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U.S. officials tell us that a drone strike has killed al Qaeda's #2 operative - Abu Yahya al-Libi:

One American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described Mr. Libi as one of Al Qaeda’s “most experienced and versatile leaders,” and said he had “played a critical role in the group’s planning against the West, providing oversight of the external operations efforts.”
U.S. officials also told us the American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was a dangerous terrorist, when it turned out he was a propagandist, and not all that influential in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, despite Administration officials' claims that civilian deaths are rare and minimal (one official recently said "in the single digits"), the think tank New America Foundation estimated that since Obama took office, the number of drone deaths in Pakistan alone totaled between 1,456 and 2,372. Certainly these were not all high-level al-Qaeda operatives.

I can't help but notice the numbers' similarity to some of the casualty numbers from the Pentagon or World Trade Center. Obviously, Americans would no doubt agree with me that -- though Obama claims the legal authority to do so -- it would be morally reprehensible to take down one of the WTC towers with a drone just because an al-Qaeda operative happened to be hiding out in a broom closet.  

The question then is: how many innocents is it acceptable to kill to take down one suspected terrorist?

The question is made more stark considering the fuzzy math that the Obama administration is using to determine who is a "militant."

. . . Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.  
Glenn Greenwald already eloquently articulated the propaganda benefits for the administration in using the obviously erroneous "civilian death" calculations:
For now, consider what this means for American media outlets. Any of them that use the term “militants” to describe those killed by U.S. strikes are knowingly disseminating a false and misleading term of propaganda.
Reports indicate that Obama is comfortable with at least some innocent loss of life:
“He realizes this isn’t science, this is judgments made off of, most of the time, human intelligence,” said Mr. Daley, the former chief of staff. “The president accepts as a fact that a certain amount of screw-ups are going to happen, and to him, that calls for a more judicious process.” . . . .

Mr. Obama, through Mr. Brennan, told the C.I.A. to take the shot, and Mr. Mehsud was killed, along with his wife and, by some reports, other family members as well, said a senior intelligence official.

Obama flippantly called the decision to kill al-Awlaki with a drone strike "an easy one," but that strike also killed another American - Samir Khan. Was the decision to kill him as easy? Then, a drone also killed al-Awlaki's wholly-innocent 16-year-old American son.

The fuzzy-math formula for calculating civilian deaths implies that the Obama administration wants to skew the numbers to look as though drones are killing more "militants" and fewer innocents, implying there is a limit somewhere for how many innocent people Obama is willing to deliberately kill in order to take down a suspected terrorist.

But, without any meaningful oversight, Americans have no way of knowing Obama's "limit" for acceptable innocent deaths. The Obama administration's steadfast attempts to keep the courts from weighing in by insisting that it cannot "confirm or deny" the existence of the drone program reinforces the secrecy and solidifies Obama as the sole arbiter of how many innocents are worth the life of a suspected terrorist. If nothing changes, the next President will have the same authority.

Whatever our partisan leanings, Americans should ask ourselves if we would have been willing to trust all past presidents with deciding how many innocent people - including Americans - it is alright to target and kill to get one supposed "bad guy."  Would we have been as comfortable with G.W. Bush or Richard Nixon making these decisions? The presidency is bigger than Mr. Obama and his personal judgment calls about who to kill, and whatever powers President Obama seizes for himself, the next President will no doubt embrace.

In the meantime, we will continue to hear that Obama-authorized drone strikes have killed "militants," with no meaningful oversight check on whether the "militants" are actually terrorists or whether the number of civilians killed has reached an unacceptable level, whatever that is.

And this from the self-proclaimed "most transparent administration in history."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (137+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, Kathleen McClellan, 420 forever, John Kelly, downsouth, Robobagpiper, Words In Action, PatrickUK, OllieGarkey, run around, PhilJD, maryabein, Jazzenterprises, jayden, AoT, PhilK, david mizner, hyperstation, VictorLaszlo, Burned, Don midwest, Colorado is the Shiznit, SpecialKinFlag, frandor55, CA Nana, devis1, niteskolar, triv33, Demeter Rising, enhydra lutris, chipmo, socalmonk, ratzo, Jarrayy, Claudius Bombarnac, joanneleon, magnetics, Xapulin, Ginger1, Rizzo, petulans, bobdevo, elengul, lysias, greenbastard, laserhaas, bstotts, HairyTrueMan, Dr Colossus, Hayate Yagami, Simplify, tardis10, Agathena, Wek, ggwoman55, 2thanks, skyounkin, jrooth, ovals49, ladyjames, chidmf, Busted Flat in Baton Rouge, Sandino, artisan, Lady Libertine, quagmiremonkey, phillies, quince, ffour, m00finsan, Alexandre, BradyB, Angie in WA State, JesseCW, BigAlinWashSt, fuzzyguy, Lost Left Coaster, aliasalias, jboxman, AllanTBG, FrY10cK, One Pissed Off Liberal, OutcastsAndCastoffs, poligirl, Indiana Bob, NearlyNormal, stargaze, happymisanthropy, CJnyc, mango, 4kedtongue, 2020adam, suejazz, lyvwyr101, FogCityJohn, Bruin1815, wayoutinthestix, FutureNow, gerrilea, AmericanAnt, Florene, Mike in Denmark, efraker, fran1, WisePiper, Superpole, Jim P, Shawn Russell, nzanne, joe shikspack, shopkeeper, Mudderway, gooderservice, kbman, PhilW, magnuskn, Son of a Cat, Paper Cup, Medium Head Boy, expatjourno, George Hier, ZAP210, StateofEuphoria, jo fish, pgm 01, LucyandByron, Skennet Boch, AgentOfProgress, drnononono, MJ via Chicago, progdog, Funkygal, The Walrus, NonnyO, Terra Mystica, CIndyCasella, ZhenRen

    My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

    by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:15:28 AM PDT

  •  I Agree With You 110% (45+ / 0-)

    Let me see if I can explain this. I mentioned in another comment on this topic many years ago I did a lot of drugs. I was successful. I drove an expensive car. Nice suits. I went to a lot of parties with other successful, very rich people.

    By the logic of Obama is using those people were in close proximity to me they must have used drugs as well. Cause if you are in the same house or near a terrorist, you are a terrorist.

    That logic doesn't pass the "smell" test.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:23:37 AM PDT

    •  The correct answer is 42. n/t (6+ / 0-)

      the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

      by Egg on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:39:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  well, it's us or them (6+ / 0-)

      our other choices are the following:

      1) let them kill us
      2) send in ground troops some of whom will be killed

      so, either we die or they die.  that's the choices we have.  there is no peace to be found between us and homicidal suicidal religious extremists.  

      and who is off limits in violent conflict?  is my brother's death okay because he is a soldier?  is his life worth less than the life of a person who is killed by a drone while we are trying to prevent maniacs from killing thousands of people?  is it more 'fair' if a soldier dies trying to stop a lunatic then the people the lunatic is hiding amongst?  

      SOMEBODY IS GOING TO DIE in this conflict because there is NO PEACEFUL way to resolve the conflict.  so, who is going to die?  you?  me?  my family?  your family?  who?  WHO?

      i've never heard an answer for that question that doesn't require being in denial of reality.

      i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

      by Anton Bursch on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:21:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who is "them"? (9+ / 0-)

        The question the diary poses is how many innocent people may be sacrificed when we kill someone we claim is a suspected terrorist.  Thus, unless you believe that every single person who has been killed (by a drone strike or otherwise) in the so-called GWOT was actually a terrorist, you have to confront the very difficult ethical issue of when it's okay to kill innocent people.

        You're sidestepping that core issue.  You say either "we" die or "they" do.  That presupposes that the people being killed are enemies of the United States who are bent on harming Americans.  But, again, unless you're going to argue we've never killed a single innocent person (and even the administration doesn't claim that), you're left to come up with a justification for killing people who are guilty of nothing other than physical proximity to someone who may (or may not) be what we choose to term a "terrorist."  

        You may also want to be careful with this argument:

        and who is off limits in violent conflict?

        If no one is off limits in what you say is a violent conflict, then the other side would presumably be justified in targeting innocent civilians.  I don't think you believe that, of course, but if you don't, then what your position amounts to is this:  "It's okay for us to kill innocent people, but it's wrong for them to kill innocent people."

        So I think you need to go back and reread the diary.  Once you've done that, reflect for a while on what criteria you would use to justify the killing of people who have done nothing wrong.  Then try to come up with some limiting principle.  For example, is it okay to kill 10,000 innocent people to eliminate one suspected terrorist?  (For now, I'll put to one side the equally difficult issue of killing someone on mere suspicion.)  What about 1,000?  How about 10?  Or are there no limits at all?  In other words, would we be justified in firebombing a city of 150,000 people if we could say with absolute certainty that an Al Qaeda murderer were hiding there?

