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Old 11-25-2012, 12:32 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Obama administration pushed for "drone rulebook" during the election.

Imagine that.

President Obama and his administration were perfectly fine with the drone program's complete extralegal operation in the shadows with no accountability and no legal red tape guiding their operations to make sure the power to kill people far, far away weren't absolute.

Then, the election rolls along. There's a chance that Mitt Romney actually wins the thing, and at this point the Obama administration realizes: maybe it's not a good thing to have limitless, extralegal power to kill with no accountability? I mean, the Republicans aren't us, we can't trust them as much.

Epic ****ing facepalm. The realization that accountability needs to be in place to protect us from the other party, rather than to protect the most basic foundations of American jurisprudence, due process, and public service. Just shockingly stupid.

Add into all of this: the Obama administration is seeking a rulebook. Whatever that is. Legal framework? Legal accountability? Better access for oversight? It may not be until another Republican comes close to winning a Presidential election before we find out. Christ.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/wo...pagewanted=all

Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy
By SCOTT SHANE
Published: November 24, 2012

WASHINGTON — Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.

The matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6. But with more than 300 drone strikes and some 2,500 people killed by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military since Mr. Obama first took office, the administration is still pushing to make the rules formal and resolve internal uncertainty and disagreement about exactly when lethal action is justified.

Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory.

Though publicly the administration presents a united front on the use of drones, behind the scenes there is longstanding tension. The Defense Department and the C.I.A. continue to press for greater latitude to carry out strikes; Justice Department and State Department officials, and the president’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, have argued for restraint, officials involved in the discussions say.

More broadly, the administration’s legal reasoning has not persuaded many other countries that the strikes are acceptable under international law. For years before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States routinely condemned targeted killings of suspected terrorists by Israel, and most countries still object to such measures.

But since the first targeted killing by the United States in 2002, two administrations have taken the position that the United States is at war with Al Qaeda and its allies and can legally defend itself by striking its enemies wherever they are found.

Partly because United Nations officials know that the United States is setting a legal and ethical precedent for other countries developing armed drones, the U.N. plans to open a unit in Geneva early next year to investigate American drone strikes.

The attempt to write a formal rule book for targeted killing began last summer after news reports on the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, revealed some details of the president’s role in the shifting procedures for compiling “kill lists” and approving strikes. Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized, a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency.

“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.

Mr. Obama himself, in little-noticed remarks, has acknowledged that the legal governance of drone strikes is still a work in progress.

“One of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president’s reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making,” Mr. Obama told Jon Stewart in an appearance on “The Daily Show” on Oct. 18.

In an interview with Mark Bowden for a new book on the killing of Osama bin Laden, “The Finish,” Mr. Obama said that “creating a legal structure, processes, with oversight checks on how we use unmanned weapons, is going to be a challenge for me and my successors for some time to come.”

The president expressed wariness of the powerful temptation drones pose to policy makers. “There’s a remoteness to it that makes it tempting to think that somehow we can, without any mess on our hands, solve vexing security problems,” he said.

Despite public remarks by Mr. Obama and his aides on the legal basis for targeted killing, the program remains officially classified. In court, fighting lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times seeking secret legal opinions on targeted killings, the government has refused even to acknowledge the existence of the drone program in Pakistan.

But by many accounts, there has been a significant shift in the nature of the targets. In the early years, most strikes were aimed at ranking leaders of Al Qaeda thought to be plotting to attack the United States. That is the purpose Mr. Obama has emphasized, saying in a CNN interview in September that drones were used to prevent “an operational plot against the United States” and counter “terrorist networks that target the United States.”

But for at least two years in Pakistan, partly because of the C.I.A.’s success in decimating Al Qaeda’s top ranks, most strikes have been directed at militants whose main battle is with the Pakistani authorities or who fight with the Taliban against American troops in Afghanistan.

In Yemen, some strikes apparently launched by the United States killed militants who were preparing to attack Yemeni military forces. Some of those killed were wearing suicide vests, according to Yemeni news reports.

“Unless they were about to get on a flight to New York to conduct an attack, they were not an imminent threat to the United States,” said Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who is a critic of the strikes. “We don’t say that we’re the counterinsurgency air force of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, but we are.”

