Skip to main content

The Obama Administration continues to use unmanned drones as a tool of war – a tool that according The New York Times, the Administration claims has killed 600 militants in Pakistan and no civilians since May 2010. But the math doesn’t add up. Nor does the policy.

Think of the use of drone air strikes as summary executions, extra-judicial killings justified by faceless bureaucrats using who-knows-what "intelligence," with no oversight whatsoever and you get the idea that we have slipped into spooky new world where joystick gods manipulating robots deal death from the skies and then go home and hug their children. Everything America was once said to stand for: the rule of law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is in danger of becoming collateral damage as our fearful leaders continue to kill suspects and innocent alike, mindlessly unaware that the hellfire we are sowing will surely be reaped by Americans in the future.  The proliferation of drone technology and its inevitable extension to civilian law enforcement is a leap into the arms of Big Brother.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently estimated that at least 2,292 people have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. The Bureau determined that of that number, over 350 are civilians. A July 2009 Brookings Institution report stated ten civilians die for every one suspected militant from U.S. drone strikes. Yet another study by the New American Foundation concluded that out of 114 drone attacks in Pakistan, at least 32% of those killed by the strikes were civilians.  

President Obama has greatly expanded the use of drones over the past several years, authorizing more drone strikes during his first fifteen months in office than President Bush did during the entirety of his eight years in office. In addition to the use of drones in Pakistan, the Administration has authorized strikes in Yemen and Somalia. The increasing reliance on drones and the lack of recourse for the families of innocent civilians that are killed by such strikes demonstrate the impunity with which the U.S. uses this technology.  

Drone attacks undermine our moral standing in the world. They and foment anger and resentment toward the United States. We have spent years in Afghanistan and Iraq under the guise of nurturing democracy and the rule of law while at the same time, our use of unmanned drones severely undermines the rule of law.  

Challenging the legality of drone strikes in Pakistan and calling to light their indiscriminate nature is vital to prevent a dangerous precedent from being set that would allow international law and the laws of war to be stretched to justify strikes elsewhere. The legal justification for their use in Pakistan can and will be used to justify their use in other countries. Under this legal framework, the battlefield could be stretched to include anywhere in the world. Anywhere.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  What Would The Recourse Be (7+ / 0-)
    The increasing reliance on drones and the lack of recourse for the families of innocent civilians that are killed by such strikes demonstrate the impunity with which the U.S. uses this technology.

    ...for the families of innocent civilians if they were being shot in the head with M16s or blown up by larger munitions?

    •  They might get a couple grand then. With drones, (6+ / 0-)

      all they have to do is say sorry.

      S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 07:46:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's no alternative suggested at all, is there. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrinus

      I guess that's the advantage the diary seeks in just declaring something against "rule of law"...not against a law or the law, note....he just rules it out unconditionally and lets our servicemen take the hit by forcing manned missions.  

      Inland: A privately held corporation spun off from the Womb Division of MomCo a half century or so ago.

      by Inland on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:10:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The alternative is following the rule of law (16+ / 0-)

        Not sending servicemen in on illegal missions, in undeclared wars, against countries who are ostensibly our allies.

        You seem to be operating under the assumption that we need to be continually killing "bad guys" to protect ourselves. I don't believe that is true.

        Kucinich is saying that no matter how convenient breaking the law might be, we shouldn't do it. Not with robots, not with people, not with squads of magical candy pooping unicorns. Is that too hard to understand?

        •  speaking for myself, (0+ / 0-)

          these may be bad policies, but they're distinctly not breaking the law, thanks to the Congressman's own vote on the AUMF against Terrorism.  

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:29:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay, substitute "unconstitutional" then (0+ / 0-)

            The AUMF appears to authorize any and all military force against anyone, anywhere in the world, for all time. I doubt that would stand up to a constitutional challenge.

            •  who would have standing to sue? (0+ / 0-)

              the Aumf does precisely that.  If the President abuses the power, the sole remedy is impeachment.  

              There's a decent argument the American citizens targeted for assassination have a Constitutional claim under the 5th amendment, but if they want to come to the U.S. and file suit in federal district court, they're welcome any time.  Be sure to stop by the U.S. Marshall's desk on the way in.

