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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, 10:36 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by RNR View Post
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~
Your comment is completely baseless. A distraction from the topic? I directly addressed drone use.

People are being shot from the sky, and sometimes, some innocent people get caught in the fire. How is this any different from pre-drone warfare?

If the issue is taking out innocent bystanders along with the bad guys, then fine. As far as I know, that has been an issue since the beginning of warfare. Sometimes, we've even inadvertently killed our own soldiers. The title of the thread mentions drones, and I just don't see how that is of particular relevance.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:42 AM   #17
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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.
Again, how would things be any different if it was a manned plane or helicopter doing the shooting, or if it was a missile fired from miles away?
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:47 AM   #18
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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.
Could probably find an article about it on Huff Post. If you search back before Obama became president, anyway.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:54 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by blaise View Post
Could probably find an article about it on Huff Post. If you search back before Obama became president, anyway.
I don't think you need to search back far at all to find a Huff Po article critical of drone use. Much of the left has complained about it. I don't really know why, unless you are just against ANY type of military action against terrorists. But if you accept that some military action is necessary, I don't see why you would be against drone use.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:59 AM   #20
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Quote:
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blaise View Post
Could probably find an article about it on Huff Post. If you search back before Obama became president, anyway.
Why didn't you just give me your explanation instead of the sarcastic reference to HuffPo? Is it that you agree with me?
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:01 AM   #21
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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.
You've been given clear explanations over and over again in this very forum. When faced with them you stick your head in the sand so you can play this very game you are playing over and over again.

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Old 06-21-2013, 11:02 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
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.
JFC
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:16 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by listopencil View Post
You've been given clear explanations over and over again in this very forum. When faced with them you stick your head in the sand so you can play this very game you are playing over and over again.

No, I haven't. I recall you saying something about how they are more covert than other means and they result in collateral damge.

If this is just about collateral damage, then you should be making the same argument against pretty much any bomb or missle.

Are they really more covert? I don't know, but it seems like a missile fired from miles away is even more covert. Anyway, what are you saying--that in a war we shouldn't be too covert? I thought the idea was to get the bad guy without him getting you.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:23 AM   #24
The_Grand_Illusion The_Grand_Illusion is offline
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Originally Posted by listopencil View Post
You've been given clear explanations over and over again in this very forum. When faced with them you stick your head in the sand so you can play this very game you are playing over and over again.

It gets old doesn't it. Appropriate picture, BTW.

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Old 06-21-2013, 11:23 AM   #25
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Not sure how I feel about drones; do know there would be much more debate if this were a topic in say, 2007.

Here's an article from Hopkins U:

What’s so bad about DRONE WARFARE?
Drone warfare is WRONG.
It’s wrong to kill people simply because they are suspected of crimes. It’s worse to send drones to rain missiles down on villages simply because people suspected of crimes live there. Hundreds of civilians have already been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. If the U.S. and other countries expand the use of military drones, the carnage will increase exponentially.

“Do the United States and its people really want to tell those of us who live in the rest of the world that our lives are not the same value as yours?” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Drone warfare is ILLEGAL.
Extra-judicial killing outside of war zones is illegal under U.S. and international law.

“No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” — President Ronald Reagan, U.S. Executive Order 12333

Drone warfare is RECKLESS.
“What scares me about drone strikes is how they’re perceived around the world. The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes… is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.” — General Stanley McChrystal (retired)

“Drones are an example of technology outpacing our morality and thinking.” — U.S. Navy Captain, quoted in Foreign Policy (12 Feb 2013)

Why should you be concerned?
◦Targeted killing by drones is wrong, illegal, andreckless. But that’s only part of the problem. The technology itself is extremely dangerous. By allowing governments to dispatch robots instead of soldiers, drones make it easier to wage war anywhere, anytime. This is making the world a much more dangerous place.
◦The U.S. is waging drone warfare in secret and without democratic discussion. The technology is advancing faster than our consideration of the ethical, military, social, and environmental implications. Domestically, the use of drones to conduct wide surveillance and police the population violates our right to privacy and can easily be abused by the government.
◦Lucrative military contracts—especially those for drone warfare and weapons—are distorting university research and education. The secrecy demanded by military contracts violates the principles of open academic exchange and transparent university governance.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:29 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Your comment is completely baseless. A distraction from the topic? I directly addressed drone use.

People are being shot from the sky, and sometimes, some innocent people get caught in the fire. How is this any different from pre-drone warfare?

If the issue is taking out innocent bystanders along with the bad guys, then fine. As far as I know, that has been an issue since the beginning of warfare. Sometimes, we've even inadvertently killed our own soldiers. The title of the thread mentions drones, and I just don't see how that is of particular relevance.
I tend to agree with you, I am more concerned with the rules governing who may be assassinated, than I am the tools used to complete the job. but I think they can influence the decision. Let me try and explain. While It doesn’t fit into some exact mathematical formula I do think that as the risk to “our” people diminishes, the willingness to carry out the mission increases, as does the risk to innocent bystanders. It is far safer for our people to shoot a missile from a drone than it is to send I guy in through a bedroom window to positively identify a target and then slit his throat. We as Americans don’t do a very good job of seeing a situation from the reverse perspective. For example I don’t think we would take very kindly to drone attacks by the British against IRA supports in Boston and New York.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:30 AM   #27
WhawhaWhat WhawhaWhat is offline
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Again, how would things be any different if it was a manned plane or helicopter doing the shooting, or if it was a missile fired from miles away?
If they don't know who specifically they are killing, there would be no difference.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #28
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:40 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by FishingRod View Post
I tend to agree with you, I am more concerned with the rules governing who may be assassinated, than I am the tools used to complete the job. but I think they can influence the decision. Let me try and explain. While It doesn’t fit into some exact mathematical formula I do think that as the risk to “our” people diminishes, the willingness to carry out the mission increases, as does the risk to innocent bystanders. It is far safer for our people to shoot a missile from a drone than it is to send I guy in through a bedroom window to positively identify a target and then slit his throat. We as Americans don’t do a very good job of seeing a situation from the reverse perspective. For example I don’t think we would take very kindly to drone attacks by the British against IRA supports in Boston and New York.
If the focus of the apparent controversy was who, then that's one thing. However, a lot of the controversy does seem focused on the tool being used for some reason.

No, we would not take kindly to that, and we are not using drones in England. They are being used in places that can't or won't take action against these guys themselves. We went into Pakistan without permission because they wouldn't do it and couldn't be trusted to know of our plans. That wouldn't have happened if Osama had been hiding in England.
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Old 06-21-2013, 11:43 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Why didn't you just give me your explanation instead of the sarcastic reference to HuffPo? Is it that you agree with me?
You're complaining about snarky responses to a discussion?
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