Then there is the matter of strikes against people whose identities are unknown. In an online video chat in January, Mr. Obama spoke of the strikes in Pakistan as “a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists.” But for several years, first in Pakistan and later in Yemen, in addition to “personality strikes” against named terrorists, the C.I.A. and the military have carried out “signature strikes” against groups of suspected, unknown militants.

Originally that term was used to suggest the specific “signature” of a known high-level terrorist, such as his vehicle parked at a meeting place. But the word evolved to mean the “signature” of militants in general — for instance, young men toting arms in an area controlled by extremist groups. Such strikes have prompted the greatest conflict inside the Obama administration, with some officials questioning whether killing unidentified fighters is legally justified or worth the local backlash.

Many people inside and outside the government have argued for far greater candor about all of the strikes, saying excessive secrecy has prevented public debate in Congress or a full explanation of their rationale. Experts say the strikes are deeply unpopular both in Pakistan and Yemen, in part because of allegations of large numbers of civilian casualties, which American officials say are exaggerated.

Gregory D. Johnsen, author of “The Last Refuge: Yemen, Al Qaeda and America’s War in Arabia,” argues that the strike strategy is backfiring in Yemen. “In Yemen, Al Qaeda is actually expanding,” Mr. Johnsen said in a recent talk at the Brookings Institution, in part because of the backlash against the strikes.

Shuja Nawaz, a Pakistan-born analyst now at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said the United States should start making public a detailed account of the results of each strike, including any collateral deaths, in part to counter propaganda from jihadist groups. “This is a grand opportunity for the Obama administration to take the drones out of the shadows and to be open about their objectives,” he said.

But the administration appears to be a long way from embracing such openness. The draft rule book for drone strikes that has been passed among agencies over the last several months is so highly classified, officials said, that it is hand-carried from office to office rather than sent by e-mail.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:43 PM   #46
Pawnmower Pawnmower is offline
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Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
Spare me the condescending tone, pal. I am fully aware of this. I was simply pointing out the hypocrisy of opposing waterboarding while supporting drone attacks because it's "war", when war has never been declared.
The one has absoluetly nothing to do with the other....

If a person thinks waterboarding is torture (mistreating PRISONERS), then they SHOULD be opposed to it, regardless of their stance on drones.

On the other hand, drones are a part of COMBAT (like missiles, artillery, snipers..etc) and have nothing whatsoever to do with waterboarding.....(or the treatment of PRISONERS)

Maybe if you weren't so busy being a ****ing idiot you could read the pages above , which explain this fact.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:50 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Pawnmower View Post
This is a really flawed argument, since killing combatants in the field is legal (Geneva convention) and killing or torturing of captured/prisoners is not.

People who make this argument have no concept of reality.

Reality - Obama is killing kids with his drone strikes:

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Old 11-25-2012, 10:34 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Pawnmower View Post
That's ok, you aren't alone in being ignorant on this. Many are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authori...nst_Terrorists



Passed 420-1 in the house, and 98-2 in the senate, totally bi-partisan
Yeah, a totally bi-partisan act of unconstitutionality since Congress has no powers or right to transfer the authority to decide such things. It doesn't even mention "war" but that doesn't stop you progs. Congress just didn't want to be responsible. If things don't turn out well, they can just blame the president. It's no wonder Bush felt he didn't even need this. Originally it was drafted by Bush's office, then sent to the Congress for review.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:42 PM   #49
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Mr. Constitution speaks:

He's spot on too!

The bogus Iraq resolution to use military force:

Quote:
Congress is about to circumvent the Constitution and avoid the tough decision of whether war should be declared by transferring this monumental decision-making power regarding war to the President. Once again, the process is being abused. Odds are, since a clear-cut decision and commitment by the people through their representatives are not being made, the results will be as murky as before. We will be required to follow the confusing dictates of the UN, since that is where the ultimate authority to invade Iraq is coming from — rather than from the American people and the U.S. Constitution.
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A declaration of war limits the presidential powers, narrows the focus, and implies a precise end point to the conflict. A declaration of war makes Congress assume the responsibilities directed by the Constitution for this very important decision, rather than assume that if the major decision is left to the President and a poor result occurs, it will be his fault, not that of Congress. Hiding behind the transfer of the war power to the executive through the War Powers Resolution of 1973 will hardly suffice.