        These questions have no easy answers.  Suggesting that it's "us or them" grossly oversimplifies what ought to be viewed as a very thorny moral issue.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:17:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They DELIBERATELY kill innocent people. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dr Swig Mcjigger

          We don't.  Our actions are ultimately saving the lives of thousands ... perhaps millions, as that's how many they would kill if they could.

          "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

          by Neuroptimalian on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 03:49:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Huh? (4+ / 0-)

            When you know from experience that your actions will result in the deaths of innocent people, and you continue to take those actions, those actions are deliberate.  You've simply made a judgment that the end (killing suspected "terrorists") justifies the means (killings that cause so-called "collateral damage).

            So what you really seem to be saying is that our killing of innocent people is justified because our principal purpose is not to kill innocent people, but rather to kill people whom we suspect have done or will do bad things to us.  Whatever the merits of that argument, I don't think one can really claim that these killings are anything other than deliberate.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 04:27:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  i am not over simplifying at all (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          edrie, CentralMass, Dr Swig Mcjigger

          there are groups of people who have killed us and say that they will continue to kill and we have found evidence that they are in fact continuing to plan to kill us

          people in these groups are in countries around people who are not stopping them from killing us, so, we have no choice but to act to protect ourselves.  

          some of the people that around them are killed with them.  that is an undeniably horrible tragedy.  but the alternative is for us to be killed.  either because we send in ground troops (some of whom will be killed) or we just let them kill us.

          the reason to use drones is to save OUR lives.  the reason to kill these groups is to save OUR lives, before they kill us.  

          by using drones, we are choosing to kill people around our targets along with our targets.  but it's a choice between those people dying or our soldiers dying.  or not using drones or soldiers and waiting until these groups of people who are trying to kill us (and have succeeded in killing thousands of us at a time) succeed.

          it is a noble idea to never kill.  it's an idea that is not shared by a single other form of life on this planet.  it would be a wonderful thing if nobody was ever killed.  unfortunately, on this extremely violent planet, it is not always a practical idea if you want to live.

          i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

          by Anton Bursch on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 05:55:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  for the record (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            edrie, CentralMass, Dr Swig Mcjigger

            i'm not saying that we shouldn't try to avoid killing.  we absolutely should.  i am just saying that it might not always be possible while keeping ourselves from being killed.  but i think that our ultimate goal has to be long term peace in the world.  it is achievable, eventually.

            i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

            by Anton Bursch on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:35:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You're obviously evading the question. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Terra Mystica

            The diary talks about killing innocent people.  I asked you whether there was any limiting principle in your view that we, as Americans, are entitled to kill innocent people so long as those innocent people are in physical proximity to someone we believe (rightly or wrongly) to be what we call a "terrorist" (which may or may not involve having killed any Americans).  Apparently there is not.  

            But then, I suppose I should no longer be surprised by this.  Even many self-proclaimed progressives have given up any pretense of caring about what happens to other human beings, so long as those human beings are brown and adhere to a religion many find foreign.

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:10:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  my brother, who's in war, is 100% Blackfoot (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dr Swig Mcjigger

              Just imagine my dilemma as I struggle to decide which brown people I want to die.  (eye roll)

              i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

              by Anton Bursch on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:18:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well I guess that absolves you . . . (0+ / 0-)

                of any moral responsibility, then.

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:55:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  i have 1/300 millionth of the resonsibility (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dr Swig Mcjigger

                  maybe more, but i don't know how many minors there are in this country

                  actually, i should count all the people in the rest of the coalition forces that work with our country

                  you know.  killing is horrible.  it doesn't matter why it happens.  it's awful.  i wish it never happened.  i do what little i can to avoid it.  but i don't have much power to stop it and even if i spent my life dedicated to stopping it... i wouldn't make much more than a dent.  i am not going to kill anyone myself.  i have one life to live and i am not going to spend it trying to stop everyone else who will.  it's not my fault that some humans kill other humans.  like i said above, every other form of life on this planet kills.  that's the circle of life.  i can't stop nature.  i will do my best to be the small part of the slow social evolution away from killing.  that's the best that i can do.  be one small part of it.  

                  my comment above is not meant to absolve guilt for killing.  it's only meant to be frank about it.  to lay it all on the table.  to be honest about it.  cause i think that is the only way that we will actually socially evolve.  

                  i think my cat is possessed by dick cheney

                  by Anton Bursch on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:47:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Let them kill us? (4+ / 0-)

        Horseshit.

      •  Funny, that's how they feel about you (6+ / 0-)

        I live among several gangs in my rather dodgy neighborhood, so presumably if I get drilled in a raid I deserve it for not having moved out.

        "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

        by LucyandByron on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 02:39:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't bother me. (22+ / 0-)

    Collateral deaths are way down from previous wars in history.  International law quite clearly puts the blame for collateral deaths on those who hide amongst civilians.

    As a legal matter, there's just the concept of "proportionality" which has never seriously been taken to court.

    Perhaps we should ask Al Qaeda how many innocents they're willing to let die to hide their people in villages?  I'm willing to bet there's not really a cap.

  •  WHo says they're innocent? (29+ / 0-)

    They're guilty until proven innocent. That's the memo I got from this administration, just like the last one.

    The only reason that change is so hard is that the moderates on "our" side are Tories who support the aristocracy.

    by Words In Action on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:30:56 AM PDT

  •  That's OK then, as long as the drones are not (37+ / 0-)

    ravaging your neighborhood, killing your children, friends, and neighbors.  A 17 year old girl is on Obama's kill list.  I'm sure if she were 12, that would be OK too.

    Got to kill them over there before they scare us to death over here, because we as a nation, are such a bunch of pathetic cowards.

    Amazing that you bring up international law while defending drone attacks that target people with no due process what so ever....oh I forgot, the pro torture previous Bush administration hack, Brennan has a say in it... it must be fair.

    John

  •  Only the means have changed over the years (22+ / 0-)

    The U.S. has been involved in targeted killings for years despite laws against them. And we have backed and been covertly involved in ruthless coups that killed and tortured thousands.

    Look at what happened in Chile with the installation of Pinochet.

    The Shock Doctrine details the ugly truth about what we really do vs the TV propaganda version.

    Obama is commander in chief of a more efficient killing machine.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:38:00 AM PDT

    •  See If You Know Person X Is A Terrorist (0+ / 0-)

      I actually don't have much problem if you put a bullet into the back of their heads. Doesn't bother me in the least. What I do have a problem with is raining down bombs to where you kill anybody and everybody around that person.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:44:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Drone strikes include people (25+ / 0-)

        whose names the U.S. doesn't even know:

        Today, the Defense Department can target suspects in Yemen whose names they do not know. Officials say the criteria are tighter than those for signature strikes, requiring evidence of a threat to the United States, and they have even given them a new name — TADS, for Terrorist Attack Disruption Strikes. But the details are a closely guarded secret — part of a pattern for a president who came into office promising transparency.
        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        Are we supposed to believe that we don't know their names, but we know they are terrorists?

        My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

        by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:04:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Jesselyn, would you like the Prez to stop (7+ / 0-)

          targeting Al-Qaeda?

          •  Ridiculous (13+ / 0-)

            This is the new talking point that I am seeing everywhere -- either we do it Obama's way, or Al-Qaeda gets to roam the world, untrammeled.

            There are so many lawful ways of confronting terrorism. Law enforcement, international cooperation, and intelligence all can be mobilized against international terrorism. But drone assassinations? I, for one, want them to be stopped immediately.

            "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

            by Lost Left Coaster on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:25:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thank you! n/t (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ladyjames, aliasalias, pgm 01

              My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

              by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:07:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Not so ridiculous (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NedSparks, Pozzo, yella dawg

              It needn't be done "Obama's way" if somebody has a better idea - but law enforcement and international cooperation are not very realistic options in tribal hinterlands in South Asia. Intelligence is not an option - just a source of information to help in selecting options. So what ideas other than "Obama's way" would you offer?

              from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

              by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:56:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  While they're in the tribal hinterlands in (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Catte Nappe, ladyjames, aliasalias

                South Asia concocting plans to strike the Great Satan they are not a threat. Law enforcement and international cooperation come into play when they actually attempt to execute plans.

                So, we have two choices. We can put the emphasis back on law enforcement and implementing real security measures to protect our airspace and ports, and live with the possibility that there will be, on occasion, successful strikes against us.

                Or, we can conduct a never ending war on all those we suspect may want to do us harm, and, in the process, guarantee that there'll be successful strikes against us as a function of having turned the entire third world into our sworn enemies.

