extensive (in terms of casualties of both civilians and suspected terrorists) than anything that's happened in Pakistan (at the hands of the US anyway).

What we're seeing here is new ground being scoped out in order to establish the legal parameters for a new type of conflict that is only now being properly thought about in that way. Some of the concepts as applied to traditional wars between states will continue to apply; others, not so much. And I suspect that this notion of a "conflict zone" will end up being one of the latter.
 
2014-02-11 05:26:34 PM  

Biological Ali: MattStafford: So a single unnamed analyst (the footnote simply says "interview") is your source for this? Should I accept that as more authoritative than a Stanford/NYU study? http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/sep/25/drone-attacks-pakistan-c o unterproductive-report

Already read that report a long time ago, and it's out of date - we have since learned that its estimates of civilian casualties were off by about an order of magnitude. Their claim about terrorist recruitment, meanwhile, links back to a New York times article which used the phrase in reference to a statement from a single failed terrorist.

Look, there's obviously an ethical component to it, and you can pick which side you fall on. I personally have no issue with drone strikes because they've been astonishingly accurate (as per the latest numbers), and the people that are being targeted really do have it coming. That said, I can still understand and respect the opinion of people who oppose drone strikes on principle - however, whether or not drone strikes facilitate terrorist recruitment in any meaningful way is an empirical question, and thus far there just hasn't been any compelling evidence in support of it (certainly no evidence that the terrorists receive such a huge recruitment bump that they completely recover the losses they sustain from the actual strikes and come out ahead).

Just because a person has opinions about the ethics of a particular action doesn't mean he or she needs to ignore reality when it doesn't completely bolster their argument. The report I linked earlier which questioned the "drone strikes breed terrorists" assumption, for instance, was by Crisis Group, which is very much against drone strikes.


Again, what about the effects on the civilian population that doesn't join the organization?

Surely you agree that a large reason the organization can function is tacit support from the population, either through supplies or just allowing them to blend in. If a drone strike killed my family, I would certainly more likely to sell them food or not rat them out, correct?

It's certainly possible that drone strikes do not lead to a significant increase in terrorist activity, but I highly doubt that they are as "neutral" as you appear to make it.

If you know me, you know I love analogies, so let's compare it to the drug war. If the cops mistakenly kill a kid or something (or even intentionally kill a kid for a slight transgression) , it might not directly result in more drug dealers, but it creates problems between the civilian population and the government. Law abiding citizens are less likely to rat, more likely to help the dealers, etc. It creates a situation that does not directly lead to more drug dealers, but does nothing to solve the underlying issues and exacerbates some of the causes.
 
2014-02-11 05:55:30 PM  

Biological Ali: MattStafford: You expect a UN resolution to pass with language condemning the US?

I'm just saying that attributing it to the UN is misleading. If a Senator, speaking only in his own capacity, criticized something Obama had done - it wouldn't be quite right to phrase that as "Obama criticized by US", would it?

More to the point, as sprawl15 points out, the concerns are based not directly on humanitarian/human rights grounds, but rather, the highly dry, technical and extremely vague conceptions of whether the strikes are taking place sufficiently close to a "conflict zone". Which, among other things, is why military actions taking place inside Afghanistan aren't being called out, even though they're far more extensive (in terms of casualties of both civilians and suspected terrorists) than anything that's happened in Pakistan (at the hands of the US anyway).

What we're seeing here is new ground being scoped out in order to establish the legal parameters for a new type of conflict that is only now being properly thought about in that way. Some of the concepts as applied to traditional wars between states will continue to apply; others, not so much. And I suspect that this notion of a "conflict zone" will end up being one of the latter.


I'll agree that I'm conflating two different arguments here. I'm less concerned about the legality of the strikes and more about the morality and efficacy of the strikes. There are numerous policies that are legal that I would argue against on moral and ethical grounds.

First, I am unconvinced that terrorism is a problem that necessitates military action. Terrorists are people locked out of the political process with legitimate gripes against the powers that be. No amount of military action, short of killing entire populations of people, will change that. It might be effective in the short term, but it is not a long term strategy (and I doubt it is intended to be a long term strategy).

Now if you accept the above as true (and I do, you may disagree) the strikes are clearly morally wrong, considering the overall ineffectiveness of them coupled with the innocents killed and lives ruined.