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:52:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  So now the congressman (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Euroliberal

            wants to challenge their legality. When at least 1 out of every 3 people killed by these drone attacks is a noncombatant, why is that a problem?

            If the people one day wish to live / destiny cannot but respond / And the night cannot but disappear / and the bonds cannot but break. -- Abu'l-Qasim al-Shabbi

            by unspeakable on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:56:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  because he's not making a legal argument, (0+ / 0-)

              but rather throwing around buzz words.  

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:13:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would've have (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Timaeus, Euroliberal

                liked to see the gist of the legal argument, sure. But I don't have to, to know that challenging the legality of the drones is a good thing.

                If the people one day wish to live / destiny cannot but respond / And the night cannot but disappear / and the bonds cannot but break. -- Abu'l-Qasim al-Shabbi

                by unspeakable on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:27:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  challenging the legality of drone attacks (0+ / 0-)

                  is stupid, as they're not illegal under any domestic law (thanks to the Congressman's own vote), and the countries that are the subject of the attacks have all given at least tacit approval.  Challenging the morality or the policy justifications might make sense, but that would require more work than simply declaring something illegal because it's new, as soon-to-be-ex-Congressman K does.  He'd have to get into the weeds of whether or not lives actually were saved, for one thing, and what people knew when, and how careful or not careful the administrations in fact have been.  It's easier to be a "bomb thrower" instead.  

                  "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                  by Loge on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:35:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are apologizing for war crimes. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe shikspack, Joieau, downsouth

                    The bombing of Pakistan is illegal under Pakistan's laws and under international law.  And under the U.S. Constitution, the United States is bound by international law.

                    It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

                    by Timaeus on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 10:07:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  citation please? (0+ / 0-)

                      here's Harold Koh:  http://www.state.gov/...

                      some have challenged the very use of advanced weapons systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, for lethal operations. But the rules that govern targeting do not turn on the type of weapon system used, and there is no prohibition under the laws of war on the use of technologically advanced weapons systems in armed conflict-- such as pilotless aircraft or so-called smart bombs-- so long as they are employed in conformity with applicable laws of war. Indeed, using such advanced technologies can ensure both that the best intelligence is available for planning operations, and that civilian casualties are minimized in carrying out such operations.

                      The rub is "applicable laws of war," but here there's a UN resolution authorizing attacks on Al Qaeda and other belligerents and international law's recognition of an inherent right to self defense.  Pakistan could in theory bring the U.S. before the world court, but it hasn't done so, so throwing around allegations like "illegal under international law" assumes what is to be proved.  In fact, Pakistan's "protests" are largely for domestic political consumption.  When push comes to shove, the army has defended them by conceding the vast majority of those killed were terrorists.  Besides, did the raid on bin Laden violate international law?  Then why should the drones?

                      The best argument is they're disproportionate, but I think Koh responds well to that point by noting the role of technology reduces the risk of civilian deaths relative to other tactics.

                      I think these are for the most part a waste of money, but I think if the President could x out a high ranking terrorist, he'd be breaking the law not to.

                      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

                      by Loge on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 10:42:25 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thanks for taking the effort on this. (0+ / 0-)

                        I understand that the United States has erected "legal" justifications.

                        I reject them.  Later in the thread I posted several links to articles arguing that the drone bombing is illegal under international law.

                        Truth be told, however, I am so offended by the immorality and stupidity of the operation that it is secondary to me whether or not one can create a plausible legal excuse.

                        The self-defense argument, in my opinion, is bullshit by now. It made sense with respect to Osama bin Laden himself. But not to 60 villagers at a wedding party.

                        It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

                        by Timaeus on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 05:35:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

          •  Screw the "AUMF." (4+ / 0-)

            It is illegal under international law.

            It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

            by Timaeus on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 10:05:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What law do drones, specifically, violate? (0+ / 0-)

          Your vague, universal anti-war point doesn't seem to be very on-point.

          This is a diary about unmanned drones.

          I don't think you're the one who needs to be asking people about their understanding.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:41:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Killing innocent civilians (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timaeus, Euroliberal, aliasalias, NonnyO

            Uh, duh? Oh, and invading countries not specifically authorized by the legislature. Some AUMF authorizing the use of force against any and all suspected terrorists for all time does not negate international law. Other countries tend to get a bit miffed when you use force against their civilians.