                Why are critically important stories that merit serious discussion posted on Open Thread for Night Owls, where, at most, 10% of the comments actually address the post? This is an embarrassing waste of the talents of Meteor Blades and Hunter.

                by WisePiper on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:37:20 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's not binary (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Catte Nappe, WisePiper

                  We don't have two choices. We have various options, some of which will be appropriate given certain fact patterns, others which will not. We already have a strong emphasis on law enforcement. We always had. Terrorism was always illegal and even under Bush, some terrorists were thwarted by law enforcement. However, law enforcement is not always a viable option. There's virtually nothing US or Yemeni law enforcement could have done against Al-Awlaki, for example. (He was already wanted dead or alive in the country we got him in).  

                     Even if you could or should choose the so called Law enforcement option, you would have successful strikes against us by terrorists. In fact, we had more of them, including the worst of all. Law enforcement did catch and punish some, but not all of the people responsible for the first WTC attack, but did not prevent a second one. So law enforcement is not the foolproof method that you seem to suggest it is with your dichotomy.

                  •  I'm not asserting or suggesting that (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo, ladyjames, aliasalias

                    law enforcement is foolproof.

                    What I'm saying is that I can live with the possibility that terror attacks may, on occasion, succeed. Just as I live with the reality that 50,000 Americans die every year in automobile accidents.

                    There are no guarantees that our lives won't end violently. We take prudent and necessary steps to minimize that premature loss of life, but inevitably we will always fall short.

                    What I can't live with, what I can't stomach, is the abject stupidity of a hyper-militaristic foreign policy that history and common sense should teach us results in the escalation of terrorism.

                    Why are critically important stories that merit serious discussion posted on Open Thread for Night Owls, where, at most, 10% of the comments actually address the post? This is an embarrassing waste of the talents of Meteor Blades and Hunter.

                    by WisePiper on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:20:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      WisePiper

                      But I really see no evidence that our use of the military has resulted in any increase in terrorism. Again we had way more casualties when the primary focus was on LE. I heard it said over and over again that "For every one of them we kill, we make ten more enemies" and then the same people argue that there are only 5 AQ members left. AQ should have multiplied enormously, give the dramatic success President Obama has had against its leadership around the world.  I have no doubt it makes some people angry, but for the most part this are just people who will stay in their own country and pose no threat to us. I've seen people argue simulataneously that "We've made more enemies in Pakistan, or Afghanistan or Yemen" with the drone strikes and also that people in those countries aren't really terrorists or pose no threat to us over there.

                      •  The 3,000 we lost at the WTC represents (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ladyjames, aliasalias

                        a failure to rely on LE, a failure to connect the dots, a failure to coordinate and act on the glaring red light data that was available before the strike.

                        As to your dismissal of the idea that our actions in AfPak are creating more terrorists than they're vanquishing I would ask you to consider: The majority of the people in that region of the world are impoverished and information deprived. They are engaged in a daily, heroic struggle to merely survive. Most of them don't know or don't believe that America was attacked by al Qaida, and those that DO know believe it was a justified reaction to the war they've witnessed being waged against them by super powers fighting geopolitical power games in their homeland for their entire lives.

                        How can that endless war, which the common people there have no stake in, and has made their already hand-to-mouth existence even more challenging, NOT radicalize them against the people that are raining death upon them?

                        Why are critically important stories that merit serious discussion posted on Open Thread for Night Owls, where, at most, 10% of the comments actually address the post? This is an embarrassing waste of the talents of Meteor Blades and Hunter.

                        by WisePiper on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 02:22:09 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Ridiculous? Answer the question.... It was meant (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pozzo, edrie, stellaluna

              for the diarist but I would gladly entertain your answer.... By the way, while you're at it, explain how using a law enforcement strategy would help you apprehen members of Al Qaeda in Afhganistan and Yemen.... I would be happy to hear your insights....

          •  Can you actually defend any of the actions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Flyswatterbanjo

            being critisized?

            The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

            by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:46:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  wow (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan, NedSparks, edrie, stellaluna

          Now we have to know everyone's name before taking military action against them? So do we pass around a sign in sheet or what?

          •  This is not military action like you are used to. (8+ / 0-)

            This is targeted killing.  This is extra-judicial execution.  This is assassination.  Even Avi Dichter, head of the Shin Bet, thought that was a bad policy when the Israelis were all hot to do it.

            Call Mitt Romney's campaign and ask "How much are the FREE bumper stickers, today?"

            by 8ackgr0und N015e on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:10:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

              That's it's not a convention military action. We don't need to know someone's name to know that that they mean us harm.

              •  All we need to know in order to know that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ladyjames

                they meant us harm was that they were in the kill radius of one of our missles when it detonated.

                I gotcha.

                The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

                by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:48:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  except that you really have no idea if they (0+ / 0-)

                "mean us harm" or have been inaccurately tagged as "terrorists".

                "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

                by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:57:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You mean to tell me (0+ / 0-)

                  That we can never determine if someone means us harm short of a full scale trial?

                  •  I didn't say "never" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ladyjames

                    You said,

                    We don't need to know someone's name to know that that they mean us harm.
                    I said,
                    you really have no idea if they "mean us harm" or have been inaccurately tagged as "terrorists".
                    The fact is that we have killed tons of civilians, including plenty with drone bombs. We can sometimes determine if someone means us harm short of a full scale trial. I'm not cool with our error rate. I live in NYC. I'd rather stop the drone bombings and take my chances here than have all these civilian kids on my conscience because our politicians want to act tough.

                    We've already killed way, way more civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan than were killed on 9/11. That same motivation we had to go to war in 2001? We're giving it to thousands of new people across the globe by murdering their innocent relatives and friends.  We're making things worse for ourselves than if we'd have never invaded Afghanistan and just left the grimy fuckers to gloat.

                    "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

                    by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 02:01:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  These people are not being killed in battle (6+ / 0-)

            They are very often in a house or housing compound, sometimes with other members of the community, when they are blown to smithereens.

            So you're damn well right that they should know who the hell they are rather than just trying to make an educated guess that they are terrorists and thus deciding to kill them.

            "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

            by Lost Left Coaster on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:27:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You're arguing that Islamic Jihad has (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joey c, BigAlinWashSt, pgm 01

            the right to bomb the homes of suspected IDF soldiers.

            That's what this redefinition of "The Battlefield" means.

            The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

            by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:47:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They already believe this (0+ / 0-)

              Judging by their actions which took place before the so called GWOT and the drone strikes, the believe that they can murder civilians on aircrafts and their workplace.

              •  They believe it. I don't. You're (0+ / 0-)

                trying to convince me they're right.

                "For example, I would support the wholesale annihiliation of an entire country...men, women, children, cats, dogs, whatever... if it is done to directly prevent the exact same from happening here." TooFolkGR

                by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:22:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  You have to know something about a person (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BigAlinWashSt, ladyjames

            before you can claim with any shred to credibility that they are al-Qaeda.

            all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

            by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:55:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Ya, what kind of terrorist? The 18 year old kid (20+ / 0-)

        in Yemen with no education who thinks he's fighting against imperial agression?  The 20 year old in Somalia who is just trying to get money for food?  Or just those that say they want to kill Americans? What about the terrorists Saudi Arabia and Qatar fund and send to Libya and Syria to fight in the Sunni/Shiite conflict?  The war on terror was about 9/11 but Bush made clear it was a Crusade, not a war.  

        "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:04:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Define 'terrorist.' (12+ / 0-)

        See, that's where it gets tricky. Even if we disregard the whole 'collateral damage' problem.

        See If You Know Person X Is A Terrorist I actually don't have much problem if you put a bullet into the back of their heads. Doesn't bother me in the least.

        'Betting against Facebook since 2012'

        by VictorLaszlo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:15:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I do. (0+ / 0-)

        In the first place, I simply do not support the death penalty when any other reasonable means exists.

        In the second, we don't "know" shit.  

        If we're talking about putting a bullet in the back of the head of a shit bag holding a plane load of people hostage, that's a different situation of course.  

        There's no credible case to be made for innocence and the defense of other is real and immediate.

        The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

        by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:45:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The scale has changed to, as has the (0+ / 0-)

      directness of our involvement.

      The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:43:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  except it wasn't touted as something grand (0+ / 0-)

      ..controlled by a group with no accountability to anyone, and a modern day Star Chamber being praised is new.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:27:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That shining beacon of light (10+ / 0-)

    are more civilian casualties...

    Go Dems!

    I didn't abandon the fight, I abandoned the Party that abandoned the fight...

    by Jazzenterprises on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:41:21 AM PDT

  •  If they weren't doing something wrong... (6+ / 0-)

    We wouldn't have killed them.

    There are no bystanders in a Clash of Civilizations.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:42:13 AM PDT

  •  Shorter (31+ / 0-)
    "Everyone who runs is a VC terrorist" "Everyone who doesn't run is a well trained VC terrorist"

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:45:01 AM PDT

  •  Only one answer, end the war on humanity, I (10+ / 0-)

    mean terror.  We keep arguing about the damn approach to terrorism without talking about how illegal the whole thing is and how it has been shoved down our throats thru propaganda.  The more they confuse people, the less they're able to see the forest thru the trees.

