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View Diary: War is hell: A defense of the Obama Administration's policy regarding drones (1255 comments)

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  •  Laws of war (12+ / 0-)

    Another obvious problem is, what if someone is targeted by a drone but survives? Do they not then have the right to retaliate, by the same logic?

    If you absolutely must forge a manacle, do not go out of your way to make it chafe; it may be your wrist it ends up around.

    I am an electrical engineer, run a reasonably high traffic server, and build autopilots and drones for a living. If you have technical questions, ask away and I will try to give a cogent answer.

    by spiritplumber on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 09:15:44 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  not really (9+ / 0-)

      there is nothing special about a drone strike anymore than an artillery strike or a mortar strike or a bullet from a gun.

      Do you think AQ engaged in the field of battle have a right to retaliate?

      The GC says no, they aren't lawful combatants.

      The real question is, have you satisfied all of the conditions and considerations necessary to say this guy is a threat and use of force is authorized.

      This is obviously not always an easy question to answer, but if the answer is yes, it does not matter to me, nor should it IMO what the citizenship of that person is.

      If the answer is no, it does not matter to me, nor should it IMO what the citizenship of that person is.

    •  They don't have the right to retaliate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, Chrisfs

      The government has a monopoly on political violence.  Not that all government political violence is legitimate, just that all non-government political violence is illegitimate.  One of the problems with terrorism is that it is an attempt to usurp the government's powers.

      •  Governments are capable of using terrorism. (6+ / 0-)

        They do it pretty often.

        The problem with terrorism is that it is waging war against non-combatants, not whether or not it's a state targeting those non-combatants.

        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

        by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 12:12:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  waging war against non-combatants (10+ / 0-)

          is exactly what we do all the time, and it's the most effective recruitment tool for Al Queda these days.

          The cycle of terror will be endless.

          •  War on Terror (6+ / 0-)

            This is not war.  You can't wage war on a tactic.  These are blatantly illegal police actions using robotic tact squads.  It's only unfeasible to capture these victims because drones are way cheaper and easier than negotiating treaties with the countries of residence for coordinated police actions, and/or building cases that will stand up in court.  The drone war has become just one facet of the US's dystopian nightmare.  It's just too easy for us to "take care of" (rightfully or wrongfully) perceived problems.

            Johnson started this pseudo war idiocy innocently enough with his War on Poverty.  But then it morphed into the War on Drugs -- which was thinly disguised war on blacks and the poor to benefit the prison industry.  Now we have the GWOT.  It's only a matter of time until someone coins a "War on Gun Violence" where we'll see mini armed drones patrolling our urban ghettos from above, responding to the sources of gunshots.  Disgusting.

            Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

            by Helpless on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:03:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's my concern (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Katydid, Helpless, JesseCW

              What "war"?  Who declared a "war?  Certainly not Congress.

              This is merely the USA bombing targets inside other sovereign nations without a declaration of war.  

              If, several years ago, Russia had identified an enclave of ethnic Chechnians (sp) in Chicago and Detroit, would it then have the right to drone-bomb their houses based on their suspected support for the political cause that they supported?  If Colombia decided that, as part of a War on Drugs, to lob a few drone-bombs into South Florida to wipe out some US cocaine processors/dealers, would it be ok?

              Armando, you may be right that this is legal for the US to do this under US law.  However, I can't imagine international law says it's ok to bomb for one country to unilaterally bomb another country without a declaration of war.

              "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

              by gsbadj on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 03:13:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  If I were to formally define "terrorism" (3+ / 0-)

          I would differentiate between "terrorism" and "war crimes".  Non-state actors waging war against innocent non-combatants would be classified as terrorism while state actors waging illegal war against innocent non-combatants would be classified as war crimes.

          •  But you're still (thankfully) not writing the (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            majyqman, blueoasis, Albanius

            dictionary or working at the UN.

            The problem with terrorism is not that it offends the sensibilities of the most extreme Statists on the planet.

            It's that it targets non-combatants.

            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

            by JesseCW on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:28:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  totally false (4+ / 0-)

        When a government is oppressive and violent, self-defense against that government by civilians is absolutely legitimate by any moral calculus.  And, by the way, how is it legitimate? Because it is the government undertaking the violence?  That is the Richard Nixon school of thought--it's not illegal (or illegitimate) if the government does it.

    •  The US has declare a state of hostilitiies (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund, LeftOfYou, skrekk, NearlyNormal

      Enemy combatants have the right to defend themselves at the least.

      With regard to Al Qaida, they have attacked the United States already.

      This is what led to the 2001 AUMF.

