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Old 11-06-2012, 06:43 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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The un-discussed issue this election cycle: drones.

I've written about how much I've really come to hate our unaccountable drone war that goes through no due process, no legislative mandate, and no transparency in how the Pentagon reports its results.

It's already been pointed out that our drone campaign is inefficient and creates more terrorists. Mitt Romney himself has argued that killing cannot be our answer anymore in the Middle East.

Conservatives: do you trust John Edwards with unlimited drone ability?

Liberals: do you trust Sarah Palin with unlimited drone ability?

Because if you can't, and these people could have become President over the past however-many years, then this program needs to change.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-1...-campaign.html

Why Drones Stayed Out of Sight in the 2012 Campaign
By Ramesh Ponnuru
Nov 5, 2012 5:30 PM CT

“Homeland,” Showtime’s series about an al-Qaeda sleeper agent in Congress, is both implausible and addictive. President Barack Obama is a fan. That means he has heard more discussion of the downside of drone strikes in a television drama than he has in the presidential race.

In the foreign-policy debate on Oct. 22, moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS asked Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, about the use of drones. Romney responded, “I support that entirely and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology and believe that we should continue to use it to continue to go after the people who represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.”

This bouquet in hand, Obama didn’t even have to use the word “drone” when his turn came to speak.

Neither side wants to look softer than the other on terrorists. Hence the bipartisan support for the strikes. Liberal groups that might be inclined to protest the policy have been quiet because Obama put it in place. The lack of debate about our reliance on drones is a shame, because there are both practical and moral objections to it.

Bipartisan Worries

A few conservatives have raised one practical concern: Killing terrorists is justified, they say, but we need to kill fewer and capture more to gain intelligence. You don’t have to support waterboarding, as some of these critics do, to agree with that point.

Another concern, raised by a few liberals, is that the strikes have increased anti-Americanism abroad. (On “Homeland,” one of them turns an American soldier into a terrorist.) The Pew Research Center has found strong opposition to drone strikes in almost every country. The strikes may also be setting a dangerous precedent, goes another argument, since “more than 70 countries now own some type of drone.”

But the morality of the policy is what most deserves scrutiny. The tradition of thinking about wartime ethics holds that it is permissible to cause the death of innocent civilians under certain conditions: when the war itself is just, the deaths are unintended and the number of innocents killed is proportional to the good the military action is expected to achieve.

Attacks on terrorists from the air meet the first two criteria even if civilians get killed. Whether they meet the third is harder to determine, largely because we don’t have reliable numbers. In January, Obama said, “I want to make sure that people understand actually drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.” A report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found hundreds of civilian casualties in Pakistan, including 176 children.

In May, the New York Times reported one possible explanation for the discrepancy in estimates: Obama “in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” In other words, Obama has not found much evidence of civilian casualties because he’s not looking for any. The Times also reported that former senior intelligence officials doubt the administration’s public line about low casualties.

The alternatives to drone strikes have costs. Ground operations would also cause civilian casualties and could put American troops at risk. Scaling back the drone strikes risks letting some terrorists go to plot more evil. But the costs of killing, injuring, endangering and terrifying civilians have to be entered into the equation.

Robert P. George, a professor of politics at Princeton University and a leading social conservative, argues that “considerations of justice to noncombatants” sometimes forbid drone strikes “even if that means grave risks must be endured by our own forces in the prosecution of a war.”

Rule of Thumb

If we wouldn’t be willing to expose our troops to those risks, then maybe the mission isn’t so compelling that it justifies exposing civilians to them either. That’s the conclusion that Kurt Volker, the head of the McCain Institute for International Leadership and a former ambassador, has reached. He writes that “a good rule of thumb might be that we should authorize drone strikes only if we would be willing to send in a pilot or soldier to do the job if a drone were not available.”

Rules of thumb are probably the best we can hope for on this question, since we need a policy that makes use of drone strikes while drawing the line when the risks to civilians become too high. The danger is that using them is so convenient for policy makers that we will use them too much.