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:51:30 AM PDT

  •  I don't think any. (0+ / 0-)

    Then again how many innocent deaths is it ok for a terrorist to take to make some absurd point?

    Republican Family Values: Using the daughters from your first wife to convince everybody that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

    by jsfox on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:51:32 AM PDT

  •  Your writing really pisses me off... (21+ / 0-)

    and bear with me, because I actually mean this constructively. The issues you raise here (and elsewhere) re oversight, transparency, expansion of executive powers, precedent, legality and morality are both legitimate and important. As a community, as a party and as a nation there is no doubt that we need to be discussing these issues critically.

    But then you toss out a rhetorical stinker like this:

    I can't help but notice the numbers' similarity to some of the casualty numbers from the Pentagon or World Trade Center. Obviously, Americans would no doubt agree with me that - though Obama claims the legal authority to do so - it would morally reprehensible to take down one of the WTC towers with a drone just because an al-Qaeda operative happened to be hiding out in the broom cupboard.
    It's an ugly web of suggestion and one, to my mind, that devalues the legitimate issues you raise.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:51:51 AM PDT

    •  angrym - well stated (7+ / 0-)

      thank you

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:59:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But it's true (23+ / 0-)

      Obama does claim the legal authority to do just that.  Whether he would assert that authority is beside the point, by claiming it he makes it that much more likely that another president down the road will assert it.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 06:59:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The point is to put the civilian death count (17+ / 0-)

      numbers in a perspective Americans will understand.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:02:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hear me out, please... (13+ / 0-)

        In the block-quoted section you're positing that President Obama claims the legal authority to kill thousands in order to kill one and you're using a highly emptionally charged analogy in that claim, an analogy which extends to equate President Obama with any/all of those involved in planning or carrying-out the attacks of 9/11.

        I'll leave with this: I want to tip and rec your diaries because I think (as I noted above) that the issues you address are important. I'm just truly frustrated by the ways in which you frame these issues. The rhetoric doubtlessly draws page-hits but I find it unseemly. Just my 0.02...

        Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

        by angry marmot on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:18:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, please. I know what you were doing. (9+ / 0-)

        A) You were trying to put the picture in people's mind of Obama killing a few thou innocents on the off chance there was one terrorist in the bunch, which is false, and

        B) equating the WTC attack, as if killing three thousand for no reason is the equivalent of killing three thousand in order to get terrorism and prevent terrorism.

        Anyone who was actually trying to make valid points rather than score false equivalicies wouldn't have dared to bring up the WTC attacks.

        Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

        by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:46:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If Obama thought it was acceptable to kill (14+ / 0-)

          thousands of innocents to get one terrorist on American soil, we may not know about it, absent "anonymous administration officials" justifying it to the press. The administration has gone to great lengths to keep its reasoning, standards, and especially legal justifications for drone strikes secret.

          ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero writes to the New York Times:

          The American Civil Liberties Union has brought — and will continue to bring — litigation on the targeted killing program and the need for greater transparency. Time and again, the Obama administration seeks to dismiss those suits on state secrets grounds, arguing that to allow judicial review of such policies would harm national security. It has also permitted the Central Intelligence Agency to tell courts implausibly that the public does not even know the program exists.

          If numerous administration officials can defend the targeted killing program to Times reporters, then surely our federal courts and the American public should be granted that same level of respect. The administration shouldn’t hide its actions in court and then trumpet its achievements in the press.

          http://www.nytimes.com/...

          My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

          by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:55:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Heh. For a person who dodges her own question (6+ / 0-)

            of the weight of civilian deaths to get terrorists, you have the balls to say this?

            If Obama thought it was acceptable to kill (1+ / 0-)

            thousands of innocents to get one terrorist on American soil, we may not know about it, absent "anonymous administration officials" justifying it to the press.

            Actually, we would know by Obama telling us.   Which puts him one step ahead of you: we don't know what your strategy is:  let them go?   Troop sorties?   Arrest warrants?   Nobody knows if you see terrorists as real, much less what you'd do about them.

            Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

            by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:08:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am not the President (12+ / 0-)

              Nor do I have access to any of the secret documents and intelligence the president relies upon.

              What I am is a legal ethicist and constitutional lawyer, and what I see are at-best constitutionally-questionable actions and at worst blatant constitutional violations. As every first year law student knows, no national security threat - however grave it may seem - can trump the Constitution. I do not need to come up with a "counter-terrorism strategy" to legitimately criticize the President.

              My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

              by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:20:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So what makes you qualified to pronounce (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo, sviscusi, emelyn

                al Awlaki proven innocent of any involvement in planning terrorist operations, something you repeatedly do?

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

                by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:35:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have never claimed al-Awlaki was innocent (5+ / 0-)

                  I have pointed to the absence of evidence that he met the purported "criteria" to be targeted and assassinated without charge or trial:

                  The targeted killing of al-Awlaki meets none of these criteria. There is no credible evidence that al-Awlaki did anything more than generally advancing propaganda and indicating a desire to support al-Qaeda. A desire to support a terrorist group is not a particularized plan of attack or an imminent threat.  

                  The justifications for assassinating al-Awlaki that the Obama administration fed to the media were:
                  * the Underwear Bomber stayed in Awlaki's house while the attack was planned;
                  * Awlaki helped write the Underwear Bomber's "martyrdom" video statement;
                  * Awlaki introduced the Underwear Bomber to a man who designed the explosive device; and
                  * the Underwear Bomber was inspired by Awlaki's extremist videos.

                  None of these justifications constitute a particularized plan to attack the U.S. or an imminent threat - criteria numbers 1 & 5. In fact, all of them happened in the past, despite the fact that Brennan claimed in his speech that drones strikes are not about "punishing terrorists for past crimes; we are not seeking vengeance." Al-Awlaki fails Brennan's second criterion as no one has ever asserted that al-Awlaki was himself an operative, only that he supported operations through his propaganda. And he fails to meet the third criterion as well. Since when is producing hateful videos and advancing abhorrent principles a "unique operational skill"? As for the infeasibility of capture - there is no evidence the U.S. even tried to a capture al-Awlaki, much less found capture impossible. The "certainty of the intelligence base" criterion is a misnomer in itself, as the intelligence community recognizes its approach is imperfect, but al-Awlaki fails on that criterion as well. In fact, many experts saw the West as blowing al-Awlaki's influence far out of proportion

                  http://www.dailykos.com/...

                  The proper place to determine al-Awlaki's guilt or innocence of any crime - including terrorism - would have been a court, but Obama decided to bypass the third branch of government.

                  My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

                  by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:49:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  But, there is no such absence of evidence. (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    jdsnebraska, Pozzo, emelyn, stellaluna

                    As has repeatedly been pointed out to you, there are multiple reports (including filings in two different courts in two different countries) demonstrating that he had an operational role in plotting and orchestrating terrorist attacks.

                    To simply sit there and pretend that they don't exist can only be explained by a combination of bad faith and laziness.

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

                    by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:01:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There is no proof because proof of guilt... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...can only be established on court. "Reports" do not equal proof.

                      Moreover, terrorist attacks are not acts of war, they are crimes and, until Bush-Cheney broke two centuries of precedent, have always been considered such.

                      Finally, Ms Radack never pretended such reports do not exist, and your repeated insistence that she has can only be explained by "a combination of bad faith and laziness" on your part.

                      Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

                      by expatjourno on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 12:22:13 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Courts aren't in the prevention business. (0+ / 0-)

                        They are in the punishment business.

                        Al Awlaki was killed to prevent him from engaging in terrorist attacks.  Not to punish him for past misdeeds.

                        Raddack's approach is to leave people beyond the reach of law enforcement alone and let them do whatever they want.

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

                        by Geekesque on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:21:22 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  That's untrue. (0+ / 0-)

                          Many, many plots have been foiled and the conspirators arrested before they have succeeded in their attacks. they are by no means "beyond the reach of law enforcement alone."

                          Your approach is to gut the Constitution and do away with the rule of law because you are afraid.

                          "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

                          Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

                          by expatjourno on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 09:53:33 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  "Proven"? It's not innocence that needs (3+ / 0-)

                  to be proven.

                  The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

                  by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:01:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There was no one proven guilty (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo, emelyn, stellaluna

                    of 9/11 before it happened.

                    That's the problem--criminal law is not suited to preventive measures.  By the time a conspiracy has gotten far along to support arrests, it's too late to stop it.

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

                    by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:03:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's untrue. (0+ / 0-)
                      That's the problem--criminal law is not suited to preventive measures.  By the time a conspiracy has gotten far along to support arrests, it's too late to stop it.
                      The Millennium plot and many other conspiracies were broken up and arrests made before the attacks took place. Is your memory really that short? Or are we seeing another "combination of bad faith and laziness," to use your phrase, on your part?

