Author Topic: Drone Debate  (Read 5017 times)

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Offline shnozzola

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Drone Debate
« on: February 09, 2013, 01:51:01 PM »
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.......... much of the criticism, I think, from conservative press is absolutely valid. If this were George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and we had increased by sixfold the number of unmanned attacks on other countries that are not combatant countries, that we're not at war with, there would have been far more hue and cry.
And it is interesting that the president -- the only criticism of the president seems to be among a few liberals, and the support seems to be from people like John Bolton and the neoconservative community.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/jan-june13/shieldsbrooks_02-08.html

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“There was a mini-bus full of 14 people, including a woman and her two children,” Barman said. “They were headed to the city. Two of the airplanes-without-pilots arrived, one of them came low enough that the passengers of the bus could see it, and it released the first missile. After it hit the car there were still some people alive, and then the second missile was launched and it killed everyone except three.
http://www.theworld.org/2013/02/drone-debate-over-casualties-overlooks-cost-to-those-who-survive/
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 02:28:56 PM »
I saw something on this in the UK press today - I must say that I never read it and cannot understand the fuss.

I suggest reading "100 Years of SolitudeWiki" by Gabriel García Márquez, it is a remarkable book and in it the grandfather is chained to a tree near his house as the people think he is mad. A priest takes pity on him and tries to teach him chess but grandfather refuses to accept any of the standard chess moves, as he does not believe that if the purpose is to win, there should be any artificial barriers to attack.

Let us assume that there are some people in the world who are so set against our ideas that they require killing. It really does not matter that we are not at war with the country in which they reside. How stupid is a rule that would allow gangs from Florida to cross the border into Louisiana and kill people and then return to safety in Florida?

If we have now established that ridding the world of some people is a good thing, then are we going to do it by risking our own men? Would it not be better to do it at a distance? What leader likes welcoming coffins home?

In the past, Vietnam, there was carpet bombing of cities, Agent Orange, napalm, etc. The other side used pits with stakes cover in feces, bombs in bars, snipers in cities, assassins.

You may not like war, but the essence is that you kill the leaders and troublemakers first, at the lowest risk to your side, and a distant second, that you do it cheaply and thirdly that you do it as accurately and quickly as possible, so as to shorten the war.

People will always die in wars and there will always be wars. No weapon has yet been invented, nor will it ever be, that distinguishes between nice people and bad people.

Drones strike terror into the hearts of those who see them. Those who see them live with bad people near them. This is good because the good people want the bad people to leave and thus not see any drones.

Finally, if you are dead, you are dead - the means of your passing is academic.

In conclusion, were I to be in charge of deploying drones, that is what I'd do. They are cheap and effective and don't cost our lives.

We live in the real world, not one where every lunatic and fanatic can be reasoned with by his personal social worker.

Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online Nick

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 03:21:05 PM »
Agree.  War sucks but if you are going to do it do it and be done with it.  Drones accomplish what we need done quickly and without putting boots on the ground.  It allows us to go into their so called safe havens.  I don't know what we are going to do when at some point drones are used against us.  All weapons developed are eventually gotten by all sides.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2013, 04:41:33 PM »
I fall on the other end of the political spectrum.  I don't support the death penalty.  But even when it is imposed in the US, the person who is put to death has been tried by a court of law and found guilty. 

Sketchy intel gathered from countries whose cultures we don't even pretend to understand, often does not constitute what would be considered "probable cause" in the US.  And certainly does not merit aiming drones at targets who we assume are guilty, without regard to the innocent people who happen to be in the same region as the target. 

I voted for Obama twice, and for the most part, I am delighted to call him my president.  But the drone issue will always haunt me. 

Offline shnozzola

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2013, 09:13:15 PM »
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The worry is we'll have 30,000 drones crisscrossing the sky.
- quoted as a small neighborhood drone with a camera quietly cruises above a housewife sunbathing.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/rise-of-the-drones.html
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Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2013, 10:17:21 PM »
Hasn't every new weapon system faced the same moral inquisition? If a war is on, there will be deaths and it will be the intent of each combatant to minimize the casualties on their side. I would side with the drones because it puts less people in danger, no matter what the cause or justification of that particular conflict. The role of a drone is very similar to a sniper in the combat zone, delivering death from (relative) safety.

