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Old 11-06-2012, 07:43 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, 12:56 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Are you disagreeing? That Gitmo has served as a terrorist recruiting tool?
Oh, it probably has. Then again, cartoons about Mohamed ****ing a goat probably have. See, they're extremists, sugar.

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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
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.
There's huge again. It's still wrong.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:56 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
If that's true, I don't know why what Mitt Romney said in the debate seems remarkable to you.
Hope, and change.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:57 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Hope, and change.
I don't know what that means in this context.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:58 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
Oh, it probably has.
Then what are we arguing about?

If you agree with me -- what are we arguing about?

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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
There's huge again. It's still wrong.
Right.

Preventative measures to prevent the lesser problem of in person voter fraud: Donger says go.

Preventative measures to make sure we hold the President accountable for the people he kills: Donger says hold on there, I'm going to need to see evidence of wrongdoing first.

Hyperpartisan complex, you're doing it right.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:59 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
I don't know what that means in this context.
Romney's statement was the clearest statement I'd heard in years that measures other than killing would be necessary to get the upperhand in our struggles in the Middle East. By a member of either party.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:02 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Then what are we arguing about?

If you agree with me -- what are we arguing about?
I'm arguing that you don't close Gitmo because it helps recruit other nuts.

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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Right.

Preventative measures to prevent the lesser problem of in person voter fraud: Donger says go.

Preventative measures to make sure we hold the President accountable for the people he kills: Donger says hold on there, I'm going to need to see evidence of wrongdoing first.

Hyperpartisan complex, you're doing it right.
Considering that I'm actually backing Obama on his drone policy (he's a Democrat, BTW), I find your rather feeble attempt to frame me as hyper-partisan to be highly amusing. But, I understand that you're a littel wound up today, so I forgive you.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
I'm arguing that you don't close Gitmo because it helps recruit other nuts.
Partially agreed -- you close Gitmo because you don't need it.

But it would deflate what has certainly been a critical selling point for Islamists for the past however many years.

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Considering that I'm actually backing Obama on his drone policy (he's a Democrat, BTW), I find your rather feeble attempt to frame me as hyper-partisan to be highly amusing.
Partisanship doesn't have to be Republican or Democratic.

Partisanship can also come in the form of hawkish militarism, of which you've had next to no problem embracing.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:18 PM   #53
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Partially agreed -- you close Gitmo because you don't need it.

But it would deflate what has certainly been a critical selling point for Islamists for the past however many years.
What would you do with the prisoners?

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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Partisanship doesn't have to be Republican or Democratic.

Partisanship can also come in the form of hawkish militarism, of which you've had next to no problem embracing.
Yes, I'm sure you were referring to my hawkish militarism before.

It must burn you up to vote for such a blood-thirsty, hawkish militarist. But, I suppose your morals don't always trump your hyper-partisanship, eh?
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:18 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Romney's statement was the clearest statement I'd heard in years that measures other than killing would be necessary to get the upperhand in our struggles in the Middle East. By a member of either party.
You said in post 40 that you're very familiar with how SF operate in Afghanistan. Can I assume that you're also familiar with counterinsurgency approaches and the underlying theory practiced by the US more broadly? And if so, you already know that counterinsurgency is not just military but also includes political and economic/social aspects as well. It's a multi-faceted approach that acknowledges that killing alone is unlikely to win a war like this. What I fear that you may not understand, though, is that killing can still be a valuable tool in this multi-faceted toolbox.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:20 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
It must burn you up to vote for such a blood-thirsty, hawkish militarist. But, I suppose your morals don't always trump your hyper-partisanship, eh?
He seems strangely gung ho in his support for a guy he believes has committed war crimes.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:22 PM   #56
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What would you do with the prisoners?
Put them in prison.

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It must burn you up to vote for such a blood-thirsty, hawkish militarist. But, I suppose your morals don't always trump your hyper-partisanship, eh?
I acknowledge both parties disagree with me on the issue. That doesn't detract from my argument's validity.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:23 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
You said in post 40 that you're very familiar with how SF operate in Afghanistan. Can I assume that you're also familiar with counterinsurgency approaches and the underlying theory practiced by the US more broadly? And if so, you already know that counterinsurgency is not just military but also includes political and economic/social aspects as well. It's a multi-faceted approach that acknowledges that killing alone is unlikely to win a war like this. What I fear that you may not understand, though, is that killing can still be a valuable tool in this multi-faceted toolbox.
I totally understand.

That's a key problem with drone warfare -- it extends that militaristic aspect while muffles the economic, political, and social aspects as well.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:25 PM   #58
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Put them in prison.
They are in prison now.

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I acknowledge both parties disagree with me on the issue. That doesn't detract from my argument's validity.
Your argument is that you want to hold Obama accountable for any collateral deaths he causes by authorizing the drone kills, yes?
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #59
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Drones kill 20 innocents for every 1 SUSPECTED terrorist, and if that suspected terrorist is akin to getting on the terror watch list or the no fly list that means we're killing a helluva lot of innocents with no regard for human life. **** DRONES!
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
I totally understand.

That's a key problem with drone warfare -- it extends that militaristic aspect while muffles the economic, political, and social aspects as well.
Drone warfare as we're using it in places like Pakistan, might not be optimal from the counterinsurgency pov, but it's better than leaving a safe haven for your enemies to regroup and plan in comfort.
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