                      Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

                      by expatjourno on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 12:25:48 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Certainly some cases exist where conspiracies (0+ / 0-)

                        unravel or get broken up due to wiretapping and/or infiltration via informers.

                        Other times hundreds or thousands of people get killed.

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

                        by Geekesque on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:19:07 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Let me remind you that the U.S. Government... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...had all the pieces it needed to stop the 9/11 attacks without breaking any laws. It failed to connect the dots and failed to act.

                          The U.S. was extremely successful in preventing terrorist attacks without shredding the rule of law. And so has every other civilized country.

                          Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

                          by expatjourno on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 09:59:33 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Doesn't matter. (0+ / 0-)

                  Terrorist operations are criminal acts, not acts of war.

                  Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

                  by expatjourno on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 12:16:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They are armed attacks targeting the US (0+ / 0-)

                    which the US has every right to use armed force to prevent.

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

                    by Geekesque on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 07:22:11 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  They are criminals. (0+ / 0-)

                      And that is what people like this have always been considered until Bush-Cheney, whether it's the Weathermen, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the KKK, the Red Brigades, or whoever.

                      You may be fine with living in a fictitious state of war that will never end and that will always be used as a pretext for curbing civil liberties, but I prefer the rule of law.

                      Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

                      by expatjourno on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 09:48:33 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  This part is put too strong (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dr Swig Mcjigger

                " As every first year law student knows, no national security threat - however grave it may seem - can trump the Constitution."

                Tell that to Abraham Lincoln, who suspended habeus corpus.

                Or would you have impeached him?

                We are in a grey area, not anticipated by the writers of the Constitution.  A way deperately needs to be found to allow for judicial review.  Arguing that this all should be public is a argument designed to fail (war makers never reveal plans ahead of time, and neither the public nor the courts would ever read it that way).

                The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

                by fladem on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:53:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "war makers" Right on. (0+ / 0-)

                  "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

                  by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:02:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  We are not in a "grey area", nor in any (3+ / 0-)

                  area the Founders could not anticipate.

                  What we are dealing with is no different than the pirates they dealt with.

                  Who, btw, were still entitled to trials.

                  The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

                  by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:03:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  The existence of the United State was at stake... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...when Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. More than half a million Americans died in the conflict.

                  Al Qaeda does not threaten the existence of the United States. Every year, car accidents and handguns kill ten times more people in the United States than Al Qaeda has in its entire existence.

                  This is not a gray area. It is an abuse of power that began under Bush-Cheney.

                  Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

                  by expatjourno on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 12:30:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  You're such a coward. (2+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo, yella dawg
                Hidden by:
                expatjourno

                Rather than even try to answer your own questions, you prounounce the entire issue settled by the Constitution...thereby relieving you of the burden of answering anything difficult

                You further refuse to answer your own questions a bout how many innocents for a real terrorsit, preferring to leave it all to the guy with the intel.....who, despite you deferring to him, you shit on mercilessly for making just that judgement.

                For an ethicist and a constitutional scholar, you find a fuckload of ways to avoid providing any analysis on ethcis or the constitution, beyond your calumny of a strawman of Obama attacking the WTC.  

                Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

                by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:52:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  This is not purely a national security question (0+ / 0-)

                in the limited sense, as any first year law student should know.  Ignoring the military aspects of this is just not intellectually honest.  But then neither was the ACLU's position on Citizen's United.  

                •  It's not a military issue. It is a criminal one. (0+ / 0-)

                  And it was always considered one until Bush-Cheney broke two centuries of precedent.

                  Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

                  by expatjourno on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 12:31:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Thank God (0+ / 0-)

                For at least that much.

            •  a strategy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ladyjames

              * stop invading other countries
              * stop supporting autocratic/dictatorial regimes
              * follow international law

              "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

              by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:30:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  spot on (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest, Deep Texan

          These people have no shame.

          •  We're not the ones killing kids in the (0+ / 0-)

            belief it will get us votes.

            We don't have a reason to feel shame.

            The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

            by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:04:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Um, you do have a reason to feel shame. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              emelyn

              At least, as of the making of your craptastic comment.   Only a truly amoral coward would imply that motivation, or somehow feel that as long he's not killing kids for votes he's got nothing to apologize for.

                But that's the thing about the true believer fanatics who believe themselves washed in the blood of the lamb or whatever.

              Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

              by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:57:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  nah son (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ladyjames, The Walrus

                maybe you don't remember 2008 clearly, but I sure do. To escape the "wimpy democrat" tag, Clinton and Obama were fighting over who could act toughest about the "war on terror". Our current president was talking about how Afghanistan was the right war to be fighting.

                They did this because they both wanted to win the Presidency and knew that a lot of our voters judge the president on how tough they act w/r/t foreign policy.

                So, both Democratic candidates adopted pro-war stances to further their electoral hopes. Now they're the President and Sec. State, and our drones are killing civilians in four countries. Makes me so proud to be a Democrat i can't even express it.

                "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

                by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:59:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Supporting your first vile lies with bullshit. (2+ / 1-)
                  Recommended by:
                  emelyn, sviscusi
                  Hidden by:
                  LucyandByron

                  Okay, let's recap.

                  First you say that Obama is killing kids to get elected.  

                  Rather than doing what is appropriate after making such as statement, which is going off and fucking yourself, you decide to give it a historical gloss of bullshit.

                  To escape the "wimpy democrat" tag, Clinton and Obama were fighting over who could act toughest about the "war on terror".
                  Leaving aside your quotes, as if somehow quoting republicans gives us a valid sense of what they were thinking, you're just making shit up.  

                  Yes, it's true, Obama isn't against all wars, just dumb ones, as he famously said.  That's not "pro war", that's not engaging in wars to look tough.  And it's sure not killing kids to get elected.  

                  But like the diarist, you're a coward: you don't have the courage of any conviction of your own, so you merely ascribe the worst possible motive to other people in an ad hominem argument against them, and never answer any question like, how do you battle terrorists?  Because that's not your department, is it.  Disgusting.  

                  Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

                  by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:36:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Accusations of lying and cowardice get bagel (0+ / 0-)

                    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

                    by LucyandByron on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 02:36:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  try using those two holes above your nose (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    LucyandByron

                    to see the truth, yo.

                    I am not JesseCW. I never wrote "First you say that Obama is killing kids to get elected. "

                    But your comment, despite all it's vitriol, does not manage to rebut what I did write.

                    1. In 2008 the current president emphasized how he was in favor of stepping up the war in Afghanistan to prove that he wasn't a wimpy pacifist (which the GOP tried to label him because he opposed the war in Iraq).
                    2.  He wanted to prove he wasn't a wimp because the voting populace rewards candidates willing to be violent in conducting foreign policy and punishes those who lean pacifist.
                    3. Being in favor of stepping up the war in Afghanistan meant a certain increase in civilian casualties, because that's how war works.
                    4. This mean that the current President was willing to accept the potential for a higher civilian body count in Afghanistan as the price of looking better to the American electorate.
                    5. I don't believe that he actually thought Afghanistan was anything other than a "dumb war" because anyone would have to be stupid to think otherwise. The English couldn't conquer/hold Afghanistan, and neither could the Russians. It's the graveyard of empires. Fighting there is the epitome of stupid. I think the president is smart, so I think he said he would fight there, and kept fighting there, because of domestic political concerns.

                    But instead of engaging with my argument, maybe you'd like to call me a coward and then complain about my ad hominem attacks again, or maybe mix me up with yet another commenter.

                    "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

                    by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 02:41:19 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  They weren't killed for no reason. (0+ / 0-)

          They were killed in order to scare us into destroying our own country, and lure us into a war that would bankrupt us financially.

          A complete ethical bankruptcy was something we just decided to do ourselves.  

          The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

          by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:01:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  pls. remove your "american exceptionalism" goggles (5+ / 0-)

          Al Qaeda killed ~3,000 Americans.

          In the various "war on terror" battlefields since then (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen), while estimates are imprecise, the number of dead civilians almost certainly reaches into 6 figures.  

          Regarding drone wars specifically, Estimates also vary widely. The CIA once insisted that they had never hit a civilian. That is clearly a lie. The Brookings Institute suggested that only 1 out of 10 deaths from drone bombings was a militant/terrorist. PakistanBodyCount.org contends that between 1154 and 2286 civilians have died in drone attacks just in that country.
          By contrast, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that in Pakistan since 2004 "[b]etween 2,347 and 2,956 people are reported to have died in the attacks...[with between] 392-781 civilians being killed."

          So that's somewhere between 400 and 2300 dead civilians just from drone attacks in Pakistan. Then there's drone attacks in other countries, and then there's other civilian deaths that directly result from our decision to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

          I am "trying to make valid points rather than score false equivalicies" as you put it with such a lack of eloquence. You are correct that 9/11 can't be compared with the US's subsequent actions in the "war on terror" because our actions have been so much worse. A few fundamentalists killed 3,000 people here. We've invaded two countries and caused the deaths of uncounted tens or hundreds of thousands.