The president’s aides told the Times that he is a “student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas” and can be trusted to make the right judgments. His practical definition of combatants as anyone we happened to kill suggests otherwise, although too much of the program is secret to say for sure. The fact that we have barely debated this issue makes it hard to believe that our political system is getting it right, either.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:36 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
By defanging them.


So, in your fantasy world, if we are nice-nice to the radicals, they'll stop wanting to kill us?
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:58 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by dirk digler View Post
How else do you defeat your enemy in war? By Showing them naked pictures of yourself?
We don't use them on our enemies though. When it's just a handful of terrorists and you have this much collateral damage...then it's just being a criminal murderous sociopath.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:59 AM   #18
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If we wouldn’t be willing to expose our troops to those risks, then maybe the mission isn’t so compelling that it justifies exposing civilians to them either.
This is pretty much how I see it.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:17 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Drones are coming to the skies of America as well. For law enforcement and even private companies. It's going to clash with the Bill of Rights. This is something that John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute is tackling with some new legislation. Most people don't know how fast this technology is growing and how it will affect privacy.

This is more of a concern to me than use of drones in foreign skies, which, btw, is going to be the new warfare. Drones are already proliferating worldwide. Something like 80 countries alreaedy have at least some version of drones in their armament supply.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:18 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Mitt Romney didn't say that killing can't be our answer anymore.

You don't win the war by killing your way out of it, was the gist of what he said I believe, and it's obviously true.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:20 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Drones are coming to the skies of America as well.
They are already here and in use I assure you
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:24 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
You don't win the war by killing your way out of it, was the gist of what he said I believe, and it's obviously true.
I agree. It's so obvious that it was also the view of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and almost every high profile neocon I can think of. It was the "anymore" part of Direckshun's paraphrase that made it wrong. There was nothing particularly remarkable about Romney's statement.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:15 AM   #23
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
I hate to clue you in, but killing our enemies is a rather crucial part of defeating them.

How exactly would Direckshun go about making the extremists not hate us any more?
The extremists are extremists, and little we can do will make a difference.

But their mission depends on new recruits.

New recruits we are flooding to them with our current policy. My solution? Reverse much of our current policy. Post 12.

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I didn't say that.
Ah, so the lack of accountability is troublesome to you?
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:15 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by dirk digler View Post
I don't disagree with your statement about Gitmo and abuse but in the end you either try to win them over somehow or you kill them.

For example in Iraq, we really didn't destroy the enemy we paid them off, but some people can't be paid off so you do what you have to do to make sure they don't kill Americans.
You're not entirely wrong.

Again, I'm not interested in winning over the extremists. Their entire mission depends on new recruits.

We can embrace policies that shallows out that pool, or deepens it.

The deeper it is, the more effective their mission can be.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:16 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Mitt Romney didn't say that killing can't be our answer anymore.
He said we can't kill ourselves out of this mess.

The smartest thing he's said this entire campaign.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:17 AM   #26
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post


So, in your fantasy world, if we are nice-nice to the radicals, they'll stop wanting to kill us?
Swing and a miss.

It's mind-boggling to me that after ten years you still have no idea what my argument is.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:17 AM   #27
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This is pretty much how I see it.
Amen.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:18 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
The extremists are extremists, and little we can do will make a difference.

But their mission depends on new recruits.

New recruits we are flooding to them with our current policy. My solution? Reverse much of our current policy. Post 12.
And you really think that closing Gitmo, etc. is going to lead to fewer recruits for the extremists? You ARE aware that Al Qaeda began BEFORE we had all these meanie type things, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Ah, so the lack of accountability is troublesome to you?
No, it really isn't, because I don't see the drones being used in any other way than to kill our enemies. Now, for the third time, I take it you aren't either, right?
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:18 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
There was nothing particularly remarkable about Romney's statement.
I think Donger would disagree.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:19 AM   #30
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I think Donger would disagree.
And you'd be wrong.
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