If this was the drug war in America, and our policy was drone striking drug kingpins, would we accept innocents killed in those strikes? Or a person killed just because he was in possession of a cell phone that had called the kingpins phone a few too many times? And especially considering the drug trade would continue regardless of the kingpins death? I hope not.
 
2014-02-11 05:58:25 PM  

sprawl15: washington-babylon: So you are cool if we just dispense with these nasty things called "Juries" right?

my grandfather served on a jury on d-day

he personally convicted six machine gun positions and allowed the naval bombardment to occur


Really? Besides the fact that declared warfare against a foreign power is not the same as undeclared warfare against U.S. Citizens by their own government, that is pretty cool. Is he still alive? Mine is losing his battle with prostate cancer, but he served on the USS Pompon as an Electrical Officer in the Pacific in WW2. He was on the Third through the Ninth war patrols, and has a lot of stories about stuff that never made the official reports.
 
2014-02-11 06:12:27 PM  

RyogaM: The Numbers: if you refuse to avail yourself of the courts, then you are waiving any rights you attempt to claim.

Are you suggesting that anyone who thinks they might be suspected of a crime but doesn't turn themselves in can be justifiably denied due process?

First, who determines Due Process or whether it has been denied to you? The Court. Everyone keeps saying that being put on a "capture if you can, kill if you must list" is a violation of Due Process.  But the only forum to determine if that is true is the Court. If you refuse to go to court and assert, "Being put on a Cap or Kill List violates my Due Process,"  then you are basically saying you agree that it is not a violation.  The Court WILL NOT protect your Rights Sua Sponte and say, "Hey, by the way, you and your lawyer haven't mentioned it, but the actions taken by the government also violate your right to free speech, so, I am going to assert that they do for you."  That's not how the Courts work.


This is wrong in every possible way. Christ.
 
2014-02-11 06:15:49 PM  

GoldSpider: I love that term "broad discretion", as if that's an acceptable alternative to enumerated constitutional powers.


Of course we are protected against "unreasonable" searches and seizures
 
2014-02-11 06:20:38 PM  

trappedspirit: GoldSpider: I love that term "broad discretion", as if that's an acceptable alternative to enumerated constitutional powers.

Of course we are protected against "unreasonable" searches and seizures


My all-time favorite political end-around-llibertyword.

Don't like Free Speech zones?  How could you be against REASONABLE restrictions that make everyone SAFER!
 
2014-02-11 06:35:23 PM  

MattStafford: Again, what about the effects on the civilian population that doesn't join the organization?

Surely you agree that a large reason the organization can function is tacit support from the population, either through supplies or just allowing them to blend in. If a drone strike killed my family, I would certainly more likely to sell them food or not rat them out, correct?

It's certainly possible that drone strikes do not lead to a significant increase in terrorist activity, but I highly doubt that they are as "neutral" as you appear to make it.


The most recent civilian casualty counts are quite low, so there won't be very many people in the "drone strike killed my family" category. I mean, even if we stipulate that two men join the TTP for every civilian killed and you go with the now-outdated higher estimates (we're really stretching it at this point), that's still less than a thousand. Same applies to people giving them money - there just won't be very many who are doing it as a direct result of somebody they know being killed. So the terrorists can't count on gaining a lot of ground this way, which is a good thing - it's due to the drone strikes (even the so-called signature strikes, which everyone was ragging on for a while) being actually quite efficient in distinguishing civilians from militants.

The bigger concern, then, was that people from other areas who have never even seen an area hit by drone strikes would start aiding the Taliban out of some general sense of outrage. There are several factors that militate against this - first and foremost, it's not particularly easy to just join the Taliban. They're secretive and extremely paranoid, especially towards outsiders.

If we're looking at the lesser aid of sending them money - I read recently about run-of-the-mill criminal organizations who bilk terrorist-sympathizers out of their money by pretending to be representatives of the Taliban, so even if there are people sending out their own tiny sums of money instead of buying food and medicine, it's not clear how much of it would actually wind up with the Taliban.