            •  Only drones kill innocent civilians? FAIL. (0+ / 0-)

              I asked you a question about something specific that made drones illegal.

              Rifles kill civilians.  Grenades, artillery, manned aircraft...they all kill civilians, and none of those devices are per se illegal.

              Some AUMF authorizing the use of force against any and all suspected terrorists for all time....

              Does not exist.  You're not very good with facts, are you?

              does not negate international law

              International law recognizes the legitimacy of the use of deadly forces against enemy combatants, like those targeted by drone strikes.  There is absolutely nothing in international law that makes the use of drones as a weapon of war illegal.

              You can act as snotty as you want to pose as someone with a point, but you clearly don't have much of a grasp of the facts or the law here.  All you've got is your righteous fury and certainty of your own rightness, and that's not really going to get you very far.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:59:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Did I say that only drones kill civilians? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chipmo, aliasalias

                I said that using any sort of thing to attack into other country's territory goes against international law. We are not attacking anything like "enemy combatants" and you know it. We are making very poor guesses, shooting first and asking questions later.

                We shouldn't be shooting at any of those people with anything. We need to simply stop. They are not a threat to our national security.

                What is so emotionally charged about this issue for you? You seem very angry at me, and I've looked back over my posts looking for a reason why. I can't really find one. Care to enlighten me as to what I did to piss you off? Your entire post is basically saying, "Your facts are wrong" without citing any facts yourself, and accusing me of being an idiot. Why is that? Are you a drone pilot?

                I'm not angry. Well, not very angry, when our country breaks international law and kills innocent civilians it does tend to upset me a little. But looking back on my posts, I don't see anything like this righteous fury you claim you see.

                In short, you are doing what I like to call "Internet debating." It involves attacking your opponent, making broad, vague claims, and refusing to back up your claims with facts. We could stop that and have a real debate if you'd like.

                •  Yep, you did. (0+ / 0-)

                  You answered the question "What makes the use of drones illegal?" with "They kill civilians."

                  I said that using any sort of thing to attack into other country's territory goes against international law.

                  You don't know the first thing about international law, if you are making a statement like that.  Just stop.  If you don't have any knowledge about the topic, stop lecturing other people about it.

                  We are not attacking anything like "enemy combatants" and you know it.

                  No, we're randomly picking huts to blow up.  eyeroll

                  We shouldn't be shooting at any of those people with anything. We need to simply stop. They are not a threat to our national security.

                  Thank for sharing your feelings.  Your opinion about the wisdom of this war or its tactics has nothing to do with the question of international law.

                  What is so emotionally charged about this issue for you?

                  I don't suffer fools gladly, and I actually do believe in international law, and don't like to see it treated as a "Whatever I want" catch-all by people who lack any knowledge of it, or any interest in having that knowledge.

                  I'm not going to engage in a "debate" to clarify your understanding of international law.  You can either educate, yourself, or not.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 08:12:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Cite something then (0+ / 0-)

                    Don't be a supercilious ass who believes his authority trumps all. If I'm wrong, prove it. All of your posts so far have been mere hand waving. Links or quotes or shut the hell up with your unsourced, unverified opinions.

                    The reason you aren't going to debate me is that you do not know how to debate, and if you tried to do it honestly without all the invective, you would lose because you do not know how to construct a proper argument and back it up with facts.

        •  He's not suggesting manned missions are illegal. (0+ / 0-)

          He's not suggesting that we not have the war at all.

          He's trying to have his cake and eat it too.

          Inland: A privately held corporation spun off from the Womb Division of MomCo a half century or so ago.

          by Inland on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:15:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The same as it is now? $2,000? That work? (0+ / 0-)

      Like it does for those you refer to?

      Or did you just not know that because you spend more time making assholish off-color remarks about matters of life and death than you do educating yourself on them?

      More and Better Democrats

      by SJerseyIndy on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 06:25:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would add "targeted assassinations" (10+ / 0-)

    as a subset of this as well. It's one thing to carry out an order to "capture or kill" someone, and in the process people get killed. It's another thing, IMHO, to put someone on a "kill list" and then just obliterate them and everyone around them with the push of a button. The latter is a summary execution in my book.

  •  "Rule of law"? How quaint (17+ / 0-)

    Obama doesn't need any stinking rule of law!

