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View Diary: Droning Americans on US Soil: Why Holder's "No" is Not Reassuring (156 comments)

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  •  The idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest, kefauver, edrie

    that people are evaluating military policy with a "sporting sensibility" turns my fucking stomach.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:24:30 AM PST

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    •  People in other countries (5+ / 0-)

      who are targeted by our drones as the painless exercise of lethal combat by a wealthy and powerful foreign (to them) power don't care about your stomach.

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:38:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The question then should be one of decision (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edrie

        The decision whether to order or not order a military action against a target person or group of people.

        Once that decision is made (unilaterally by the Executive Branch, be it the C-in-C or properly delegated authorities within the Pentagon and military chain of command), I would think we would want this carried out in the most effective method possible with as little danger to our own personnel.

        That is how ANY military would operate.

        You don't think these people should be targeted?  Fine, make your case on that.  

        But if that is what the Defense Department, based on their intelligence, decides to launch a strike (a decision making process that they have NEVER EVER shared with the general public in any conflict in our history as a nation) then I don't know that these 'people in other countries' you reference are going to dither over details, my stomach issues aside, of whether they are bombed by a Predator C-class drone, a B-2 Bomber, a Patriot missile fired from an off-shore naval ship, a mortar, or struck by surprise by a team of covert operatives dropped in via helicopter for a tactical strike.

        We have conducted military operations all over the globe in the past 2 decades alone.  Now suddenly because we are leveraging new technology that consists of unmanned vehicles we need to really think about the morality of our actions.

        You're right.  We should just go back to shooting people in the face with standard issue M-16's.  That was much more humane.  I'm sure Osama Bin Laden appreciated the special care we took with him while he was bleeding out of his blown open eye socket.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:47:41 AM PST

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        •  I don't think that you are even trying (5+ / 0-)

          to see this from the perspective of those in other countries who see the U.S. being able to kill people, with attendant collateral damage, from what appears to be complete safety in some bunker in Nevada.

          We keep hearing stories about how traumatized the service members controlling the drones get from their activity.  Have you ever considered how those stories sound to people overseas?  Drones are better in being more surgical than saturation bombing, true, but at least that (and commando raids) pose some sort of real physical danger for the attackers, which is presumed to deter them.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:09:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you are right (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            edrie

            I am not trying hard enough.  Or if I am, then I am failing at it.

            We flew over 1400 F-117 bombing flights over Baghdad in 1991 and lost ZERO planes.  Not a single one was hit.  This was hailed as a "Major victory" and a shining example of the US Military technical prowess.  People thought it was great.  Stealth technology seemed AMAZING and was clearly the future of military aviation.  A technology so advanced we don't even share it with our allies.

            No one cared.  Now we use drones.  Even LESS of a risk to our pilots because there are no pilots and people think "wait, that's kind of unfair." ....and bombing a woefully equipped out-of-date military over a high population urban area with STEALTH BOMBERS was more sporting?

            I think people in these other countries where we are KILLING PEOPLE are going to have some negative feelings toward us whether or not we hit them with a drone-launched missile, gun them down with helicopter gunships, bomb them at night with planes they can never see, roll super high-tech highly armored tanks through their villages or shoot them in the face with high caliber guns.

            I guess Im not seeing a lot of upside to finding a way to kill people around the world in the way that will make them the least mad at us.

            If we are going to war then let's go to war.  The most effective strategy with the lowest risk to our soldiers at the lowest cost in dollars and effort to deploy and maintain.

            Now, if we want to argue about whether or not we should be at war... well, that's a whole different diary.

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:40:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not who you have to convince n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo

              Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

              "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
              -- Saul Alinsky

              by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:49:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  this whole debate is so pythonesque, isn't it. (0+ / 0-)

              people (civilians) who are caught with the targets in war do not appreciate the manner in which they are being killed - they just want the fighting to stop.  NOTHNG in the manner of being killed matters - only living.

              this entire farsical debate would be better served if it were a debate on how to extricate from that (and other wars) and how to prevent them from beginning to start with!

              watching the destruction in syria, mali and other hotspots in the world - the choice is ugly.  do we stand by and do nothing while people are slaughtered or do we engage to try to lessen and eventually stop the slaughter.

              going in and asking "nicely" isn't going to rid syria of hassad or mali of the fanatics there.

              the whole debate over one weapon (that is highly effective) is a distraction to what the debate SHOULD be!

              just my little observation here - along with my objection to this type of diary that tries to scream the government is BAAAAD!

              i, too, have my stomach turned by the manipulation of a situation to further someone's person agenda/book sales/etc.  i think those who are posting so emotionally here are sincere - but misguided.  this isn't how policy is changed.  that takes more than ranting at the president on a blog.  

              EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

              by edrie on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:02:47 PM PST

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              •  "NOTHNG in the manner of being killed matters" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                corvo

                Almost certainly untrue.  And the problem at issue is with the manner of living, giving the manner of possibly being killed.  Americans just don't seem to get the horror of aerial bombing because it doesn't happen to us.

                Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

                "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
                -- Saul Alinsky

                by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:10:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  um, i think you might be wrong on that. (0+ / 0-)

                  some americans know full well the horror - ask wwII vets, ask americans who lived in the blitz, ask americans who have heard and experienced the bombings of groups like the ira in london in the early 80s or in the village in the 70s.

                  the real issue is how to get OUT of the current war and how to prevent other wars in the future.  it isn't always possible to avoid conflict - look at how much horror took place before the world got involved in the 30s and 40s - and in somolia, libya, syria, mali and many other places where violence is a daily occurence.

                  i'd much rather see us focusing on how to find the peace than how to use different technology.  the drone delivers a bomb.  the f-15? and the b-52s delivered bombs.  the end result is that people die.

                  how do we look to find equity in the world where people don't try to kill each other over ideology, religious differences, economic disparity, hunger, isolation, etc.

                  until we can get along on our own shores, how can we ever find a way to help other nations to get along within their own borders.

                  if you look at war - it is almost always fueled by poverty and hunger stoked by religion and intolerance based on fear of change.

                  we have a chance to make this world a better place - with the technology now available, laptops that connect to the internet by windup to cell phone technology that connects the world, it is only a matter of time before totalitarian regimes fall.  the models societies will look to follow when rebuilding will be the ones that seek equality and respect.

                  we don't have that in our own country - perhaps we should start at home if we want real change.

