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View Diary: Drones and the Trolley Problem (12 comments)

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  •  Lots of problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Deward Hastings

    The analogy does not work.

    There is not run-away trolley (unless its the US war machine).

    The situation is that someone is informing you that someone at some switch might intend to cause a runaway trolley car by turning an unspecified and and unknown switch at some unspecified point in the future.  And they have a putative list of possible folks who might do that because they are reported by unknown persons to have a motive, they are either friends with a switchman or live near a switch (but not necessarily the one that might lead to a catastrophic runaway trolley), and they are reported ready to act in some loosely imminent future.

    Do you kill them pre-emptively?

    And even that doesn't begin to frame the analogy to the trolley problem.

    Who is a non-civilian?  How do we know?
    Who is a al-Qua'ida non-civilian? (the AUMF is only for folks related to 9-11)  How do we know that?
    What is the threat?  How will it be done?  Where?  How imminently?
    How do you locate this person?  How do you confirm that the person is the one identified as being responsible for an imminent threat?  What is the opportune time in this person's schedule to kill?  How many innocent people do you accept killing as "collateral damage"?

    Last, most important question. How sure are you of each piece of intelligence that you are using to answer these questions?  How sure of the total picture resulting from your imposition of a narrative are you?  Would you like an official in another country to have the ability to make the same decisions about your life and the life of those nearest to you who might be "collateral damage"?

    Now make your decision.

    And hope to hell it's not a wedding party for one of your allied officer's families, or a meeting with a friendly and influential local person who has been persuading people to avoid al Quaida, or the result of a grudge report from a jealous cousin.

    But remember.  Always apologize. And bring them a sheep.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 04:47:12 PM PST

    •  This is one of the key problems: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TarheelDem, Deward Hastings

      "...ready to act in some loosely imminent future."

      That's the Bush Doctrine of preventive war (which is a war aggression). Pre-emptive warfare, which everybody agrees is okay, does not fiddle with the definition of "imminent" to the point it has no practical meaning.

      I do think you're a big hard on the diarist. It's the seed that you brought to blossom.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 04:57:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a personal dog in this hunt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Deward Hastings

        The CPD on May 16 could have been operating under the white paper guidelines and I would not be here.  Just for exercising my First Amendment rights.

        It's the vague language that allows maximum lattitude; the Founding Father were very much against allowing an executive maximum latitude.  But that seems to be the SSCI's entire rationale in letting this slide.

        If this is not fixed now, it is going to come back to bite this President and the Democrats in Congress bigtime.

        This is this generation's Phoenix Program. Without borders.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 05:21:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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