Personally I would say "drone" is an insult, these unmanned and remotely piloted air vehicles are technological marvels, they represent a major step in aviation. Drones were the target aircraft used for pilot and gunnery training.

Online Nick

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2013, 10:30:16 PM »
You know this may be a little off topic but we might be missing a money making opportunity here.  We could make a fancy tin foil hat with some nice color/writing on it and market it as a special drone blocking headwear.  Think how many of our mis informed ciizens would jump at the change to put it to the government.  I suggest $19.95 plus S&H...order now and get another one free...just pay separate S$H.  Thats 2 drone blocking fashionable headwear for $19.95.  Don't delay...drones are out there now.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 12:52:22 PM »
Sketchy intel gathered from countries whose cultures we don't even pretend to understand, often does not constitute what would be considered "probable cause" in the US.
Intel should never be used as "probable cause" - intel is not evidence.

Indeed, sketchy intel is the cause of much trouble, but, of its nature, intelligence is sketchy. Sometimes the sketch is pretty clear (whereabouts of Bin Laden) and sometimes (weapons of mass destruction) it is not. The trouble is that of the 64 grades of the quality of intelligence and the 6 levels of secrecy, it is an art, not a science to judge where any one item will lie for accuracy.

Pure intel does not reveal the source - it could be Fox News, the man standing next to you, your best agent, the enemy's papers, the man who was standing at the adjacent urinal talking to his friend, something someone said etc.

If the intel is merely about someone having seen someone they don't know at a certain place and time, who's to say how important it is now, as opposed to how important it will be in the future. The other thing is it's accuracy; who's saying it, what interests they have, the quality of their previous intel, is it hear-say, etc. If you don't know, how do you judge?

If you have nothing else, you make the judgement as to when and how to react based upon a serious assessment of all intelligence and aspects of the intelligence. The problem here is that the value of the target does, but should not, influence the action. This is the risk assessment that goes with all intel-operations.  The risk assessment contains a best and worse assessment of collateral damage and advice on how High Command and politicians should react (usually, they are given a few options depending on what comes out publicly.)

The war must be fought, and if you cannot have intel on the ground, you have to take intel where you can find it. But if you do not have intel on the ground, then the situation is serious and intel only ops are justified.

And never think that the enemy is bothered about much of the above when carrying out their operations - they take the part of grandfather and chess in my post above.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 04:33:13 PM »
Well, the sheer volume of these supposedly “valuable targets” is a little overwhelming.   As is the collateral damage. 

Here are a few statistics about drone strikes in Pakistan over the past 9 years:

•   Total strikes: 362
•   Total reported killed: 2,629 – 3,461
•   Civilians reported killed: 475 – 891
•   Children reported killed: 176
•   Total reported injured: 1,267 – 1,431   Total strikes: 362
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_attacks_in_Pakistan

Hard to justify most of these numbers.  176 kids? 

US drones have killed children in other countries too.  In Yemen, for example, our drones have killed lots of innocent people, including a high school student from Denver. 




The kid’s (estranged) dad did propaganda for al Qaeda.  The kid liked to play football and computer games. 

Lots of folks have died in airstrikes in Yemen.  In Somalia.  Libya.

And those are the countries we are not even at war with.  In Afghanistan in 2012, we averaged about one drone strike per day.  Now I am certain some bad guys died in these attacks. 

But try to imagine this scenario.

It is a Sunday afternoon, and you are sitting at your laptop, reading the forums, when all of a sudden, you hear an explosion.  You look out the window, and several of your neighbors’ homes are on fire.  Bloody people without limbs are staggering down the street.  Alarms are ringing and fire trucks are arriving.  You find out later that the nice lady down the street who grows petunias and her elderly husband were killed, along with their granddaughter who they were babysitting.  In all, a half a dozen are dead, and a dozen injured. 