    Just look at his actions in Libya.

    As for the drones, just google "CIA drones" and you'll see that as Rep Kucinich notes they are in use in numerous countries, none of which the US is formally at war against. (Again, what a quaint notion, declaring formal war.)

    I'll neither forget nor forgive Obama "joking" that time about sending predator drones after any boys who wanted to go out with his daughters. As sickening and offensive as W. "joking" about looking for WMD in the Oval Office.

    She said that she was working for the ABC News
    It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use

    by Paolo on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 07:39:19 AM PDT

  •  All right. I challenge the legality. Now what? (9+ / 0-)

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 07:43:55 AM PDT

  •  Drones... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robobagpiper

    Are "anti-septic" warfare, as in, NO US SOLDIERS are in harms way when they attack.

    So therefore, their use will be expanded... and Soldiers will have their benefits cut.

    Never mind that a Drone can neither take nor hold territory.

    Which is the only way to win a damn war, I might add.

  •  Insanity of Vietnam era Mentality persists - (17+ / 0-)

    how do you know the enemy? Simple, if you kill them, they are the enemy.

    How can any sane person think that this activity will do anything but inflame anti-US hatred?

    •  Now just hold on. We are bringing democracy to (8+ / 0-)

      these people, spending our hard earned tax money and our soldiers lives and limbs.  And now they want to hate us?
      That just ain't right.

      S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 07:57:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know that the drones that helped end... (0+ / 0-)

      the Khadaffy regime's shelling of civilians in Misurata didn't inflame anti-American hatred.

      They actually think it was a pretty good idea to stop the constant rocket barrage.

      YMMV.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:45:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The rocket barrage in Libya has been (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias

        increased ten fold - it's just now going on in the opposite direction.

        Heh, NATO fired off so many they ran out... and had to place orders for thousands more.

        •  Where the rockets are going matters, you know. (0+ / 0-)

          Firing a rocket at a tank or a radio transmitter is a bit different than launching area fire into a dense urban neighborhood full of people.

          If you actually cared about civilian casualties, this point would be obvious to you.

          And no, the rocket fire did not "increase ten fold" with NATO's involvement.  The vast majority of rockets being fired in Libya are still ground-to-ground weapons.  You should try to be a little more reality-based: find out the actual facts and draw conclusions from them, instead of checking your gut, and deciding that the facts just gotta be what you feel they must be.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:38:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  One man's insurgent (0+ / 0-)

        is another man's freedom fighter. Of course they had to pull back by NARO orders and lost the advances they made to make room for the NATO bombardment.

        Hopefully The Battle of Tripoli can be averted but one can only wonder what kind of puppet the west will puff up in old Mo's place. More brutal, less brutal? Will Libyans be better off or will tribal suffering merely change hands?

        The rocketing of Pakestan is perceived by no small amount of people there as an act of war and it is wishful thinking that such acts push the ISI further from the Taliban or al-Qaeda.

        •  There is no insurgency in Libya. (0+ / 0-)

          Insurgent is a term that has an actual meaning, and there is nothing going on in Libya that meets that term.

          I guess you haven't been paying attention to the news, but not only have the Free Libya Forces now taken all of Misurata, but they've also captured the towns around it, so that the entire city is now out of range of Khadaffy's rockets.  You're happy about that, right?  Because of your concern about the well-being of civilians?

          We don't get to decide who will follow Khadaffy.  We don't have the troops on the ground to make a decision stick.  We've been letting the Free Libya Forces handle their own politics - often with disappointing results.  This is one of the reasons why the off-the-shelf anti-imperialist arguments I hear people making ring so hollow.

          About Pakistan, I think Admiral Mullen has a point.  There were always pluses and minuses to the rocket campaign, and we might well have reached the point of diminishing returns.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 06:43:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with much of what you say (0+ / 0-)

            however it seems capricious that we tend to intervene in situations where the control of natural resources is involved as opposed to true hamanitarian crises.

            The billions we have shuffled off to Pakistan, what have they gained the people there? What has it done for us? The money, the drugs, the intelligence services...the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, the known ISI ties to the 911 hijackers, the Hindu Kush etc, etc. and a diplomatic paradigm with a country that was largely engineered by the likes of Jesse Helms still in place.