Finally, the opinion in Pakistan isn't unanimously anti-drone. There are people - particularly minorities who have been targeted by the TTP - who actually welcome drone strikes. One of the most striking parts from that Crisis Group piece was the mention of people who consider drones to be modern-day ababeel (birds which, in Islamic mythology, are said to have helped out in some battle by dropping stones on the enemy). Even the Pakistani military concedes that the drones have taken out a lot of serious terrorists, many of which weren't even from the country. On balance, the country is of course extremely against drones, but the opposition seems to be more out of a patriotic "They're violating our sovereignty" sentiment rather than from a "They killed my family" thirst for vengeance, and it's not clear to what extent the former helps actual terrorists in any meaningful way (if at all).

In summary, if the US gets a chance to take out someone like Mullah Fazlullah (like Hakimullah Mehsud and Baitullah Mehsud before him), they will be doing significant, if perhaps short-term, damage to an organization hell-bent on causing massive amounts of mayhem and suffering. That's a very good thing. The only thing that would give me pause is if there was some hard evidence that doing this would assist the terrorists more than it would hurt them, and so far there's just no compelling reason to think that's the case.
 
2014-02-11 06:45:20 PM  

washington-babylon: Besides the fact that declared warfare against a foreign power


sprawl15: in case you're dumber than dogshiat and don't understand war powers and weren't just making a poorly timed joke, the 9/11 AUMF says :

b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

 
2014-02-11 06:46:45 PM  

MattStafford: If this was the drug war in America, and our policy was drone striking drug kingpins, would we accept innocents killed in those strikes? Or a person killed just because he was in possession of a cell phone that had called the kingpins phone a few too many times? And especially considering the drug trade would continue regardless of the kingpins death? I hope not.


I think a proper drug war analogy would be not so much the drug war in America and more the drug war in places like Mexico, if we're looking for organizations whose level of brutality and militancy approaches that of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. When faced with enemies like that, the most natural immediate response would inevitably look much more militaristic than the state's approach towards common criminals.

It's obviously not a complete solution, since in order to do away with either problem (whether it's cartel violence or terrorism) would require major socioeconomic evolution, but in the short-term a tough response would still be called for, even if there are tragic innocents killed in the process. If for no other reason, it would have to be done in order to limit the ability of organizations like this to cause even larger amounts of death and suffering.
 
2014-02-11 06:52:38 PM  

Biological Ali: I think a proper drug war analogy would be not so much the drug war in America and more the drug war in places like Mexico, if we're looking for organizations whose level of brutality and militancy approaches that of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. When faced with enemies like that, the most natural immediate response would inevitably look much more militaristic than the state's approach towards common criminals.


notably, mexico recently legalized vigilantes.
 
2014-02-11 07:53:40 PM  

sprawl15: washington-babylon: Besides the fact that declared warfare against a foreign power

sprawl15: in case you're dumber than dogshiat and don't understand war powers and weren't just making a poorly timed joke, the 9/11 AUMF says :

b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.


Conveniently leaving off: (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of use of military force or a declaration of war.

So in short, after the initial period a war declaration was issued, and the AUMF became moot. All that the AUMF consisted of was a means to get the ball rolling sooner, just like Vietnam, Kuwait, and Somalia (to name a few). The AUMF does not grant special powers to pursue anyone deemed as a "Terrorist" beyond the 60 day period that the WPR dictates. That particular piece of legislation is known as the USA PATRIOT act. Fortunately, that act is set to expire in 2015 and there are many indications that it will be allowed to die peacefully (mostly due to the NSA's behavior).
 
2014-02-11 08:10:38 PM  

Mock26: An American operating overseas with a foreign military organization that is hostile to America or operating with a terrorist organization?  I am OK with Drone Striking them into oblivion.


What if the target is simply publishing so-called anti-American propaganda?
 
2014-02-11 08:13:12 PM  

washington-babylon: sprawl15: washington-babylon: Besides the fact that declared warfare against a foreign power

sprawl15: in case you're dumber than dogshiat and don't understand war powers and weren't just making a poorly timed joke, the 9/11 AUMF says :

b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

Conveniently leaving off: (2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of use of military force or a declaration of war.