But, it turns out, a really really really bad man, who had written terrible things about people in other countries, and who might have even plotted to kill people in those countries, was in the house next to the nice lady who grows petunias.  And the foreign government, who sent the drone, was successful in hitting their target.  The bad man is dead. 

Seriously.  Think through the scenario.  Who would you be mad at as you watched the carnage and the destruction of your neighborhood?  The bad man who said mean things about foreigners?  Or the people who sent the drone?

I don’t think we are exactly winning the hearts and minds of the innocent folks who have survived these attacks.

Do you?



Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 09:02:16 PM »
Quesi, would you agree that there a few targets in the area that needs to be taken out? Dangerous men/women who would plan mass murder without any qualms? (Why they would want that may not be pertinent to this topic)

How would you suggest the containment of the enemy is to be handled? The threat is undeniable, action is inevitable.

In your post above there is an element that is not listed. Stateside casualties 0.00

'Drones' may not be winning the hearts and minds of the innocent victims, but then again, the little girl's father is not returning to homeland in a box. If you can suggest a viable containment option, then we can really discuss the numbers involved, maybe 'drones' would be the more logical method.

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 09:30:47 PM »
There are obviously several sides of this argument, and I'm not quite sure which one I agree with the most. But I did a little thought experiment. I imagined that the Mexican government had drones flying over the United States, designed to take out drug users who were, by default, supporting the drug lords in Mexico. Whenever they found people using drugs, they would take them out with missiles. Sure, they might sometimes get little kids and innocent neighbors and medical marijuana patients and stuff like that, but I'm pretty sure all Americans would go along with such a plan, because like the Pakistani's and Sudanese and others, we wouldn't have a choice anyway.

Again, I don't know whether it is right nor not, but I keep wondering how many new terrorists we create every day by wandering around in the Middle East killing willy-nilly. Somehow I think we're going to start suffering a drone shortage because we're creating too many new targets as a byproduct of hitting too many suspected targets.

Remember that Bin Laden and gang attacked us in the first place because the US maintained its presence in the Middle East after the first Iraq War. Continuing to maintain that presence is helping how?

On the bright side, the drone operators in Las Vegas, NV can get PTSD without ever leaving the country. Isn't technology wonderful?

Of course now that the technology has been perfected, it will cause one other change in the war on terror. Pretty soon suicide bombers will be turning in their bomb vests for remote controls, and in our lifetime we will witness terrorist drone attacks. Because, sadly, we're not the only ones willing to fuck with other peoples lives.

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Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 09:52:29 PM »
You know, Sun_king, al Qaeda was formed in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  The US intelligence community had decided that the best way to combat the spread of secular communism, was to build a sense of nationalism around the concept of Islam, to get Afghanis to fight against the Soviets, and to recruit more educated folks with access to resources from other parts of the region.  Including bin Laden.  My parents’ tax dollars paid for the Madrassas that educated the folks who flew planes into those tall buildings a few miles away from me. 

In retrospect, the US intelligence community was successful in keeping the Soviets from expanding their territory.  But they created the dangers that we are living with today.   The policies of the US intelligence community created the Taliban.  They created bin Laden.  They created the religious fervor, intentionally, to rally a force to fight against the secular Soviets. 

A lot of crazy, radical lunatics were created in the vacuum that we left in Afghanistan.  And now, decades later, they are a threat to us, and we are hunting them down.   But for every crazy radical lunatic who we hit with a drone, who knows how many future radical crazy lunatics will be created as a result of anger and loss and resentment about that drone strike. 

I do not pretend to understand the complexities of South Asia and its relationship to the greater Muslim world.  I certainly don’t pretend to understand the region in the way that you do. 

But I cannot believe that in the long run, our actions will simply eliminate the bad guys, and then we can move on with the rest of the forward march of humanity. I agree with Parkingplaces.  We are probably creating more bad guys than we are eliminating. 

I would prefer policies that lead to the marginalization of the radical lunatics.   I would prefer policies that lead towards education and increased literacy for the general population.  Policies that work to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the region.  Policies that eliminate both the rallying cries of the Islamic extremists, and the susceptibility of the masses to fall for their bullshit. 