          But you just keep telling yourself that it's all okay because our current president has a "D" after his name.

          "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

          by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:28:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. Just Wow. (0+ / 0-)
          equating the WTC attack, as if killing three thousand for no reason is the equivalent of killing three thousand in order to get terrorism and prevent terrorism.
          I'm sure those 3000 innocents we killed are so relieved that they got snuffed for a good reason and their sacrifice was worth your cheering.

          I'm sure the guys who slammed their planes into the Twin Towers had their own comforting excuses for how what they were doing was right too.

          Both examples are disgusting and inexcusable.

          You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

          by Johnny Q on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 03:12:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Were the Founding Fathers terrorists? (5+ / 0-)

      They revolted against their lawful sovereign.  They destroyed property.  They dressed up as Indians to do so, and were thus unlawful noncombatants.  They defied the legal constituted authorities and caused the Boston Massacre.  

      Loyal supporters of the Crown were retaliated against, homes burned, etc.

      If we had lost the Revolution, they would all have been hanged.

      If George III had predator drones, he would have used them against Patrick Henry, Washington and Jefferson (that damned Jefferson and his libertarian propaganda).;

      When you live in a country founded on violent revolution, it's kind of hard to point fingers.

      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:20:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Geekesque, Pozzo

        The only casualties of the Boston Massacre were colonists killed by the British soldiers. And the Founders are terrorists for that?

        •  The Founders incited a riot and the Brits (4+ / 0-)

          responded appropriately (from a British point of view).  Just like the National Guard and the anti-war demonstrators at Kent State (from the Guard's point of view).

          All I'm saying is, the same behavior can be characterized in different ways depending on the point of view.  And if you want to look at the government with the most blood on its hands in the 21st century . . . we're probably the clear leader in the clubhouse.

          There are those 1,000,000 or so dead Iraqis whose only crime was living on top of OUR oil.

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

          by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:51:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no one called the Kent State 9 (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo, Don midwest

            terrorists. Come on Bob, you're better at discussion that that.

            Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

            by nickrud on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:33:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Uh, it wasn't nine* and I was there and the (5+ / 0-)

              locals certainly called the students terrorists.  Perhaps the word was not commonly used then - demonstrators was more like it - but let me quote the fucking Governor or the State of Ohio - BEFORE the shooting:

              "They're worse than the brown shirts and the communist element and also the night riders and the vigilantes. They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America. I think that we're up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America."
              Strong well trained militant revolutionaries - worse than the brown shirts (Nazis).   And you're saying NO ONE called them terrorists??

              * 4 dead, nine wounded.

              I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

              by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:47:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  A perfect example of what I'm (0+ / 0-)

                talking about - using an outlier as an exemplar. Piss poor, bob.

                Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

                by nickrud on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:14:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  An outlier? No, the governor's comments (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  efraker, SpecialKinFlag, Don midwest

                  were well supported in the local Letters to the Editor, where "they should have shot them all" ran neck-and-neck with "my what a tragedy".

                  The voters of Ohio then re-elected the bastard, so a majority of Ohio voters arguably supported his views on student terrorists.

                  I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

                  by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:26:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Except, the civilians were throwing rocks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bobdevo

            and large chunks of ice at the British soldiers.

            No one was throwing rocks at the Guard at Kent State.

            The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

            by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:05:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  So, bin Laden=George Washington. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jdsnebraska, emelyn

        A perfect encapsulation as to why certain segements are properly ignored by policymakers.

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

        by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:36:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the Brits had won . . . yes. n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jarrayy, happymisanthropy

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

          by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:47:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Insane, dishonest horseshit. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo, jdsnebraska, emelyn

            George Washington didn't massacre 3000 British civilians.

            You may think that Washington and Jefferson are objectively indistinguishable from bin Laden and Al Zawahiril, but don't smear the British by pretending they subscribe to that lunacy.

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

            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:55:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you totally unable to think? (3+ / 0-)

              How many Loyalists were killed or forcibly removed from the US?  

              3,000 civilians in ratio to 300,000,000 = one out of every 300,000 Americans.  

              Since the population of the colonies in 1776 was about 2,500,000 - if EIGHT loyalist civilians were killed, the "ratio of terror" between bin Laden and Washington was even.

              And how does any close-to-rational person think there's any smear of the Brits.  

              Jeebus, the stupid burns.

              I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

              by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:17:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're drawing a moral equivalence (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo, jdsnebraska, emelyn

                between Washington/Jefferson and bin laden.

                The vast majority of Brits would find your views as repulsive as I do.

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

                by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:31:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  what? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bobdevo

                  that they would not have executed Washington for treason?

                  Regardless of the morality of any particular act, an insurgent is an insurgent.

                  Answer this:  Imagine there were two insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan, one shooting at American soldiers only and the other shooting at both soldiers and civilian noncombatants.

                  Would we treat them differently?  Of course not.  If they shoot at us, they're the enemy.  Neither we, today, nor King George, care whether the people shooting at them are terrorists or just rebels.

                  Terrorism is a tactic, not a defining characteristic.

                  all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

                  by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:08:05 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  bin Laden was not an insurgent. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo, tytalus, emelyn

                    He ordered the massacre of civilians on multiple continents.  AQ was not a resistance movement, but rather an attempt to impose a global form of tyranny in the form of a caliphate.

                    It's rather irksome to see people act like bin Laden's motivation was essentially the same as Noam Chomsky's in terms of resisting western aggression.

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

                    by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:21:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's a totally ignorant explanation of (4+ / 0-)

                      bin Laden's  motives, which he set out clearly, and which ex-CIA agent Michael Sheuer talks about in Imperial Hubris.  The precipitator of bin Laden's efforts was the presence of US troops in the Saudi homeland, which presence calls for defensive jihad (NOT a caliphate) by all Muslims (according to bin Laden).

                      Why were US troops in Saudi Arabia?

                      Well, it seems like one of our former CIA bully boys, a Mister Saddam Hussein, who we provided intel and precursor chemicals when he went to war with Iran as our proxy.  When Saddam was killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians. we had no problem with his behavior.

                      Later, Saddam Hussein, after consulting with the US Ambassador to Iraq, decided to invade Kuwait because they were slant drilling Iraqi oil.  Amb. Glaspie told Hussein the US does not get involved in intra-Arab squabbles, and Hussein green-lighted the invasion.  Then, when the Saudi's got nervous about Hussein's possible designs on the Kingdom, the US did their bidding and went to war. And also placed troops in Saudi Arabia.

                      How many Iraqi civilians did we murder during that escapade?  

                      Since the US killed a couple of million Vietnamese and a couple million Cambodians in our ill-advised and illegal adventures in SE Asia, just what gives you the right to such sanctimony, it's like parsing how many angels dance on a pin.

                      Is bin Laden a murderer?  Most certainly.  But who has murdered more innocents in the last 60-some years - al Qaeda or the US??

                      I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

                      by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:40:57 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Oh, so his motive was a holy war (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Pozzo

                        to purify Islamic lands of infidels and replace the Saudi regime because it failed to implement sharia.

                        Much better.

                        P.S.  Why the non-stop terrorism directed at India?

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

                        by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:49:24 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
                          P.S.  Why the non-stop terrorism directed at India?
                          Our Pakistani allies have more to do with that than OBL.  Has been going on since he was born.

                          all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

                          by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:53:32 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  And the Framers motives were to break (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          LucyandByron

                          the treaty George III had with the Indian Nations forbidding settlement west of the Alleghenies.  Washington had surveyed the terrain when he helped start the French-Indian War.  Settlement land west of the mountains was in fact used to induce wavering "patriots" into committing treason against the Crown, and the insurgents were rewarded with lands in the Western Reserve - or the Ohio Company lands in southern Ohio.

                          If you have read any history, you will notice the virtual extermination of the indigenous peoples.  Oh - and also the extension of slavery beyond the mountains.  Yes, America has always been a shining exceptional place as long as you're not darker than a cafe latte . . . funny thing . . . those Muslims are kind of brown, too . . .

                          As for India,  Pakistan is our ally, so why don't you ask Hillary to bitch to them about India and the ISI/al Qaeda ties.  

                          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

                          by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:33:26 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  So this rogue Washington (0+ / 0-)

                            didn't care about independence from the Crown, but rather was interested in committing genocide, and in fact was responsible for starting the Seven Years' War.  Acting on his own authority.

                            Amazing the things people learn at "America is the Great Satan University."  I guess they operate campuses in the US now.

                            Given that you view bin Laden as a modern-day George Washington, that does explain quite a bit about your opposition to being mean to terrorists.

