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View Diary: Republicans plan their October Surprise. Obama, and Pentagon, may well be planning a different sort. (221 comments)

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  •  You should read Jane Mayer's New Yorker (9+ / 0-)

    article about drones - if you are open to persusion on this issue at all, you might feel differently aftwards.

    •  Link? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blue Dream, Smoh

      Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

      by blue aardvark on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 02:55:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Puzzle me this (21+ / 0-)

        Would Dick Cheney's M16-toting assassination squad been * this * bad?

        Still, the recent campaign to kill Baitullah Mehsud offers a sobering case study of the hazards of robotic warfare. It appears to have taken sixteen missile strikes, and fourteen months, before the C.I.A. succeeded in killing him. During this hunt, between two hundred and seven and three hundred and twenty-one additional people were killed,
        Read more

        And what's worse - hearing the drones buzzing around 24/7 or being killed by missiles w/o warning when they happento be out of earshot range?

        On June 23rd, the C.I.A. reportedly killed between two and six unidentified militants outside Makeen, and then killed dozens more people—possibly as many as eighty-six—during funeral prayers for the earlier casualties. An account in the Pakistani publication The News described ten of the dead as children. Four were identified as elderly tribal leaders. One eyewitness, who lost his right leg during the bombing, told Agence France-Presse that the mourners suspected what was coming: “After the prayers ended, people were asking each other to leave the area, as drones were hovering.” The drones, which make a buzzing noise, are nicknamed machay (“wasps”) by the Pashtun natives, and can sometimes be seen and heard, depending on weather conditions.
        just saying, not sure we'd put up with all that all that much here in the USA

        Read more

        •  Thanks (5+ / 0-)

          I will read those links later.

          Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

          by blue aardvark on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 03:06:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They're actually the same link . . . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            divineorder, blue aardvark

            I guess it came along each time I cut and pasted from the source (it's strange how some websites do that nowadays, it totally freaks me out).

            •  OK, I read that article (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SadieSue, Roadbed Guy

              If you accept the idea of asymmetric warfare ... that Al Qaeda is fighting unconventional war against the United States and some of our allies (including allies of convenience, such as Pakistan) ... then the Pentagon using drones rather than manned aircraft to attack "enemy troops" is not controversial, and the article notes that such use probably meets the UN legal restrictions.

              "Probably" is noted. Room for debate exists.

              The CIA operating them in cooperation with Pakistani intelligence as a means of fighting the Taliban and drug lords is both legally and morally questionable. Which is, in fact, what the CIA Operations directorate was created to do. To quote Al Gore about a raid during the Clinton years: "Of course it's illegal. That's why it's covert". That's not an excuse, it's an observation that the CIA operations directorate exists to do nasty stuff, and we've had one since the OSS went away. A reasonable debate would be if we still need one. I would support pulling their leash, hard. It seems they are getting too big for their britches.

              The article also makes clear that the drones are in fact very effective as a tool of asymmetric warfare against US enemies, such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban. I believe the article described them as "The only game in town". If you make me choose between Pentagon drones and leaving Al Qaeda alone, I chose drones.

              As I noted elsewhere in these comments, groups like AQ routinely live among civilians, and the line between "civilian" and "terrorist" can be blurry. If President Obama had taken the Pentagon's advice, we'd have gone after Osama bin Laden with B-2 bombers - two of them - full bomb load. He'd have been extremely dead, and so would his wives, children, bodyguards, aides, and any neighbor who was walking the dog at the wrong time. Would Osama bin Laden's wife count as a civilian? Would a son aged 12? 15? 17 and 364 days?

              My conclusion: drones are useful in asymmetric warfare, but the CIA operating a huge fleet of them and using them to help the Pakistani government maintain control of their tribal regions is not OK. The CIA drone program should be ended and moved under military control and regulations.

               I would be interested in seeing statistics on civilian casualties vice enemy combatants broken down by Pentagon / CIA control. I will bet the spooks are a lot less careful, especially because a lot of their attacks seem to be driven by Pakistani internal politics.

              Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

              by blue aardvark on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:23:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I guess this is just something we fundamentally (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blue aardvark

                disagree about.

