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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, 09:21 AM   #31
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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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?
I don't think it's a simple equation, closing Gitmo = less recruits. That's too simplistic.

But it's pretty obvious if you listen to the terrorists and detainees themselves, maintaining Gitmo = more recruits.

It's a lot easier to create hate than to create good will.

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No, it really isn't, because I don't see the drones being used in any other way than to kill our enemies.
That doesn't make any sense.

That's like saying you weren't concerned about Cassel in 2010 because he wasn't totally shitting his pants yet.

If you create the capability for abuse, then that is a problem. I would rather make this an issue before blatant abuse than afterwards. (Though I would argue we're already there.)
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:22 AM   #32
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And you'd be wrong.
So you agree that some winning of hearts and minds is a necessity.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:25 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
I don't think it's a simple equation, closing Gitmo = less recruits. That's too simplistic.

But it's pretty obvious if you listen to the terrorists and detainees themselves, maintaining Gitmo = more recruits.

It's a lot easier to create hate than to create good will.
You are basing this on the word of terrorists?

I'd argue that wasting terrorists is a really good method of actually preventing more terrorists. Would you want to join AQ now with Reapers prowling around?

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That doesn't make any sense.

That's like saying you weren't concerned about Cassel in 2010 because he wasn't totally shitting his pants yet.

If you create the capability for abuse, then that is a problem. I would rather make this an issue before blatant abuse than afterwards. (Though I would argue we're already there.)
You have the capability of being a child molester, but since I see no evidence of it, no, it really doesn't concern me.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:26 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
So you agree that some winning of hearts and minds is a necessity.
No, it isn't a necessity. It may be beneficial in certain ways, however.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:10 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
He said we can't kill ourselves out of this mess.

The smartest thing he's said this entire campaign.
Yes, that's what he said and that's been the position of the leading voices of the Republican Party since we were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:43 AM   #36
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No, it isn't a necessity. It may be beneficial in certain ways, however.
Then I'm confused, other than killing people, what you'd have us do to "win" our struggle against Islamist extremism.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:45 AM   #37
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Then I'm confused, other than killing people, what you'd have us do to "win" our struggle against Islamist extremism.
Are you familiar with how our SF operate in Afghanistan?
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:47 AM   #38
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You are basing this on the word of terrorists?
I'm taking the word of the people who know, which include interrogators, detainees, Al Qaeda themselves, the top brass in the military, and to a lesser degree our political leadership.

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You have the capability of being a child molester, but since I see no evidence of it, no, it really doesn't concern me.
Funny how your position changes from issue to issue.

No evidence that in-person voter fraud is a huge issue -- let's introduce voter ID, says Donger, because we know it could become a huge issue.

No evidence that drone warfare has yet been abused -- well, let's wait for it to become abused first, before we act.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:48 AM   #39
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Yes, that's what he said and that's been the position of the leading voices of the Republican Party since we were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
I'm familiar with the GOP's lip service. Thanks.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:48 AM   #40
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Are you familiar with how our SF operate in Afghanistan?
Very.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:50 AM   #41
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I'm taking the word of the people who know, which include interrogators, detainees, Al Qaeda themselves, the top brass in the military, and to a lesser degree our political leadership.
k

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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Funny how your position changes from issue to issue.

No evidence that in-person voter fraud is a huge issue -- let's introduce voter ID, says Donger, because we know it could become a huge issue.

No evidence that drone warfare has yet been abused -- well, let's wait for it to become abused first, before we act.
Funny how you are incorrectly may position. I never claimed that voter fraud was a huge issue.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:50 AM   #42
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Very.
Please detail it.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:54 AM   #43
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k
Are you disagreeing? That Gitmo has served as a terrorist recruiting tool?

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I never claimed that voter fraud was a huge issue.
You claim we should take preventative measures before it could become one.

But not when it comes to unaccountable drone power...

Your priorities only make one bit of sense when viewed through the lens of a hyperpartisan complex.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:54 AM   #44
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Please detail it.
I'll save myself the usual song and dance and ask what point you're remotely attempting to make.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:54 AM   #45
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I'm familiar with the GOP's lip service. Thanks.
If that's true, I don't know why what Mitt Romney said in the debate seems remarkable to you.
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