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

                            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:40:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Read some history . . . really. (0+ / 0-)

                            George Washington: French & Indian War

                            He soon had his war. In fact, he basically started it. In 1754, the Virginia government had raised a statewide force to counterbalance the increasing French military presence in the interior. On the strength of his connections and experience, Washington had been appointed the unit's second-in-command, at the rank of lieutenant colonel. The force was sent into the Ohio Country with orders to warn the French to abandon their forts and keep out of the region. On 28 May, not far from the site of modern-day Pittsburgh, Washington's forces—a crew of 40 Virginians and a dozen allied Iroquois warriors—encountered a small French scouting force.

                            The battle lasted only fifteen minutes. Suffering only one casualty of their own, Washington's men killed a dozen Frenchmen and captured over twenty more. Victory quickly turned to nightmare, however; in the aftermath of the battle, Tanaghrisson—the leader of the Iroquois in Washington's contingent—led a massacre of the surrendered French prisoners. (Tanaghrisson had his own reasons for seeking to deliberately provoke war between the French, British, and Iroquois.)

                            I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

                            by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:48:23 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, 22 year old George Washington (0+ / 0-)

                            was the mastermind behind the Seven Years' War.

                            Nevermind the governor who gave him orders practically guaranteeing a violent confrontation.

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

                            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:13:47 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Round 2. Remedial reading skills needed. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            aliasalias

                            Never said Washington didn't care about independence from the Crown - that was precisely what he was interested in.  But it's the why.  It was even laid out in the Declaration of Independence, which is basically a laundry list of reasons to break up with the King, including but not limited to:

                            He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
                            Which translated means the King had prohibited settlements west of the Alleghenies, and when colonists insisted on breaking the ban and settling in territory designated by treaty as "Indian lands" - the King refused to commit troops to defend the settlers from the Indians, who didn't care for the folks breaking the treaty and stealing their land.

                            Note also the sanctimony - blaming the Indians for their rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.  Given the later near-extermination of the Plains Indians, the Trail of Tears, Wounded Knee, etc, etc.  If fact, our rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan should also be blamed for the dead of all ages, sexes and conditions.  Bad Indians!

                            I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

                            by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:57:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  "It's the why" (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            emelyn

                            It was reason #26 listed in the Declaration.

                            So, in your view, 22 year old George Washington masterminded a war between the planet's two great powers in order to realize the 26th most important grievance listed in the Declaration of Independence.

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

                            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:16:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  again, an irrelevant distinction (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bobdevo

                      would the British have cared whether George Washington intended to install himself as King?  Not a damn bit.

                      And no, you didn't answer my question.

                      And again, you're pretending there's a relationship between the tactics that OBL uses and his long term ends.  He's a terrorist because he blows civilians up, not because he has religious views.  

                      You could have an absolute pacifist who shared OBL's general goal of a global caliphate, but that wouldn't make him a terrorist.

                      all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

                      by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:52:28 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So we agree that in no manner is (0+ / 0-)

                        bin Laden on the same level as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson.

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

                        by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:54:36 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  nobody ever said they were morally equivalent (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Geekesque

                          we're talking about the schmucks that we blow up because our drones spot them carrying something that looks like a rifle.  There may be occasions where we have better intelligence and know that they have higher political aspirations.  However, as pointed out, usually we don't even know their names.

                          They may not be freedom fighters, but unless we have specific intelligence we can't say for certain what they are.  And we very rarely have specific intelligence.

                          all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

                          by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:22:15 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh (0+ / 0-)

                          and you still haven't answered my question.

                          all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

                          by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:22:44 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  To answer your question: (0+ / 0-)

                            We very well could treat them differently.   That one group would fire deliberately at civilians would change the calculus when engaging them near civilians.  It would also change how we enlist local civilians in efforts to fight them, etc.

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

                            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:33:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  If the Revolution had failed, both Washington (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          joey c, aliasalias

                          and Jefferson would have been hung; so all three would have been failed revolutionaries summarily executed by the superpower they foolishly fucked with.

                          It's all about who writes the history.

                          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

                          by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:39:31 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  if you're gonna bring him up (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bobdevo, ladyjames, aliasalias

                      try actually reading some Chomsky. He makes it pretty clear that he doesn't buy the "they hate us for our freedoms" bullshit and that the people the US labels "terrorists" for the most part have grievances with our foreign policy. For example, how we prop up dictators and autocrats in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Egypt Bahrain, etc.

                      "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

                      by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:05:32 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  People get mad when you hit bone. (0+ / 0-)

      The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:55:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's even worse. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pozzo, sviscusi

      To make her point, Ms. Radack concedes that Abu Yahya al-Libi was a terrorist, but then declares everyone else killed in drone strikes to be "innocents". Per the New America Foundation study she cites:
       

      Our study shows that the 302 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, including 22 in 2012, from 2004 to the present have killed approximately between 1,845 and 2,836 individuals, of whom around 1,552 to 2,365 were described as militants in reliable press accounts. Thus, the true non-militant fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 17 percent. In 2011, it was more like eleven percent.
      Cherry-picking data to make a point is just fine for the moral high-horse crowd.
      •  other studies disagree massively (0+ / 0-)

        I cited some in a prior comment.

        "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

        by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:07:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sviscusi, joey c

          The Brookings Institute post you link to in your prior comment is from 2009. It provides no source for the 10 to 1 civilians to militants killed ratio. The one link it does have is to a Peter Bergen article that makes no such claim (the link in the 2009 article doesn't work, but I was able to track it down elsewhere).  

          The Pakistan Body Count site gives no methodology for how civilians are distinguished from militants in it numbers, and the press sources it provides seem to contradict its classifications for many of the dates I checked. For example, on 9/29/2009, a drone struck the home of a Taliban leader in Sararogha. Here are two articles about the strike that Pakistan Body Count cites as references. Pakistan Body Count lists all of those killed as civilians (it's the first entry for that date), yet both articles describe the dead as militants.

          •  thanks for digging. I did some more too... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dmd76

            First I'll note that Pakistan is not the only place where drone strikes occur.

            I checked out Brooking's Afghanistan index (updated in March '12)and Pakistan index (updated in Dec. '11), which offer much more details than that op-ed.

            So Brookings estimates that for Afghanistan monthly violent civilian deaths since 2009 have never dropped below 100 and have been as high as 350 (Figure 1.28). Month-on-month comparisons show that 2010 had higher death tolls in every month except May and September. The Obama administration has made progress on the percentage of civilian deaths attributable directly to pro-government forces, which were at 40% in 2008 and are now at 14%, with 9% unattributable. Still in 2009-11, the US-led coalition has been responsible for ~500 civilian deaths per year by their count.

            For Pakistan, their source for civilian vs military drone bombing casualties is the New America Foundation, so their numbers match what you quoted above.

            The figuresfrom the Bureau of Investigative Journalism work out to a civilian death rate between 17 and 26%.

            Meanwhile, the Cost of War project's full paper notes the variation visible in reporting on and categorizing  war-related deaths in table 1 by comparing 2008-10 civilian death counts from the United States National Counterterrorism Center, Afghanistan Rights Watch, and the UN.  They vary widely.

            Which was my entire point in originally replying to your comment - these figures are hard to gather, methodologies vary, and biases abound. It has been suggested that being male and of fighting age leads to being classified as a militant for death count purposes, which would upend all these figures if true.

            However, I am also prepared to cede your point that portraying all of these deaths as civilian is disingenuous.

            "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

            by joey c on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 09:21:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Strong Editorial in Guardian - Obama Playing God (16+ / 0-)

    Also quotes Miller that Obama is Bush on steroids when it comes to drone strikes.

    "Drone strikes: playing God in Pakistan
    When is a last resort truly a last resort, particularly in areas well back from recognised battlefields?"

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    The editorial comments on Obama's other policies:

    From the very first days of his presidency, Mr Obama's training as a lawyer was put to use not in abolishing the worst practices of the Bush era, but in giving himself the wriggle room to preserve and in some cases expand them. Thus the three major policies of the Bush war on terror – rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention – continue to this day. But Mr Obama has also presided over a massive expansion of secret surveillance of American citizens by the National Security Agency. There is a ferocious crackdown on whistleblowers. He has made more government documents classified than any previous president. And he has become a true believer in drones.
  •  Innocents always die in warfare. (8+ / 0-)

    You are aware of the fact that both Al Qaeda and the Taliban don't really care all that much when innocent civilians are killed by their bombs, executions, and suicide bombings, right?  They also don't mind school girls being poisoned, innocent construction workers being executed, and civilians being terrorized if they don't live according to extremist religious standards.

    Now the question is whether the drone strikes in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas are preventing more civilian deaths than they are causing.  I'd be willing to bet cold, hard cash that they are preventing far more deaths than they are causing, because the vast majority of those killed by drone strikes are exactly the people who are responsible for the loss of civilian lives in terrorist attacks throughout the world and the 80% plus civilian deaths being caused by extremists in Afghanistan.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:01:15 AM PDT

    •  You are aware that we don't seem to care that much (9+ / 0-)

      about innocents being killed either.  If we did then you might actually hear more about them dying on the news.