Edited to add some info about the US role in creating al Qaeda.  http://planet.infowars.com/worldnews/australia-oceania/the-usas-role-in-creating-al-qaeda

« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 09:56:34 PM by Quesi »

Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 11:20:53 PM »
So it wasn't drone strikes that created the enemy (I would still like to keep this generic), the sad reality is that it doesn't take much to make enemies in this world. I would say that the remotely piloted vehicles kill less than the Tomahawks and with its ability to go closer to leadership, the UAV/RPVs have better chance of subduing the enemy. This isnt an entity where competency runs down the hierarchy, kill the heads and the rest becomes less potent. At this time, the UAV/RPVs can achieve this with less collateral damage than any other known combat methods.

The enemy has been made, anything you do is bound to find more sympathizers.

<snip>
I would prefer policies that lead to the marginalization of the radical lunatics.   I would prefer policies that lead towards education and increased literacy for the general population.  Policies that work to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the region.  Policies that eliminate both the rallying cries of the Islamic extremists, and the susceptibility of the masses to fall for their bullshit. 
<snip>

Noble thoughts, but that would not work in this world. We are talking about the people who shot Malala and has sworn to finish the job. I have the feeling that they may reject your offer of education.

Offline void of gods crutch

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 11:40:56 PM »
i think with drones, they're doing the best they can with the intel they have. i don't believe that they are aiming for day cares or schools, and it does keep our guys safer than sending in yet more troops, it's also better than some of those bad guys coming over onto our soil, so i'm for them for the most part i guess. it does suck that people die who aren't supposed to. it sucked that thousands of people died in 9/11, in the buildings, and hundreds more in the planes used as weapons, those people were as innocent as the children killed in drone attacks. no one asked for it, so i don't see a difference there.
innocent lives are typically lost during times of war. that's part of war. mistakes are made, and we try to keep those mistakes to a minimum, but shit happens. always does. if we can get our guys outta there as much as possible, and send in planes that are unmanned instead...then i say we won the war. ps, bad guys don't play by our rules when it comes to combat, kill or be killed, the end, the u.s. has more rules for engagement than most countries and is most likely held to those types of standards more than a lot of countries, i'm not going to nit pick a soldier if accidents happen.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2013, 10:12:37 AM »
Middle East expert and professor Juan Cole has written extensively about drones and how they have been used and reported.  17 postings at his blog:
http://www.juancole.com/drone

I find it most useful to start with the oldest and read chronologically. 

Cole has several objections to the way drones are used.

1. They are used to carry out covert wars in areas where no authorization has been specifically given.  This flirts with breaking the constitution and may make it a war crime.
2. the innocent people killed by our drone policy has been drastically underreported in part because the Obama administration considers every male killed by drones to be a combatant. 
3. The high civilian death rate in turn makes people hate us more.

These are crude tools, as is all aerial bombardment.  They are not instruments to win hearts and minds. 

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2013, 10:21:35 AM »
i think with drones, they're doing the best they can with the intel they have.

Often "the best they can" is not good enough. I'm speaking broadly, not just specifically on drone use.

i don't believe that they are aiming for day cares or schools,

They have on occasion knowingly aimed at civilians - women and children - because a suspected bad guy was there.  Emphasis on suspected.

and it does keep our guys safer than sending in yet more troops,

I question the idea that we need to be fighting there at all right now.

it's also better than some of those bad guys coming over onto our soil,

I find this to be another questionable idea.  I think for the most part, the people who are "plotting" against us are doing so to get us out of their valley.  Once we leave, they will go back to their primitive existence of raising goats and killing people from rival tribes.

it sucked that thousands of people died in 9/11, in the buildings, and hundreds more in the planes used as weapons, those people were as innocent as the children killed in drone attacks. no one asked for it, so i don't see a difference there.

two wrongs make a right?

that's part of war.

congress has not declared war.  This is essentially a covert war waged by the president using an 11 year old Authorization of Force memo.

the u.s. has more rules for engagement than most countries and is most likely held to those types of standards more than a lot of countries, i'm not going to nit pick a soldier if accidents happen.