However, the modern way we go to war is even more complex and deceptive. We must also write language that satisfies the UN and all our allies. Congress gladly transfers the legislative prerogatives to declare war to the President, and the legislative and the executive branch both acquiesce in transferring our sovereign rights to the UN, an un-elected international government. No wonder the language of the resolution grows in length and incorporates justification for starting this war by citing UN Resolutions.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:07 AM   #50
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Reality - Obama is killing kids with his drone strikes:
The problem I have with this argument is that I do not know of any other method that there would be less casualties & collateral damage.

I am wondering if you can possibly enlighten me on what more we can do as a nation to avoid killing the children that these people use as human shields.

I also wonder why people like you blame the USA for this, when clearly these people are hiding among civilians, wearing civilian clothing and violating the geneva convention.

I mean, please tell me...If the nation has authorized us to defend ourselves against these guys....how are we supposed to do it better than drones with cameras and pinpoint missile strikes with billion dollar weapon systems?

I'm sure you are aware that IED's planted by them kill more civilians than we ever have. Do you place any blame on them? Do you place ANY responsibility on Haqqani or Taliban or AL Qaeda thugs who are quartering troops (which we do not allow even in our constitution) in civilian homes?What say you?

I'd really like to know how you would suggest to attack some of these targets with less risk to US life and collateral damage.

Please explain.

If you know of some better way than drones to destroy these targets in a more humane manner, than please post some links.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:03 AM   #51
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There are a lot of things to like (from our side) about using drones. The United States puts considerable effort in keeping our people out of harm’s way, as they damn well should yet, there is a downside to using our technology. Killing people from hundreds or thousands of miles away seems like a video game and, is far different than looking in the face of the target. Blowing people up, even those we don’t like, should not be something we take lightly. There will be collateral damage and without a doubt there are times when it is all the bad guys fault for intentionally surrounding their selves with women and children and sometime they are probably just going home for the night. It is much easier to blow up a house that may or may not have children in it for afar than it is to send a seal team in with orders to shoot them all and let God sort it out.

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Old 11-26-2012, 10:33 AM   #52
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How 'bout we reslove the problem more effectively. Such as leave them alone and get our bases and troops off their lands?
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:04 AM   #53
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They're both war and with one innocents aren't collateral damage.
I think what he meant is one is Democrat and the other a Republican.
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:37 PM   #54
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Thats because you clearly are not getting it.

Prisoners are people ALREADY under our control.

Drone strikes are used to take out targets which we cannot easily get any other way, without risk of life to our men.

You are making it harder than it needs to be , honestly.

Drones are used in COMBAT.

Waterboarding is considered torture by some people and torture is used on prisoners (already captured, hence NOT in combat any more).

You seem to be confusing the arguments, and water boarding being (or not being) torture is a completely separate argument.

I am honestly pretty surprised you still fail to grasp this fairly basic concept.
No, the fact is you don't get it.

I don't care if terrorists in captivity are water boarded. They aren't fighting under a flag. They use an innocent population as a shield. They murder the local population to get their way. If we can interrogate terrorists as a tool to "cannot get easily any other way" we should use it.

I don't have a problem with using 'torture' and/or drones. They both are a means to the same end.

The thing I find funny is someone being hypocritical in condoning drones which can kill innocent people, while thinking terrorists have rights in captivity, even though you don't have a problem blowing them up.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:32 PM   #55
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It doesn't matter to me if they kill under a flag or not. I don't see how that determines right or wrong. It's arbitrary.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:38 PM   #56
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How 'bout we reslove the problem more effectively. Such as leave them alone and get our bases and troops off their lands?
Isolationism will not make us safer.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:49 PM   #57
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Isolationism will not make us safer.
That's not isolationism. Please define it correctly.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:49 PM   #58
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"If you interpret the Constitution's saying that the president is commander in chief to mean that the president can do anything he wants and ignore the laws you don't have a constitution: you have a king."– Grover Norquist
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:10 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
The thing I find funny is someone being hypocritical in condoning drones which can kill innocent people, while thinking terrorists have rights in captivity, even though you don't have a problem blowing them up.
This is the 4th time you have made this connection, and it is still just as stupid as the 1st time. I give up. You are too dumb to bother with.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:17 PM   #60
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I don't suggest eliminating them. I think it's hypocritical to think torture is bad but killing innocent people is ok.
It's not, if torture is ineffective. My understanding is that torture is ineffective. The net gain from it is nearly zero, whereas the net loss (goodwill, greater use of effective alternatives) outweighs.
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La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.La literatura is blessed with 50/50 Hindsight.
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