So in short, after the initial period a war declaration was issued, and the AUMF(standard) became moot. All that the AUMF(T) consisted of was a means to get the ball rolling sooner, just like Vietnam, Kuwait, and Somalia (to name a few). The AUMF(standard) does not grant special powers to pursue anyone deemed as a "Terrorist" beyond the 60 day period that the WPR dictates. That particular piece of legislation is known as the USA PATRIOT act. Fortunately, that act is set to expire in 2015 and there are many indications that it will be allowed to die peacefully (mostly due to the NSA's behavior).


I know it is bad form to reply to my own post, but I also wish to point out that the AUMF(T) constituted an actual declaration of war, as set forth in the constitution, being passed by congress and signed by the president. As such, any AUMF(standard) enacted by executive order falls into a different category. This is further borne up by the fact that like Declarations of War, the AUMF(T) must be voted upon by congress to expire.
 
2014-02-11 08:27:06 PM  

Frederick: Mock26: An American operating overseas with a foreign military organization that is hostile to America or operating with a terrorist organization?  I am OK with Drone Striking them into oblivion.

What if the target is simply publishing so-called anti-American propaganda?


 In the USA if you are part of a group of people that plan a bank robbery and then do the bank robbery it don't matter if you go in to the bank with the guns or if you are getaway driver or a lookout or stayed back at the hideout. you are still part of the robbery.

So what would be the difference, in a terrorist organization if you are the guy who do the killing or the guy who plans it or the guy who recuites people into the organization?
 
2014-02-11 08:39:49 PM  

Frederick: Mock26: An American operating overseas with a foreign military organization that is hostile to America or operating with a terrorist organization?  I am OK with Drone Striking them into oblivion.

What if the target is simply publishing so-called anti-American propaganda?


If he was simply publishing this for, say, Al-Qaeda, then send a Maverick missile right up his printing press!
 
2014-02-11 09:32:17 PM  
Obama's exact quote:

"I didn't want to drone 'em. I felt I owed it to them."
 
2014-02-11 09:35:06 PM  

washington-babylon: o in short, after the initial period a war declaration was issued, and the AUMF became moot. All that the AUMF consisted of was a means to get the ball rolling sooner, just like Vietnam, Kuwait, and Somalia (to name a few). The AUMF does not grant special powers to pursue anyone deemed as a "Terrorist" beyond the 60 day period that the WPR dictates. That particular piece of legislation is known as the USA PATRIOT act. Fortunately, that act is set to expire in 2015 and there are many indications that it will be allowed to die peacefully (mostly due to the NSA's behavior).


washington-babylon: I know it is bad form to reply to my own post, but I also wish to point out that the AUMF(T) constituted an actual declaration of war, as set forth in the constitution, being passed by congress and signed by the president. As such, any AUMF(standard) enacted by executive order falls into a different category. This is further borne up by the fact that like Declarations of War, the AUMF(T) must be voted upon by congress to expire.


holy shiat what in the fark are you babbling about

the 9/11 aumf was passed by congress, not enacted by executive order. there was no 'declaration of war', there was - and remains - only the aumf. there is no such thing as an aumf enacted by executive order. the 9/11 aumf is the basis for all the operations for the 'war on terror' aside from iraq which was its own aumf (also passed by congress). the part i 'conveniently left off' doesn't do a farking thing. the war powers resolution is applicable to any act of military force, including ongoing military operations. see section (4)(c). the war powers resolution prohibits ANY introduction of forces into hostilities without congress' notice aside from purely defensive actions. the usa patriot act has farking nothing to do with the application of military force overseas. an aumf is not a "means to get the ball rolling sooner", it's the only mechanism by which the ball moves at all

literally every word you posted was wrong

every single thing
 
2014-02-11 10:07:20 PM  

sprawl15: notably, mexico recently legalized vigilantes.


Now that is interesting. Thanks for the link.

Also, MattStafford, I know I've been arguing against most of what you've said, but I just wanted to acknowledge that you're at least making a principled, reasonably consistent argument and there's something to respect in that. It's especially refreshing considering the number of people here who are only upset about a single drone strike out of the hundreds that have been carried out, due to nothing more than the nationality of the guy targeted.
 
2014-02-11 10:47:54 PM  
If we keep killing terrorists, one of these years they will just give up. I'm sure no new terrorists were ever made because the US senselessly killing innocents.
 