            Makes no sense to me. I have doubts that the situation in Libya will benefit in the long run from US compassion.

            •  We actually harmed our control of oil this time. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tony McArthur

              Didn't you notice the price spike that was caused by Libya's oil going off line?  Our companies were already drilling Libya's oil.  If we wanted control, all we had to do was politely avert our eyes while the oil dictator slaughtered his opponents.  Lord knows we've done it before.

              I agree with you about our Pakistani "allies."  Worst.  Allies.  Ever.  They make the Saudis look like the Canadian staff at NORAD.  They make Israel look like Churchill's Britain.

              As for Libya, it's not "US compassion."  We aren't driving this train, we're just along for the ride.  It was a UN mission, instituted at the behest of Arab countries and our European allies, and conducted under NATO command - with dramatically different doctrine and effects than our missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  If this was just the US going off on our own again, I'd be much more skeptical.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 19, 2011 at 03:04:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  You're a little late to this issue. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flowerfarmer, joe shikspack

    The time to address it is when the things being bought is authorized.
    That said, the law has always been used to deprive humans of their rights -- ever since slavery was authorized in the Constitution.

    In the beginning, each drone strike had to be vetted by a lawyer assigned to the console operator. They probably no longer bother.

    http://www.youtube.com/cyprespond

    by hannah on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 07:49:39 AM PDT

    •  24 civilian dead A-OK (3+ / 0-)

      I'll have to find the article, but about seven years ago a reporter revealed that the President had to personally authorize any strike likely to cause 25 or more civilian casualties. 24 or fewer, who cares? Weapons free. Wonder what true number is now? Plus, how many 25+ strikes did Bush and Obama order? What could possibly justify such an atrocity?

      Sickening and disturbing, the disregard tor the value of human lives and the meaning of the injustice of their taking.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:23:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Something tells me it's never too late... (0+ / 0-)

      to focus on the issue of continued, expanded, unnecessary death finding innocent people.

      But I could be wrong...

      More and Better Democrats

      by SJerseyIndy on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 06:31:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Drones are no less legal than manned aircraft. (4+ / 0-)

    This idea that drone missile attacks are somehow categorically more evil and illegal than a bomb dropped by an airplane is silly.

    If it's illegal to bomb with a drone, it's illegal to bomb with an airplane or Cruise missile.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:10:29 AM PDT

    •  evil (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WisVoter
      This idea that drone missile attacks are somehow categorically more evil

      People see drone attacks as "evil" because the operators are not at any personal risk of any sort.  They are in an air conditioned room in Arizona or wherever.  It is not combat when one side does not accept the risk of fighting but simply kills with impunity.  It is like an execution rather than combat.  Thus...more evil.  

      •  i'm sure the person who is killed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geekesque, joe from Lowell

        does not give a shit, and not just because he's dead.

        we can have a debate about the GWoT, but Kucinich doesn't propose that.  He's making the legally incorrect argument that one particular tactic violates some unspecific "rule of law" concept.  

        A cruise missile from an aircraft carrier doesn't carry that much of a risk.  Nobody's taking one of those suckers out.  For that matter, even a manned flight isn't all that risky given the elevation they may be able to reach.

        "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

        by Loge on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:33:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not combat either (0+ / 0-)
          A cruise missile from an aircraft carrier doesn't carry that much of a risk.  Nobody's taking one of those suckers out.  For that matter, even a manned flight isn't all that risky given the elevation they may be able to reach.

          Many would not consider launching a cruise missle or flying a bomber unopposed combat either.  Combat involves risk.  There can be such an assymetry between combat capabilities and risk that "combat" simply becomes execution in reality.

          •  oddly enough, (0+ / 0-)

            that's the administration's argument for why the War Powers Act doesn't apply to Libya.

            "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

            by Loge on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 12:05:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Fatuous reasoning. eom (0+ / 0-)

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:42:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So, is artillery illegal? (0+ / 0-)

        How surface-to-surface missiles and rockets?

        Sniper rifles?

        Whether the use of force is 'sporting' is not relevant to its legality.

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:47:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If there is no sufficient (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WisVoter

          care to distinguish between combatant and noncombatant, then their use is illegal. In Afghanistan and elsewhere the noncombatant death toll is high.

          That should be more than enough to challenge the legality of the use of this technology in warfare, putting aside the moral repugnance of the tactic.