So you want to be able to claim the moral high ground, but you also want to be able to ignore it or look the other direction when it suits you.  That is not moral.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2013, 10:49:13 AM »
This Modern World has also had a lot to say about how drones have been used.  The latest:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/11/1185328/-Professor-Droney

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2013, 11:09:18 AM »
Total strikes: 362
•   Total reported killed: 2,629 – 3,461
•   Civilians reported killed: 475 – 891
•   Children reported killed: 176
•   Total reported injured: 1,267 – 1,431   Total strikes: 362

I see those figures as respectable. Taking the maximum – 3461 killed, of which 891 are non-combatants– less than 1 to 4.5 and 1 in 20 are children. (Remember, the children have been double counted - once as civilians - once as children.)

Can we think of a war in which children did not die? Can we think of terror attacks in which children did die?

Have you considered that, if you know you are a target, you should minimise the risk by not travelling with innocent women and children? Have you considered that the Mujahidin are not gentlemen – they do hole up in schools, mosques and hospitals and do travel on public transport?
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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2013, 11:26:18 AM »
What we need to do is accept terrorism the way we accept auto accidents. We freaked out over 9/11 because 3,000 people, died, yet we kill more than that every month on our highways and shrug our shoulders. Almost 400,000 of us have died in car wrecks since 9/11. Do we have drones shooting speeders off the road? I don't think so. And we shoot each other. We've murdered 160-170,000 of our own since 9/11. Too, suicide by obesity continues to skyrocket. And we over-respond to only one of the things that is killing us? It would be cheaper to factor in flakey folks with suicide vests the way we do car deaths.

Hundreds of thousands have die, mostly foreigners, because of how we responded, and many were innocents. And I'm pretty sure we created more new and/or potential terrorists than we ever destroyed. And virtually every one of our soldiers who served in a war comes home with PTSD, and many, many more have died via suicide than in action against the enemy. We need to find a better way to respond to problems than just simply ruining lots of lives.

And we shouldn't be so frickin' good at giving people excuses to kill us.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2013, 12:04:59 PM »
Can we think of a war in which children did not die? Can we think of terror attacks in which children did die?

Are we actually at war?  Are we to use terrorists as our measuring stick?

I think it was a mistake to treat al qaeda as equals and essentially declare war.  It made them appear more important than they were.  They should have been treated as criminals.
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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2013, 12:29:16 PM »
On the other hand, it was great that we attacked Iraq on false pretenses. Gotta keep up our planet cred. I hear the Obama administration is seriously eyeing The Maldives. We were going to attack Madagascar but one of our generals has an innate fear of places with indigenous animals.

The US is full of tough mofo's and we're willing to kill our young to prove it. Watch out planet. Your real estate may be next.

More seriously, let us not forget that both sides are quite inspired by religious beliefs to do each other in. Even if I thought that drones were the greatest thing since sliced bread, I would want better reasons to use them than just disliking the architectural design of the other guys place of worship.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2013, 12:42:13 PM »
Can we think of a war in which children did not die? Can we think of terror attacks in which children did die?

Are we actually at war?  Are we to use terrorists as our measuring stick?

I think it was a mistake to treat al qaeda as equals and essentially declare war.  It made them appear more important than they were.  They should have been treated as criminals.
No, technically, we are not - there are many legal difficulties in declaring war against a non-national organisation. In war, Terrorists/Freedom Fighters are not uniformed - all non-uniformed combatants may be summarily shot, as may anyone reasonably suspected of helping them - we do not necessarily do this with Terrorists/Freedom Fighters.

The idea of treating them as criminals was tried by the UK government against the IRA - it didn't work. The main reason is that criminals know and accept that they have done something wrong and that punishment awaits if caught. Terrorist/Freedom Fighter organisations and their supporters do not recognise this at all - to them, we are the aggressor; we are the criminals.

A Freedom Fighter is someone who opposes, with arms, a regime or authority that he cannot change by democratic means.

A Terrorist is someone who opposes, with arms, a regime or authority that he could otherwise change by democratic means.