                  EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                  by edrie on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:23:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Americans "by and large" don't get that horror (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BradyB

                    And while I agree of much of what you say about making the world a better place -- with respect, you do not get to tell people in countries we are bombing or threatening to bomb silently and without warning (and inevitably sometimes hitting the wrong target) what "the real issue" is.  For them, this is a real issue.

                    Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

                    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
                    -- Saul Alinsky

                    by Seneca Doane on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:01:38 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  commercial advertising in posts (0+ / 0-)

                  Love your ad; appropriate in post?

                  •  Dunno -- ask someone in charge (0+ / 0-)

                    It's in my sig line, not the comment itself.  It's intended to let people know what I do, so that they know someone who does what I do.

                    Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

                    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
                    -- Saul Alinsky

                    by Seneca Doane on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:38:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  whether or not (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            edrie

            I really care about their point of view depends entirely on whether the strikes are justified in the particular instance.  The argument that drone strikes invite blowback is a serious one, but to treat it as completely dispositive is an awfully convenient dodge: we get to be morally pure and safer at the same time! In some cases, the risk of blowback is worth it; in other cases, not.   The argument that drones make it too easy to tip the scales in favor of using lethal force by lowering costs and risks,  has some legitimacy, but the argument against also assumes that the govt hasn't already factored in questions of blowback into particular decisions.  This may or may not be the case, but your framing was bootstrapping.

            Further, as long as we're dealing with people who are at least active AQ, I don't want to deter attacks on them too, too much, and concurrently, don't particular care to worry about whether third parties think they should be deterred on abstract "fairness" grounds.  Terrorists can use aerial crafts, too.  

            Third, the reason our drone operators may be "traumatized" is they spend so much time observing the targets, usually in an attempt to either verify they have the right guy, that there is some association with terrorists, or to reduce collateral damage.  It's not perfect, and sometimes drones don't do this; but as long as the reason the strikes are emotionally difficult is right is an attempt to be more precise, those stories shouldn't sound as bad as you seem to think they do.

            Either way, the policy questions of whether or, more importantly, when we should use drones, questions of proof, oversight, etc., are different from the statutory and Constitutional questions Paul pretended were in any real doubt.

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:08:50 PM PST

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            •  paul was showboating and trying to garner (0+ / 0-)

              attention for 2016.  he is an *ss.  he doesn't give a damn about drones - he cares only about paul.

              EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

              by edrie on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:06:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  OK, then: When Holder said that the answer is NO (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo

              that the President has NO right to use drones in that situation, what was his reasoning?  If there's no "real doubt," that should be an easy question.

              Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

              "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
              -- Saul Alinsky

              by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:12:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  you mean no weaponized drones (0+ / 0-)

                against civilians in the United States?  I think that would be a combination of no statutory authorization w/r/t civilians, and there wouldn't be an imminent danger or infeasibility of arrest and trial in that circumstance.  What's more, Brennan (the ostensible subject of the filibuster) had already testified his agency cannot use drones in the U.S., or conduct any operations in the U.S., again by statute.  Exceptions would be presumed not to apply when the predicates for the exception aren't there; and there's a difference between regarding 5th amendment protections as a balancing test and treating the balancing test as, instead, a slippery slope.  Another way I know this is all the times Rand Paul said that he didn't believe that the govt had this power during the filibuster, but he just "wanted to make sure" nobody in the tea party was going to be assassinated.  I'm glad he was able to crank out a fundraising letter before getting some much-needed sleep.  He has every right to filibuster over the use of drones, but if he's going to do so, he should attack the actual policy, not some fever-dream strawman.

                Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                by Loge on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 08:34:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That leaves the question (0+ / 0-)

                  (that was tested -- and broken -- by the previous Administration) of whether the President's power as Commander-in-Chief under the so called "War Constitution" can supersede statute in exigent circumstances.

                  It galls me that people here do not seem to think that, post-Bush, we have to ask these questions, get them on record, educate the public on them, and make it hard for any future President to transgress against them.  I'm on record here as saying that that attack on U.S. citizen al-Awlaki in Yemen was justified even without conviction of a crime in absentia, but I found the latter fact quite troublesome.  Also later killing his U.S. citizen son (with collateral damage in both actions) gets even worse.  So it's not a fanciful fever dream to think that whatever justifies this power of targeted assassination could be applied just as well within U.S. territory.  Maybe it's fanciful, but if the Administration really believes that it doesn't exist, then for God's sake give a straight, clear, and justified answer to the public.  The optics of this are terrible; I'm shocked that people here can't (or refuse to) see it.  We're losing people over this!

                  Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

                  "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
                  -- Saul Alinsky

                  by Seneca Doane on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 12:15:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  How exigent are we talking? (0+ / 0-)

                    Holder's first letter really did address the question - by the examples given, the Al-Alwaki killing wouldn't cut it stateside.  There's a paradox in that the biggest opponents and biggest defenders of the drone stuff on the Republican side both seem to want interpret public law and interpretive pronouncement as broadly as possible - or more - for vastly different reasons.  A broader law is easier to both demagogue and to exploit, but not really sustainably over the longer term.  

                    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                    by Loge on Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 07:18:04 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

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