      The more interesting question is the concept that the hostilities from Islamic Jihadists is unlawful under international law. That isa dubious proposition in my opinion.

    •  Except this is not "War" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming, magnetics

      And the "laws" of War do not apply to ANY of Obama's ridiculous and scandalous repudiations of our most basic Constitutional rights, and/or international law.  

      This is a continuation of a CRIMINAL process that presumably began with the mass murder of people by literally a handful of cult members on 9/11.  

      International criminal processes should have begun at that point, to capture and put on trial anyone involved.  

      Instead, Bushco, and now the Obama administration, have killed literally THOUSANDS of Americans and UNTOLD THOUSANDS of other innocent people around the world in their insane, macho quest to prove they are as "bad" as the bad guys, and "do justice" (by killing and destroying insane amounts of human lives and property, and unleashing a new worldwide "Holy War" not aimed at any state or nation that attacked us, but the novel CONCEPT that a handful of religious nuts camped out in Afghanistan should extend to anyone to opposes this murderous US invasion of nations around the world.

      The simple truth is that there has NEVER been an existential threat to the United States, and this entire fiasco has rather been the stuff of school boy "retaliation."

      The same inane "logic" could have "justified" Bill Clinton assassinating militia members around the US (and their dubious "sympathizers," wives, neighbors, family members, etc.) after Oklahoma City, if he pulled a similar patently unconstitutional notion of "executive power" out of his ass.

      Drone strikes are simply the executions of PRESUMPTIVE criminals (including Americans) without any standard of demonstrable proof they actually ARE "criminals" (as in old fashioned convictions on courts of law) or any due process at all, other than the opinion of ONE PERSON, the President of the United States.  

      This is the DEFINITION of a DICTATORSHIP.

      And it is happening under the nominal stewardship of our current Democratic Party leadership.

      It is extremely disappointing, to say the least, that anyone with a legal (or moral) understanding of the US Constitution, let alone the existential basis of a democracy based on Laws, could "make the case" that the Bush and Obama War Crimes under are "legal" under the theory that the US Constitution no longer applies to any President who simply cries, "War!"

      (Of course, only Congress can declare War, and that has obviously never been done.)

      This whole construct that what Obama is doing is "legal" is bizarre, chilling, and not possible in any country I would want to live in.  

      •  This is not the definition of a dictatorship (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego, Puffin, SoCalSal

        The AUMF is a declaration of war or, at least, its effective equivalent.  The Constitution gives Congress the power to provide for the common defense and general welfare.  Much of the modern American liberal welfare state is constitutionally justified by an expansive reading of the term "general welfare".  I would argue that drone strikes, so long as Congress provides funding and does not repeal or modify the AUMF, falls under a similarly expansive reading of the term "common defense" and are constitutional so long as they are undertaken under the premise of war or a war-analogue waged against foreign-based belligerents (of which American citizens may be a part) and not as a matter of crime and punishment.

        •  A reiteration of the flimsy legal rationale (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          magnetics, jayden, blueoasis

          the Obama administration is clinging to.  

          This imaginary authority of the Executive branch to kill Americans ANYWHERE in the world (it is NOT limited to geography, but rather up to the President's sole declaration that "apprehension is impractical" among other vague qualifications) is a theory that requires an unlimited reading of the President's War Powers ability, without there ever being a formal Declaration of War by Congress.  (Obviously the whole notion of a formal Declaration of War is superfluous, and practically voided, under this reading of the Constitution, and was never actually intended to limit Executives from waging "wars" with exactly this sort of impunity, with zero input or oversight from the people.)

          If the President declares a "War on drugs," he can start killing dope smokers.

          This truly is a "living Constitution."  One in which the President can do ANYTHING, including summarily executing Americans if  he deems it "necessary for the common defense."  This IS dictatorship, akin to the powers of the King of England, which at one point we actually fought against.

          When the power to kill Americans (or any other innocent people around the world) by the President, without due process. or any of the other Constitutional safeguards we used to enjoy, is validated by the Supreme Court, get back to me.  

          It may well be declared "legal" at some point, especially with the current Authoritarian majority.  But I suspect we will never see this tested in court.  Nobody in power will ever allow these bogus theories to risk a legal decision, by declaring unlimited "national security."  (Even the legal "theory" is "secret.")  It would be too hard to unwind all the crimes committed by Bush and Obama (and the CIA, US military, etc.) retroactively.  

          It's better to just concoct a "legal theory" and have everyone ignore testing the actual legality.  Like the internment of Americans in WWII, it will remain a disgraceful stain on the country that any future free generations (if there are any) will have to live with.

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