          If the people one day wish to live / destiny cannot but respond / And the night cannot but disappear / and the bonds cannot but break. -- Abu'l-Qasim al-Shabbi

          by unspeakable on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:58:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That principle holds to pilots (0+ / 0-)

            and artillery crews as well.

            Air strikes from manned aircraft have an equally appalling death toll.

            "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

            by Geekesque on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:01:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, (0+ / 0-)

              but drones are a new thing. If we can get those banned, why is that a bad or objectionable thing?

              Aren't we always talking about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good? If we can ban one method that unnecessarily kills noncombatants, I fail to see the downside. Maybe making wars more difficult to fight would reduce militarism in this country.

              If the people one day wish to live / destiny cannot but respond / And the night cannot but disappear / and the bonds cannot but break. -- Abu'l-Qasim al-Shabbi

              by unspeakable on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:11:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Then we're not talking about the rule of law. (0+ / 0-)

                We're talking about policy prescriptions and preferences.

                Can we even rule out the possibility that drone attacks have a smaller percentage of civilian deaths than do cruise missile or manned aircraft strikes?

                "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                by Geekesque on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:16:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, (0+ / 0-)

                  we still are talking about the rule of law. Just because we can't apply the rule of law consistently across the field, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to apply it where we can.

                  Can we even rule out the possibility that drone attacks have a smaller percentage of civilian deaths than do cruise missile or manned aircraft strikes?

                  Don't know, but I'm not sure how relevant that is to my argument. Drones do not sufficiently distinguish between combatants and noncombatants, regardless of whether or not other means of warfare are worse. That's enough to challenge their legality.

                  If the people one day wish to live / destiny cannot but respond / And the night cannot but disappear / and the bonds cannot but break. -- Abu'l-Qasim al-Shabbi

                  by unspeakable on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:25:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is no legal principle that distinguishes (0+ / 0-)

                    an artillery shell from a drone aircraft from a smart bomb from a cruise missile.

                    A drone does nothing.  It is what its operators do that count.    They are the ones who must take the effort to distinguish combatants from noncombatants.

                    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

                    by Geekesque on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:36:57 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  combat and execution (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Claudius Bombarnac

          If your opponent has the ability to strike back, it is combat.  If your opponent cannot strike back, it becomes execution.  Much of war is execution in reality.

    •  What a backwards argument! (0+ / 0-)

      Nobody is arguing anything like that.

      Yes, of course any bombing is bombing.

      The point is that many act as if drone bombing is more acceptable, which it is not.

      It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

      by Timaeus on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 10:12:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, read the diary and especially (0+ / 0-)

        its title again.

        Also:

        our use of unmanned drones severely undermines the rule of law.   . . .Challenging the legality of drone strikes in Pakistan and calling to light their indiscriminate nature is vital

         

        "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

        by Geekesque on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 10:38:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nah, you're the one lacking reading (0+ / 0-)

          comprehension here.

          Your post is 100 percent nonresponsive to my comment.

          It really is. Read it again.

          And I did read the damned diary, but apparently you did not.

          It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

          by Timaeus on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 05:38:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Drones don't raise any unique issues (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheLizardKing, Loge, joe from Lowell

    in this context.

    Challenging the legality of drone strikes in Pakistan and calling to light their indiscriminate nature

    They're no more indiscriminate than manned air attack.  If you object to the legality of air attack, you should probably make that argument rather than the dubious one you advance here.
    •  They're probably less indiscriminate. (0+ / 0-)

      Because there is no pilot to worry about, we allow drones to loiter for hours on end, where they might be shot down, in order to target what we want to hit.

      As opposed to a manned craft, which flies in and out as quickly as possible.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:47:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what specific statute (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell

    or treaty do the drone attacks violate?  

    The administration is obviously incorrect about the civilian fatalities, but I'm pretty sure Congress -- yourself included -- authorized them with the AUMF against Terrorism.    

    "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by Loge on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:28:16 AM PDT

  •  Would you view manned strikes as any different? (0+ / 0-)

    If not, then your problem isn't with the technology.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:39:06 AM PDT

  •  We are still in 2 wars where US military are dying (0+ / 0-)

    plus 4 drone wars (Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Libya).