2014-02-11 11:00:00 PM  

Biological Ali: Also, MattStafford, I know I've been arguing against most of what you've said, but I just wanted to acknowledge that you're at least making a principled, reasonably consistent argument and there's something to respect in that. It's especially refreshing considering the number of people here who are only upset about a single drone strike out of the hundreds that have been carried out, due to nothing more than the nationality of the guy targeted.


Thanks, and it certainly does seem like you know your stuff, so I have to give you that as well.

I do follow a lot of what you're saying, and it certainly makes sense.  If we have a target that is otherwise unobtainable, and we decide we need to eliminate him, using a drone is better than using conventional weapons.  They result in less civilian casualties and don't require boots on the ground, which results in less recruitment tools for terrorist organizations.

I still maintain that not participating in any sort of military action would be a better deterrent to terrorism than any of our current policies.  It appears that drone striking is our best option if we decide that we do need to take military action, however, I would still say it isn't our best option.  It seems like we think that we can kill all of the terrorists without addressing the underlying causes creating the terrorists, which is completely naive.  Unless you want a perpetual cycle of killing terrorists, letting the next batch show up in their wake, and then killing that group (which would not be surprising to me if certain policymakers wanted that cycle), this policy isn't going to get us anywhere.

The second problem I have with this, and I shied away from it because I don't know all of the legalese, is that we are essentially taking everything the administration says at face value.  If they kill someone, they do not have to provide evidence on how they determined that that person should be killed.  In addition, it appears there is no accountability when it is clear that the wrong person is killed.  While this may be entirely legal per whatever statutes are on the books right now, it certainly rings false when I think about what we as a country should be doing.

To make a comparison, during the Vietnam War, would we have been justified in killing Vietnamese not actively engaging in combat (nor wearing any sort of uniform), based on undocumented suspicion of aiding the Vietcong?  The difference between an American GI in Vietnam executing an (at the time) non combatant without any sort of due process, but with suspicion of aiding the Vietcong (suspicion that never needs to shown or backed up) and our administration executing an (at the time) non combatant without any sort of due process, but with suspicion of aiding Al Qaeda (suspicion that never needs to be shown or backed up) is what?  Would we be fine with an American soldier executing people based on suspicion with no accountability or need to show evidence?  Should we be fine with the administration executing people based on suspicion with no accountability or need to show evidence?  Is it simply that we trust Obama more to get it right?
 
2014-02-11 11:13:59 PM  

Biological Ali: It's obviously not a complete solution, since in order to do away with either problem (whether it's cartel violence or terrorism) would require major socioeconomic evolution, but in the short-term a tough response would still be called for, even if there are tragic innocents killed in the process. If for no other reason, it would have to be done in order to limit the ability of organizations like this to cause even larger amounts of death and suffering.


First, as far as the imminent threat posed by terrorists, I don't particularly buy it, especially when referring to the threat posed to American citizens.  Terrorists have killed essentially zero people in the US relative to all of the people that ever died.  It would be akin to building some trillion dollar space shield with all kinds of negative political ramifications because some meteorite blew up an office building somewhere.

With regards to cartel violence, the somewhat obvious solution would be to legalize drugs, or at least start heading in that direction.  As long as there is money to be made off black market drugs, there will be cartel violence.

With regards to terrorism, the solution (as far as I am concerned) is primarily bringing the terrorists and people supporting the terrorists into the political fold, and giving them some sort of political agency.  People will interpret this as appeasement, but whatever.  If they never have that political agency, they will never stop being terrorists.

Now the difference in these two scenarios how their long and short term goals interact. With the drug cartel, the short term goals and long term goals can be approached simultaneously.  You can crack down on cartel violence while simultaneously changing drug policy.  With terrorism, pursuing the short term goals (at least with our current method) seems particularly at odds with bringing those people into the political fold.

It would be one thing if we were more transparent about what our long term goals with regards to the area were, but we aren't doing that.  It would be one thing if we were more transparent with the justifications on our strikes with regards to who we killed and why we killed them, but we're not.  It would be one thing if we held ourselves accountable for our mistakes, but we don't.

The policies we have in place to pursue the short term goals specifically hinder the long term goals with regards to stopping terrorism.  At least that is how I see it.
 
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