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(Washington Post)   Obama administration weighing targeted drone strike on unnamed American citizen in unknown country doing unrevealed things   ( divider line
    More: Scary, American citizens, Obama, Americans, United States, Obama administration, Gadahn, Anwar al-Awlaki, risk aversion  
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5079 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Feb 2014 at 7:00 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2014-02-11 11:29:24 PM  

MattStafford: 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.

As to your second problem, it's kind of fixed itself over the last year or so as the administration moved away from targeting lower-level operatives and started focusing more on terrorist leaders. And I'd be willing to bet that there is some kind of accountability when there's a genuine fark-up, though it will likely be an internal decision by the military/intelligence agencies about who to demote or let go, and not necessarily announced to the press. It should also be kept in mind that it's not always a fark-up (at least not the kind that calls for somebody to be punished) when the wrong target is chosen, because on rare occasions, even the best intelligence you can find will lead you astray.

As to your first point, there is actually one very reasonable argument that has been made against drone strikes for the sake of pragmatism - that these drone strikes undermine the will of the Pakistani state to carry out its own military operations, and that the most long-lasting progress can be achieved only through the Pakistani military cleaning out those areas with boots on the ground. To that end, it might be worthwhile to ease up for a bit and let the current Pakistani government carry out its experiment with "peace talks" with the Taliban so they can realize what a terrible idea it is and perhaps give leaders like Bilawal Bhutto a chance to raise their profile and further press the issue.

(I highly recommend watching that clip; at least the first couple minutes where they talk about terrorism and dealing with the Taliban - the guy's the leader of one of Pakistan's two major parties, and a potential future Prime Minister, which makes those words especially encouraging)
2014-02-12 01:18:18 AM  
Most presidents circumvent the constitution; it's good to be the king
2014-02-12 12:58:48 PM  
meh, the people get what they asked for
begged for
cried for
hooray 'merica
2014-02-12 02:02:10 PM  
The US's foreign policy is without error so drones are OK.


1953: us overthrows prime minister of Iran. Us installs Shah as dictator

1954: US overthrows democratically elected president of Guatamala. 200,000 civilians killed

1963: US backs assassination of democratically elected south vietnamese president Diem

1963-1975: US military kills 4 million people in south east Asia.

1973: US stages coup in Chile, democratically elected president assassinated. Dictator Augusto Pinochet installed. 5000 chileans murdered.

1977: US backs military rulers of El Salvador. 70,000 Salvador citizens killed

1980s: US trains and equips Osama bin laden and fellow terrorists to kill soviets. CIA gives them $3BILLION.

1981: US trains and funds 'contras', 30,000 Nicaraguan civilians die.

1982: US provides billions in aid to Saddam Hussein for weapons to kill Iranians

1983: US secretly gives Iran weapons to kill Iraqis.

1989: president of Panama (also a CIA agent) disobeys US orders. US invades Panama, 5,000 civilians killed.

1990: Iraq invades Kuwait with weapons from America. US invades Iraq. Bush installs dictator in Kuwait.

1998: US bombs "weapons factory" in Sudan. Factory turns out to be making aspirin.

1991 to present: US bombs Iraq on a weekly basis. Over 600,000 CHILDREN KILLED in bombings and sanctions.
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