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Old 06-21-2013, 05:51 AM  
NewChief NewChief is offline
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The Tale of Two Presidents (drones)

Damn. Salon has been out in front on the drone protests for a few years (Greenwald used to write for them). This is pretty dramatically stated, though:

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/21/a_ta...%93_and_obama/
A tale of two presidents: The one we voted for – and Obama
Recent leaks reveal a frightening reality: In fighting terrorism, we have resorted to engaging in terrorism
By David Sirota

Topics: White House, Kill List, Drones, New York Times, Robert Greenwald, Richard Engel
A tale of two presidents: The one we voted for – and Obama

This is a tale of two presidents – the one we hope we have and the one we actually have. It is also a tale of two kinds of violence – the surgical and the indiscriminate – and how the latter blurs the distinction between self-defense and something far more sinister.

This story began last year, when the White House told the New York Times that President Obama was personally overseeing a “kill list” and an ongoing drone bombing campaign against alleged terrorists, including American citizens. Back then, much of the public language was carefully crafted to reassure us that our country’s military power was not being abused.

In the Times’ report – which was carefully sculpted by Obama administration leaks – the paper characterized the bombing program as “targeted killing” with “precision weapons.” It additionally described “the care that Mr. Obama and his counterterrorism chief take in choosing targets” and claimed that as “a student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, the president believes that he should take moral responsibility” for making sure such strikes are as precise as possible.

The unstated deal being offered to America was simple: Accept a president claiming unprecedented despotic authority in exchange for that president promising to comport himself as an enlightened despot – one who seeks to limit the scope of America’s ongoing violence.

Many of the president’s partisan supporters would never have agreed to such a bargain if the executive in question were a Republican. They would have expressed outrage at news that, according to the Times, the president was “count(ing) all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants” even when those males happen to be innocent civilians. But because it was a Democratic commander in chief, many liberals tacitly agreed to the deal, reassuring themselves that this was a president who would only use violence in the most narrow ways.

That, though, brings us to the second part of this parable – the part that unfolded earlier this month when blood-soaked reality crashed the myth. In this latter chapter, we learned that the president isn’t personally overseeing “targeted” killing – he is evidently overseeing indiscriminate killing.

That was the key discovery in NBC News correspondent Richard Engel’s report finding that “the CIA did not always know who it was targeting and killing in drone strikes” approved by the president. Employing so-called “signature strikes,” the president has been authorizing the assassination of people “based on their patterns of behavior” according to Engel – that is, based simply on where a person “meets individuals, makes phone calls and sends emails.” In all, the identities of up to a quarter of those assassinated were unknown at the time that the president’s drone strikes went forward.

The deep-thinking moralist that we were told was in the White House might look at this and worry that in fighting terrorism we have resorted to engaging in terrorism. After all, deliberately killing people without regard for their identity seems like an effort to terrorize a whole population. Indeed, as this week’s stunning new video series by documentarian Robert Greenwald illustrates, such violence seems eerily similar to the kind of terrorism that our government publicly decries.

But, then, that’s this saga’s big reveal. In embracing such tactics, this parable’s main character shows that he probably isn’t the pious Aquinas-loving saint his aides present him as and that many hoped he would be. This story instead increasingly looks like a cautionary tale about a wholly unenlightened authoritarian who displays little concern about which particular lives he is choosing to end.

This, of course, is not a particularly new or unique story. It is, in fact, the oldest story in human history: the story of how power corrupts and how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:19 AM   #2
mikey23545 mikey23545 is offline
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Hey, all we need to do is scan the emails and phone records of our own citizens gathered up by the NSA and assemble our little kill lists and put our drones to work...Right, DishonestChiefsFan and RP?
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewChief View Post