    "You have to understand Neo, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged, and many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it." Morpheus - The Matrix

    by pot on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:44:20 AM PDT

  •  I wonder what (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peregrinus

    President Assad thinks about the rule of law...

    eh Congessman?

    Obama 2012 http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/

    by jiffypop on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 08:47:26 AM PDT

  •  I still don't understand the drone hatred (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    Honestly. Argue against war/police action/foreign intervention/whatever if you want, that's fine. But focusing on the tool seems silly. It makes it sound like the argument is "Fighting these guys is fine as long as we give them the opportunity to kill our guys at the same time."

    Proud supporter of nuclear power!

    by zegota on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 09:45:21 AM PDT

    •  The only thing that has brought America's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias

      many wars of aggression to an end has been when military losses became unacceptable to the public. "Collateral damage" doesn't have the same effect.

      With the use of drone warfare America can now embark on perpetual war. The costs are a tiny fraction of what is required to field and support a military force offshore. There will be few howls of protest if American soldiers aren't getting killed.

      Obama is even trying to make the case that it isn't "war" if soldiers have not been deployed offshore are not in harm's way (which I find to be both immoral and disgusting).

      Unfortunately for America, these new technologies have a habit of returning and biting them on the ass.

  •  Drones are the ultimate in "GameBoy Warfare"(TM) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias

    Those using drones have absolutely no skin in the game. They don't even have to leave the wife and kiddies to kill the enemy. The only threat they face is a possible traffic accident on the way to work.

    It is asymmetric warfare taken to it's ultimate level. What Obama calls "over-the-horizon military capabilities" is nothing less than state run terrorism by any definition of the word.

    The only recourse the 'enemy' has is to target the civilian population so there will be an escalation in "terrorism" - one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter....

  •  If you are upset (0+ / 0-)

    by  the relative pinpoint accuracy of these hellfire missiles in killing these taliban/al qaida fucks, then you must have been tearing your hair out when they were being carpet bombed by B-52s at the beginning of the war.    Or is the fact that a method  has been developed to get at this elusive enemy in their stronghold the bigger  problem for you?

  •  Good diary, Mr. Kucinich. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, Euroliberal, Knarfc

    I join the call of several here for more specifics.

    It seems clear to me that the drone strikes in Pakistan violate international law. I'd like to see you make that case with some details.

    It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

    by Timaeus on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 10:15:13 AM PDT

  •  Authorization to Use Military Force... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Claudius Bombarnac

    ... does NOT authorize a president the power to declare war.  The power to declare war is a responsibility that only lies with Congress, as well as the power of the purse to pay for it (which is technically limited to two years for a declared war; what's going on right now is not covered under a declared war voted on by Congress).  AUMF only covered going to Afghanistan to look for OBL.  Allegedly OBL is now dead..., so what's stopping Obama and Congress from ordering our military personnel to start leaving Afghanistan on the next military transport planes out of there...?

    So, WHY did Congress abdicate their authority to the most moronic twit to ever occupy the White House and let him (and his puppet master) have his AUMF which he errantly turned into some kind of dictatorial permission to declare war?  That alone started me on the road to being exceedingly ashamed and embarrassed to call myself an American.  That feeling has only gotten stronger as the years pass and nothing has changed, even under a new administration.

    Besides which, Al Quaida was only an international gang of criminals and international law enforcement agencies should have gone after them, NOT most of the might of the US military forces plus corporate mercenaries.  Al Quaida was also never in Iraq, and Dumbya and Dickie and Rummy knew that for the simple reason they were members of opposite sects of Islam.  Saddam and OBL couldn't stand each other.

    Since when do we go to war with criminal gangs who have NO authority to declare war against us, are NOT part of ANY nation's government, are NOT an elected political party in ANY country...?