However, much depends on where you re when you are looking at the actual person.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2013, 03:32:57 PM »
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Offline sun_king

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2013, 03:45:49 PM »
some thoughts on the coming wave of domestic drones.
http://americablog.com/2013/02/stalker-drones-they-will-look-through-windows-read-your-lips-see-through-walls.html

A telephoto lens can do the window peeping and lip reading (being done for decades now), with less chance of being swatted by a stick or hit with a shoe.


Offline shnozzola

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2013, 06:23:10 PM »
In the piece from Shields and Brooks, Mark Shields says the drones make war "nice".  Only nice for one side.  In a way, it reminds me of the star trek episode "A Taste of Armageddon," where computerized war requires people to quietly report to disintegration chambers for required death quotas.  Kirk blows up the computer, reminding the two sides how horrible war must remain to keep everyone from living with it.
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Offline void of gods crutch

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2013, 01:20:31 AM »
i think with drones, they're doing the best they can with the intel they have.

Often "the best they can" is not good enough. I'm speaking broadly, not just specifically on drone use.

i didn't say it's good enough screw, i said it was the best they could do with what intel they had. i agree with you, believe it or not..i don't think it's good enough either, but i believe they are being told certain things that in their minds warrents this action, not in our minds, mind you, but their minds. so they have to go off of that. thus, we do too. not to mention, these people in control of these drones are mearly following orders of higher ups, i don't blame the controller for a decision that wasn't truely his to make. 
i don't believe that they are aiming for day cares or schools,

They have on occasion knowingly aimed at civilians - women and children - because a suspected bad guy was there.  Emphasis on suspected.

while they're aiming for 'bad guys' i don't believe they are set on just hitting schools or children on purpose. maybe they are. and maybe that's where the chicken shit bad guys are hiding out because they think we wouldn't hit those places, which obviously by now, they should know we'll hit where ever we think they might be. i don't believe that they are aiming just for kids for the hell of it.
and it does keep our guys safer than sending in yet more troops,

I question the idea that we need to be fighting there at all right now.

personally i think it's past time our guys came home. i think the u.s. needs to mind it's feking business for a change and let other people kill each other how they want. tired of it always being our problem to fix shit for other countries. fix it your damn selves. then you'll have nothing to complain about when we miss a bad guy and hit his wife and kid instead.
it's also better than some of those bad guys coming over onto our soil,

I find this to be another questionable idea.  I think for the most part, the people who are "plotting" against us are doing so to get us out of their valley.  Once we leave, they will go back to their primitive existence of raising goats and killing people from rival tribes.

which would be fine with me. but there are still sleeper cells stateside that are on our dirt right now just waiting for their moment. lucky for us, they aren't here like we are there constantly blowing shit up. if we have to fight, i don't want it in my backyard, i dunno about you screw.
 
it sucked that thousands of people died in 9/11, in the buildings, and hundreds more in the planes used as weapons, those people were as innocent as the children killed in drone attacks. no one asked for it, so i don't see a difference there.

two wrongs make a right?

of course two wrongs don't make a right lol who said that!? innocent lives lost are innocent lives lost,no matter the age, or location. they are all equally dead for no good reason. right??
that's part of war.

congress has not declared war.  This is essentially a covert war waged by the president using an 11 year old Authorization of Force memo.

sure doesn't seem very covert to me lol the sodiers fighting and dying over there would probably disagree and say we're in a war. regardless what the white house admits to or not. my girlfriends son just got back from over there, he just confirmed a war was still going on. his buddies are still getting hit. so if congress wants to admit it or not...it's happening. and if it's not happening, then why aren't our sodiers home where they should be? why are we still sending aid? why are troops still being deployed to go over and fight?  apparently, congress doesn't know everything. who knew!??!
the u.s. has more rules for engagement than most countries and is most likely held to those types of standards more than a lot of countries, i'm not going to nit pick a soldier if accidents happen.