This, of course, is not a particularly new or unique story. It is, in fact, the oldest story in human history: the story of how power corrupts and how absolute power corrupts absolutely.[/b]
This is preventable by keeping government small, limited and diffused in power. Government has always attracted a higher percentage of such types.
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:22 AM   #4
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Old 06-21-2013, 08:27 AM   #5
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:08 AM   #6
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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Still waiting to hear an explanation of why drones deserve so much attention and suspicion as compared to a missle, bomb or similar launched from a manned plane, helicopter or other means.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:20 AM   #7
mlyonsd mlyonsd is offline
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Still waiting to hear an explanation of why drones deserve so much attention and suspicion as compared to a missle, bomb or similar launched from a manned plane, helicopter or other means.
Now that Obama has started using drones on all of us here in th US the question of when he will take the next step and arm them becomes relevant.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:28 AM   #8
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
Now that Obama has started using drones on all of us here in th US the question of when he will take the next step and arm them becomes relevant.
He is looking for nothing more than a distraction from the topic. Unlike the OP who can handle a open discussion that is not pro to his party. It is the reason I respect the OP despite our political differences and rarely bother with the other guy~
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Still waiting to hear an explanation of why drones deserve so much attention and suspicion as compared to a missle, bomb or similar launched from a manned plane, helicopter or other means.
Same here. Drone strikes produce considerably less collateral damage than most of these other types of attacks when you factor in at least a modicum of concern for the safety of our own troops.

This article should appeal to all of the bleeding heart, anti-war types for the same reason any type of offensive warfare capability does, but for anyone who accepts the fact that we're in a war with radical islamists, this article falls far short of anything that should cause alarm (with the possible exception of those who start from the basis of an assumption that Barack Obama is incompetent when it comes to foreign policy and the GWoT, which I have to admit is a reasonable point of departure).

We don't expect our soldiers in the field to identify their targets and do a background check on them before they engage. Instead, depending on the rules of engagement, we allow them to make judgments based on a profile of actions that their target is taking. If the target is shooting at them, they are generally cleared to shoot back. If the target is wearing a uniform of the enemy or carrying a weapon in an area held by the enemy, that might be enough. Etc. There's nothing inherently wrong with our drone strikes targeting people who are doing things that fit a profile that indicates they are the enemy even if we don't know their names.

Whether the Obama administration has constructed reasonable behavior profiles to inform their targeting choices or not, is unknown by us and by the author of this article, but the presumption should be that they are, IMO, just as our presumption should be with our troops when they engage an enemy under disputed circumstances.
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:53 AM   #11
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He is looking for nothing more than a distraction from the topic. Unlike the OP who can handle a open discussion that is not pro to his party. It is the reason I respect the OP despite our political differences and rarely bother with the other guy~
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:56 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by mikey23545 View Post
Hey, all we need to do is scan the emails and phone records of our own citizens gathered up by the NSA and assemble our little kill lists and put our drones to work...Right, DishonestChiefsFan and RP?
First you jump in bed with a traitor and now Code Pink? In your own words, can you explain to me what's wrong with Obama's use of drones in our war against radical islamists (without imagining facts for which we have no evidence)?
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:18 AM   #13
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can you explain to me what's wrong with Obama's use of drones in our war against radical islamists (without imagining facts for which we have no evidence)?
One of the problems is that there is no accountability because the use is so secretive. Evidence is slim to none because the people that have seen them in use typically end up dead and the people that survive are labeled as terrorist sympathizers by the gov't and get discounted immediately. So when you hear people say that 5% or less of the casualties from drone strikes are actual terrorists, the claims are immediately disregarded.

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Old 06-21-2013, 10:20 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by WhawhaWhat View Post
One of the problems is that there is no accountability because the use is so secretive. Evidence is slim to none because the people that have seen them in use typically end up dead and the people that survive are labeled as terrorist sympathizers by the gov't and get discounted immediately. So when you hear people say that 5% or less of the casualties from drone strikes are actual terrorists, the claims are immediately disregarded.
Covert operations are not a new thing. I'm not sure I understand your concern.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:26 AM   #15
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
Now that Obama has started using drones on all of us here in th US the question of when he will take the next step and arm them becomes relevant.
Still don't know what the difference is compared to other options. If he wanted to kill you, it could be done without a drone, probably with much less attention.
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