                To me, as much as I despised Clinton, his handling of the terrorist threat was light years ahead of this shit.  The bottom line is that those being targeted by the drones pose essentially zero threat to the USA (as compared to those who might - e.g., if 9.11 is any guide, are located in places like San Diego, Saudi Arabia, Hamburg, and Florida - do you REALLY expect drone strikes in those places to take out people who can actually harm us?)

                Plus, do you really think that in the long term there will be no blow back?  In particular, the video game - err, drone operators - in the NoVa suburbs, or Las Vegas (or wherever they end up being located) won't be targeted by a few of the wedding massacre survivors?  And if history is any guide, these survivors won't be targeting geniuses (genii?) and will probably get the wrong house, maybe yours.

                Again, it seems like we are existing in completely different realities on this matter - on the plus side, I suppose that the MIC does do it's part in keeping the US economy limping along . .. .

                •  Clinton fired cruise missiles (0+ / 0-)

                  Several times.

                  A drone is less likely to kill a civilian than a cruise missile, which flies a pre-programmed route loaded in prior to launch. And then explodes with a warhead typically larger than that loaded onto a Hellfire, causing more collateral damage.

                  I think that the story of 9-11 includes planning involvement by Osama bin Laden and Al-Zawahari back in Afghanistan, not to mention KSM. The idea that we need to worry about the guy in Hamburg but not the guy in Helmand makes no sense.

                  Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

                  by blue aardvark on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 12:03:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  By several I assume you mean 2 or 3? (0+ / 0-)

                    As compared to at least once a week?

                    and IIRC, he was roundly excoriated for doing so . .. .

                    In any event, I totally realize that the (completely bipartisan)  government propaganda has overwhelmed in rational discourse on this matter, and I'm just a crazy old man tilting against windmills (or whatever that saying is) but again a New Yorker article nicely illustrates just how peripheral OBL was in the 9.11 attacks (and by extension, just how idiotic our war against Afghanistan has been . .. ).

                    •  ObL was peripheral in 9-11 (0+ / 0-)

                      like Mitt Romney was peripheral in Bain.

                      He founded an organization, recruit the senior leadership, acted as the spokesman, drew new recruits via his name, set the tone, described the goals, and did the majority of the fundraising, it is just insane to describe him as "peripheral".

                      He was a CEO or commanding general, not a operational commander. That doesn't make him peripheral; it makes him essential and capable of generating the same sort of thing again and again.

                      Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

                      by blue aardvark on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 12:14:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If you read the New Yorker article (0+ / 0-)

                        it is crystal clear that he was in the loop insofar as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed solicited his help in planning 9.11 - but KSM obtained in essence no operational benefit from OBL (probably because - other than being ensconced in a pornography laden, but otherwise impotent, lair - circumstances prevented OBL  from offering any help).

                        Another way to look at this is that OBL had just about the same level of responsibility for 9.11 as Jesus Christ has for starting the Iraq War of 2003.  The reference being that George W. Bush is on record as saying that Jesus Christ told him to start the war, but does that make any sense at all in any real sense?  No, of course not.  Similarly, any rational evaluation of 9.11 makes it clear that it was planned and executed by KSM with no meaningful input from OBL at all.

        •  ask the people of fallujah about that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mnemosyne, Larsstephens, Creosote

          atrocities can be done from the air or on the ground. the problem is the slaughter of innocents, not the manner in which they are slaughtered.

          •  Fallujah is not a comparable situation (0+ / 0-)

            it was in a well recognized war zone, where atrocities are well known, in fact expected, to occur because of the very nature of war.

            Drones are instead used for for what is all intents and purposes law enforcement purposes - and it make the human cost on our side way too low and on the receiving end way to high.

            The link I provided gives just a couple examples - on of them is that it took 14 strikes to get one suspected terrorist, in the meantime 300 other people died.   Now, puzzle yourself why 13 strikes based on bad intelligence were allowed to happen?   Basically, because from our end it is perceived that there is no more danger than essentially playing a video came, so go ahead a send in the missiles, collateral damage be damned.   By contrast if it came down to putting actual American lives at stake (say, in the form of Cheney's much reviled/mocked death squads), I'm willing to bet that the intelligence would have to be much, much better before an operation was undertaken.

      •  Found it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayBat, blue aardvark, CuriousBoston

        Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

        by divineorder on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 03:18:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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