So you want to be able to claim the moral high ground, but you also want to be able to ignore it or look the other direction when it suits you.  That is not moral.
i want to claim the ground that at least we have rules about war, and we try to stick to them, however, it's awful hard to do when only one side has those rules they have to stick to. and the other team can play as dirty as they'd like, with no reprecussions. and again, accident happen. people die. kids die. women die. elderly die. men die. accidents happen. welcome to the real world.  i'm not saying look the other direction either, i said i'm not going to nit pick an accident caused by a soldier. doesn't mean you ignore it. just means i'd deal with it, and move on. not sit and dwell over an accident. they happen. i understand that. that's why they're called accidents, not on purposes.
i'm not saying drones are the only way to go. i certainly understand they are another method we have at our disposal however. sure it seems unfair to the people on the ground. hey, maybe don't do stupid shit that makes our country want to come after your country if you don't have your own drones to play with. again. u.s. could mind it's own business..stay out of these countries in turmoil, save billions of dollars, thousands of lives, countless resources, we give aid right after we blow their shit up, so i don't know how much more nice we can be about stuff.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2013, 05:26:49 AM »
The strategies implemented by Malala and her family are the strategies that are going to bring about change in the long run.  Not this year.  Not this decade.  This assassination attempt has caused the Taliban to lose a lot of credibility among those who are grasping for solutions to improve the truly wretched circumstances in which they live. 

The Taliban present themselves as the solution that will bring safety and order, and even prosperity to the most impoverished and desperate people.   In 2001, literacy rates in Afghanistan were at about 12%.  http://www.accu.or.jp/esd/forum_esd_2010/program/program12_01/pdf/presentation5.pdf Lower for the Pashtun people.  And much lower for Pashtun women.  Everyone alive had lived through decades of war, in a nation with no infrastructure.  They wander back and forth across the border into Pakistan, where they are not subject to the same rights as the general Pakistani population. 

The Pashtun in Pakistan (and make no mistake, the Taliban are Pashtun)[1]don’t fare much better.   Although literacy in Pakistan is more than 70%, among the Pashtun it is about 17%.  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/05/pakistans-pashtun-reservation

There are a lot of social problems here, that are not going to be resolved by targeted drones.   And every drone strike makes them angrier.

The Taliban offer a way to direct that anger. 

People like Malala’s family offer strategies to address the root causes of their misery. 

Now unless we plan on genocide, and plan to wipe out the entire Pashtun population, I’m pretty confidant the only way to defeat the Taliban is to make their absurd solutions irrelevant to the Pashtun people.  And the way to do that is through education.       
 1. But not all 40-50 million Pashtuns are Taliban

Offline screwtape

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2013, 10:13:54 AM »
i want to claim the ground that at least we have rules about war, and we try to stick to them, however, it's awful hard to do when only one side has those rules they have to stick to. and the other team can play as dirty as they'd like, with no reprecussions.

Yes.  That is the high moral ground. You are saying we have rules (thus, more moral) and they do not (thus, less moral).  I seem to understand what you are saying and you seem to agree with what I have said on this topic.

i'm not saying look the other direction either, i said i'm not going to nit pick an accident caused by a soldier.

I do not know what you mean by "nit pick".  It sounds a lot like looking the other direction to me, but maybe you mean something else. 

We're not strictly talking about accidents.  I've posted links where it talks about how attacks were knowingly ordered against civilians.  Or they have ordered attacks based on faulty "intel", which seems to be the only kind of intel our intel community can produce.  No one seems to be accountable for that.  I'm not saying the drone operators should be, because these are not their decisions to make.  They are decisions made by generals, contractors and civilian leaders. 

doesn't mean you ignore it. just means i'd deal with it, and move on.

I don't know what you mean by "deal with it".  To me it sounds a lot like "ignore it", but maybe you mean something else. 

not sit and dwell over an accident. they happen.

One of my job functions is safety.  I deal with this kind statement often.  Let me give you some information to help you understand the nature of accidents better.   

