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View Diary: Stoning vs. Droning (160 comments)

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  •  Since there obviously was civilians, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, Johnny Q

    that reveals something about the quality of the spotters--that is, if they were actually even in the right area to observe. Were the spotters German soldiers, or were they relying on Afghanistan's with a possible axe to grind? And if they were being fired upon by militants and had called in air support, it seems unlikely they are going to want to expose themselves in order to verify the absence of any civilians. In fact, most people in that situation are going to want to save their own skin, and would be thinking tough luck if there happens to be any civilians in the way. Facing probable death or injury, would you put your life and your buddies lives behind that of people from another country you don't know or understand? Some do, but many don't always do that. It's wrong, but it's also understandable as human nature. It should be kept in mind, too, that most grunts are quite young. The same thinking can pervade, even where soldiers aren't under any immediate direct threat, which I think is exemplified by our drone program. Our operators and their controllers are more prone to erring on the side of protecting our people, not theirs. Protestations from our government notwithstanding, this is born out by copious evidence.

    It seems to me that the problem stems from how we choose to address combatting such militants. Also, I believe many (probably nearly all) of these militants being killed pose little or no actual direct threat against the U.S. itself. In Yemen, we're using drones to eliminate political opposition to the current regime. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, same thing--it's mostly Taliban being targeted, not al-Qaeda. But to get back to the former point, using targeted assassinations is, as gulfgal98 below observes, barbaric. Even more so, given the high incidence of civilian casualties and dubiously moral drone policies like signature strikes and double tap. Those policies and the use of drones are controlled by our Commander-in-Chief. It's hypocrisy to heap praise upon Mandela, holding him out as an example to emulate, when Mandela would never tolerate the same policies Obama has carried out.

    What it boils down to is an over-reliance on technology that isn't as foolproof as advertised, and a strategy that protects military personnel over civilians. When fighting against guerilla warfare, there should be sufficient ground forces to capture and hold ground, which we don't want to do because that means committing those forces and accepting that there will be more casualties. Sure, we can shock-and-awe, overturn the regime, win every battle. But what good if in the end we will have still lost the war (or affected little). In the modern era, it used to be safer to be a civilian in a war zone than a soldier. Now, it is safer to be a soldier. That is just fundamentally wrong.

    •  The only reliance we can expect of the military (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      is on the bill coming due. We are deliberately killing civilians, and we doing it for profit. I see camo and I wan't to vomit. Seriously.

      and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

      by le sequoit on Fri Dec 13, 2013 at 10:34:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can understand your revulsion and frustration, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack

        and I tend to somewhat agree. Still, it's not quite that simple. Yeah, the military-industrial complex and their paid stooges in D.C. certainly play a large role, but there is also flawed ideology at work. And it isn't so much a case of deliberately killing civilians (as in the massive indiscriminate bombing of population centers that occurred in earlier wars), as it is a case of devaluing the lives of another nation's civilians and not taking the proper precautions to spare them from harm. In my view, that still qualifies as a war crime and an abuse of human rights.

        It is ludicrous and detrimental to ourselves that we spend more than the next 19 nations combined on our military, particularly given the lack of any significant threat. But making our military the scapegoat isn't the answer. While there are both good and bad aspects to our military, the real burden of responsibility rests with the civilians controlling it--our Executive and Legislative Branches, which they are beholden to obeying.

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