    The fact that neither Afghanistan nor Iraq are legal and constitutional wars renders MCA '06 unconstitutional, and that's been ruled already even by this conservative SCOTUS, since the prisoners who were tortured were not captured under a state of legally and constitutionally declared war.  That's why the big fight about which jurisdiction under which they can be tried.  Not under military law because they were not members of the military in either country (just a big criminal gang, and some were taken because a neighbor snitched and wanted a tribal enemy picked up).  It falls under civilian jurisdiction..., but they'll likely not see the inside of a US courtroom because that would mean they'd have to come to US soil to be in one of our courtrooms..., and I seriously doubt if anyone would allow that for fear of a criminal attack in the courthouse.  Civilian law covers war crimes AND torture, as well as the treaties that have been legally ratified and incorporated into the Constitution.
    USC Title 18.2441
    USC Title 18, Chapter 113C

    Since when do we keep up an illegal and unconstitutional war for a decade with a little criminal gang with FEWER than 100 members?  If someone can track down the video on ABC or YouTube (I've not yet found it on the latter), Christian Amanpour interviewed a military or Pentagon fellow within the first month of her taking over the Sun. morning political show on ABC, and she outright asked the fellow how many Al Quaida members were left, and the fellow said "fewer than 100."  REALLY?!?  How many thousands of US military personnel are fighting FEWER THAN 100 criminal gang members in Afghanistan?!?!?

    How many Al Quaida members were there originally back in 2001 when OBL claimed responsibility for 9/11?  (OBL claimed responsibility; he was never brought to trial, and no one brought forth forensic evidence published in reputable sources that proved OBL had anything to do with planning the hijacking..., but since the hijackers died, who's to disprove the claim to martyrdom by OBL?)  It only took 19 hijackers to kill almost 3000 people and do a lot of property damage.  I noticed for years and years and years that no one in Moronic Media that I was then following for info asked how many members Al Quaida had.  I'm willing to bet there were never more than about 500 international criminal gang members in Al Quaida.

    Unconstitutional though AUMF was to allow Dumbya to have a measure of dictatorial power to authorize military force (but not declare war), Congress abdicated their responsibility by not reining him in.  He took one specific permission and - on his own "authority" - expanded his executive power to include authorizing the illegal, unconstitutional, dishonorable, unethical, immoral invasion of Iraq.  Dumbya/Dickie tried to claim "unitary executive" power, but that is dictatorial power similar to monarchical power, and therefore it is an invalid power under our Constitution for the US executive branch.

    Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq were threats to the US.  Neither country's leaders declared war against us or tried to invade our shores, nor flew over and bombed us.  The US was never "defending" itself against either country, nor the ones we're bombing with drones now.  The UN was badgered into letting the US invade Afghanistan for the specific purpose of going after OBL..., but when he was cornered at Tora Bora, he was let go!  Mission accomplished.  He was caught and let go (on orders from someone on high)..., and that ended the "mission" in Afghanistan.  Our troops should have started leaving the following day.

    Seriously..., there were miscalculations of astonishing proportions by letting Dumbya, Dickie, and Rummy have so much power after 9/11.  The vast majority of Congress Critters of BOTH parties just rolled over and played dead, or soothed Dumbya's childish temper tantrums by passing what he demanded, even if it was illegal and unconstitutional..., or slavishly followed Dumbya, Dickie, or Rummy around to curry favor and repeat their empty uber-patriotic claptrap to justify the unconstitutional and illegal actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Not one single solitary US military person has died "fighting for our freedoms" ... which were never under threat from anyone except our own US Congress who took away our rights with the Patriot Act, MCA '06, and FISA fiasco '08 - and adding insult to injury, they've been extended under Obama.  Every person injured or killed in either place has died in vain, and all for the sake of war based on lies for US corporate control of the oil in Iraq (and they've profited handsomely with record-setting profits and repeated tax breaks)..., and no one knows why we're in Afghanistan unless it's to protect the opium which has been increased since the US invaded, and/or it's to protect the oil pipelines across the countryside in Afghanistan.

    AND, may I add, our Constitutional rights have still not officially been restored to us by Congress!  AUMF, Patriot Act, MCA '06, and FISA fiasco '08 ALL need instant repealing!!!

    Of course drone attacks inside countries who are no threat to us are illegal and unconstitutional.  Duh.  I can't think of any provision in the US Constitution that would allow a president dictatorial power to order military attacks inside another country without an official declaration of war by the US Congress.  That's just common sense logic, and I don't know why our Moronic Media isn't all over it, since they can't stand anything Obama does.  Why not go after Obama for something valid..., like unauthorized bombing in countries with whom we are not at war (which means all of them, technically, since we do not have legal or constitutional wars going on in Afghanistan or Iraq either).

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 04:49:24 PM PDT

Click here for the mobile view of the site