Accidents do not just happen out of thin air.  They happen for reasons.  They happen because people have made bad decisions, done stupid things, or because they failed to take precautions.  An engineer in my company lost his eye not long ago.  This did not just "happen".   He was not minding his business at his desk and his eyeball just fell out.  It happened because he used a screwdriver as a prybar, pointed toward his face, and was not wearing mandatory safety glasses.  The screwdriver slipped out of position and he jammed it into his eye.  Accidents happen?  No.  All accidents are by definition, avoidable.

We do not dwell on accidents, per se, but we do investigate them to make sure the same mistakes are not repeated.  How stupid would it be to let a second person poke his eye out for the same reasons?  We investigate things as simple as splinters or tripping on a rug.  We are even supposed to report and investigate "near miss" incidents - cases where someone  narrowly avoided being hurt, by chance or skill - to make sure they are not repeated with less fortunate outcomes.

Does that seem like a reasonable approach when talking about dropping bombs on people?

And anyway, as I've already said, in many instances killing civilians was not a mistake.  It was a calculated cost.  In a traditional war, like WW2, it might be an acceptable cost.  But this is not a war like WW2 and we will never fight a war like WW2 again.  We need to understand that.  We need to find ways to win these kinds of wars.  Otherwise we will continue to lose war after war after war as we have Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.

i'm not saying drones are the only way to go.

It seems to me aerial bombardment is a terrible way to go unless the goal is to completely eradicate a people.  That might be an okay way to go.  Just kill everyone.  Cheaper, simpler, easier to "win".  Or a different kind of win.  But for at least the last 250 years or so (1000 years?) that has been considered socially unacceptable and a war crime. 

hey, maybe don't do stupid shit...

Oh, this is good.  Blame the people being bombed for being bombed.  I take it you've given up defending your position.

so i don't know how much more nice we can be about stuff.

Seriously?  You are fresh outof ideas?  Here's a thought, perhaps we could stop killing their children.  Do you think that would be a nice thing to do?  And hey, that might actually have the added bonus of helping us "win".


Here are just a few essays from one of my favorie websites regardind drones and how we wage war. 

http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175195/nick_turse_40_year_drone_war
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175447/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175454/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175482/tomgram%3A_nick_turse,_the_life_and_death_of_american_drones/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175489/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175507/tom_engelhardt_remotely_piloted_war
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175551/engelhardt_assassin-in-chief
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175649/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_a_conspiracy_of_stupidity/

there is lots more.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Drone Debate
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2013, 01:07:11 PM »
We are even supposed to report and investigate "near miss" incidents - cases where someone  narrowly avoided being hurt, by chance or skill - to make sure they are not repeated with less fortunate outcomes.

Does that seem like a reasonable approach when talking about dropping bombs on people?
Yes, this is what is done - Did we get our target? If not, how can we make it better next time?

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...We need to find ways to win these kinds of wars.  Otherwise we will continue to lose war after war after war as we have Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.
The solution is to chose your enemy.

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... aerial bombardment is a terrible way to go ... Just kill everyone.  Cheaper, simpler, easier to "win".  Or a different kind of win.  But for at least the last 250 years or so (1000 years?) that has been considered socially unacceptable and a war crime.
~70 years ago, the bombing of London and Dresden - neither were tried as war crimes. Last significant carpet bombing of a major city - Operations Linebacker and Linebacker II 1972.

Following the discussions of "How can we make this more effective, we have smart bombs and missiles capable of striking to within 5 metres at 1000 miles.

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Oh, this is good.  Blame the people being bombed for being bombed.  I take it you've given up defending your position.
War consists of both sides telling the other, "Stop it!" One usually comes out on top.

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Here's a thought, perhaps we could stop killing their children.
It's hard to remember your job is to drain the swamp when you're up to your arse in crocodiles. I'm not sure what this constant reference to children is - are they somehow more valuable than non-combatants in general, the old, the sick, the perfectly fit who have evaded the draft? I'm old and I'd expect some concern if I were killed!

There is a Noble Prize for the person who finds a way of killing only bad people. The military are open to suggestions.

Do not forget, war is the continuance of diplomacy by other means - common diplomacy may continue after the war.

On the other hand, a war merely shows who has the better weapons and generals; it never shows who was right or had the better ideas.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”