      I'd be willing to bet cold, hard cash that they are preventing far more deaths than they are causing, because the vast majority of those killed by drone strikes are exactly the people who are responsible for the loss of civilian lives in terrorist attacks throughout the world and the 80% plus civilian deaths being caused by extremists in Afghanistan.
      We'll never know given that the kill list is secret.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:14:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um... (8+ / 0-)

        The Taliban, Al Qaeda, and their affiliates were responsible for the loss of over 2500 civilians in Afghanistan last year.  Seeing that the drone strikes are targeting the very people responsible for ordering the attacks that are responsible for those tremendous losses in innocent lives, I'd say it's not all that hard to figure out that the drone strikes are likely preventing more civilian deaths than they are causing.

        And there are indications that the locals in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan are actually in favor of the drone strikes that are targeting the religious fanatics that are terrorizing the locals there.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:30:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So where in there did you support your assertion (6+ / 0-)

          that we care oh so much about civilians and children?

          Seeing that the drone strikes are targeting the very people responsible for ordering the attacks that are responsible for those tremendous losses in innocent lives, I'd say it's not all that hard to figure out that the drone strikes are likely preventing more civilian deaths than they are causing.
          You are merely restating an assertion that I asked you previously to provide some evidence for.  The fact of the matter is that you can provide absolutely no evidence.  You can provide only the promise of the government that they are doing the right thing.

          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:33:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  considering that we have (5+ / 0-)

            nearly 100k troops on the ground in Afghanistan and all Taliban, Haqqani and other forces total somewhere between 50-80k, while US forces account for about 25% of civilian deaths  don't think it's hard to see which side is more callous about civilian deaths.

            Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

            by nickrud on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:45:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's actually far lower than that. (6+ / 0-)

              Pro-government forces(that includes both ISAF and the Afghan National Security Forces) were responsible for about 14% of civilian deaths in Afghanistan last year:

              Anti-Government Elements caused the most Afghan civilian deaths in 2011 – 2,332 or 77 percent of all civilians who died in the conflict, up 14 percent from 2010. In addition, 410 civilian deaths (14 percent of the total) resulted from the operations of Pro-Government Forces, a decrease of four percent from 2010. A further 279 civilian deaths, or nine percent of the total, could not be attributed to a particular party to the conflict.
              http://unama.unmissions.org/...

              And yes, it does seem pretty obvious who is more concerned about the lives of civilians.

              "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

              by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:52:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So we kill hundreds of civilians a year (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ffour, JesseCW, aliasalias

                How does that translate into us caring more?  I'm sure if the enemy had the ability to attack American troops at no risk to themselves they would do so.  Don't get my wrong, the other side doesn't care either, but pretending like to US gives a shit about civilian casualties on any level other than propaganda is absurd.

                There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:44:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sorry, but I don't see the 50 or so nations that (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dr Swig Mcjigger, tytalus, JNEREBEL

                  constitute ISAF as inherently uncaring about human lives.

                  Furthermore, the U.S. military does, indeed, care a lot about keeping civilian casualties as low as possible, even if also out of a self-serving motivation.  It's a lot harder to win a COIN campaign when one kills lots of civilians, after all.

                  I also don't think that the men and women who serve in our military are just a bunch of mindless, uncaring people.

                  "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                  by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:57:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, of course, our side cares because you think (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JesseCW

                    they care.  And the other side are all mindless killing machines because they are the enemy.  And yeah, you think a lot.  I wasn't talking about what you think, I was talking about the actions of the US military in regards to killing civilians.  Killing hundreds of civilians is the opposite of what you'd do if you cared about not killing civilians.

                    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                    by AoT on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:05:03 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  This comes from a Government which has (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jarrayy, aliasalias

                made clear that every swinging dick 16 to 60 who we kill is automatically a combatant until proven otherwise.

                Armed or not.

                The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

                by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:08:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Stay classy, Jesse. nt (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sviscusi
                •  I'm sure no HR's if you had mentioned a female (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pozzo

                  part instead...none whatsoever...I'm sure.

                  •  Refering to men as "swinging dicks" is not (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    aliasalias

                    generally followed by violent assault.

                    You see, people actually hear "Hey, C**T" before being killed or raped in hate crimes.  That's why that's attrocious word.

                    The phrase "swinging dick", on the other hand, is just something we, the dirty blue collar people with rough hands you do all you can to distance yourself from, say as a colloquialism . It has an identical meaning to "every man jack".

                    But keep pretending that's what you're upset about.  It's entertaining.

                    "For example, I would support the wholesale annihiliation of an entire country...men, women, children, cats, dogs, whatever... if it is done to directly prevent the exact same from happening here." TooFolkGR

                    by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:54:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm not upset about it, but they hypocrisy (0+ / 0-)

                      is stunning.

                      "Oily tits" got HR'd hardcore yesterday.

                      •  I know that you're trying very hard to gin up (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Jarrayy, Medium Head Boy, aliasalias

                        some excuses for the excessive force brigade to start abusing HR's in this diary, but you're going to need to find a better angle.

                        The Obama Adminstration has decided that being Muslim and having a penis means one is a terrorist unless proven otherwise, or under the age of 16.

                        The phrase is exceedingly relevant in that context.  

                        I have no idea why "oily tits" was HR'd but I do know that people here have a looooong history of pretending it was the phrase rather than the context that drew the HR's.

                        "For example, I would support the wholesale annihiliation of an entire country...men, women, children, cats, dogs, whatever... if it is done to directly prevent the exact same from happening here." TooFolkGR

                        by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:00:05 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Eh, I doubt I'd ever have an HR for you (0+ / 0-)

                          unless it was something outrageously racist or bigoted, which I don't think swinging dicks was. Not always accurate that term, either, as I hear it gets pretty cold in some areas of Afghanistan.

    •  What? - Pashtun tribes 30 million - colonialism (5+ / 0-)

      there are 30 million of them

      their villages span both Afghanistan and Pakistan

      colonial rulers drew the boundaries for the countries

      more colonial divide and conquer

      several empires in Afghanistan have learned that culture cannot be changed with military force

      it looks like Americans will only learn about colonialism when it happens here

      "Colonized by Corporations" is the title of Chris Hedges article

      and Obama is leading the charge started years ago by the corporations and the military!!!

      Gamer and many others who study the nature of colonial rule offer the best insights into the functioning of our corporate state. We have been, like nations on the periphery of empire, colonized. We are controlled by tiny corporate entities that have no loyalty to the nation and indeed in the language of traditional patriotism are traitors. They strip us of our resources, keep us politically passive and enrich themselves at our expense. The mechanisms of control are familiar to those whom the Martinique-born French psychiatrist and writer Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth,” including African-Americans. The colonized are denied job security. Incomes are reduced to subsistence level. The poor are plunged into desperation. Mass movements, such as labor unions, are dismantled. The school system is degraded so only the elites have access to a superior education. Laws are written to legalize corporate plunder and abuse, as well as criminalize dissent. And the ensuing fear and instability—keenly felt this past weekend by the more than 200,000 Americans who lost their unemployment benefits—ensure political passivity by diverting all personal energy toward survival. It is an old, old game.
      http://www.truthdig.com/...
      •  If Al Qaeda and the Taliban were popular amongst (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, Deep Texan

        Pashtuns, then what you posted might make some sense.

        But they're not.

        And the current U.S. Administration sure the hell isn't responsible for events in the 1990s and even less for the Durand Line that separates Pakistan from Afghanistan.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:36:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Civilian deaths have dropped, and the Taliban are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence, sviscusi

      most responsible for the current number.

      Link

      Posted before "Oh USAToday is corporate media, look here at RT media as I prefer sources run by Russian strongmen."

      •  It's odd isn't it.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, sviscusi

        when civilian deaths were on the rise in Afghanistan we saw a slew of diaries demanding that we immediately withdraw.  Now that the Obama Admin.'s policies are pretty obviously starting to stabilize Afghanistan.... nary a peep.

        The same thing goes for U.S. and ISAF casualties there, which have steadily been dropping for some time now.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:59:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL @ "Stabilized Afghanistan". (0+ / 0-)

          Jeebus.

          If anyone missed Red State circa 2006...

          "For example, I would support the wholesale annihiliation of an entire country...men, women, children, cats, dogs, whatever... if it is done to directly prevent the exact same from happening here." TooFolkGR

          by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:01:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  First you misquote what I stated and then you (0+ / 0-)

            follow it up with a childish insult....

            You may not like it, but a 36% reduction in civilian casualties coupled with ISAF casualties steadily dropping for the second straight year in a row does, indeed, show that Afghanistan is:

            starting to stabilize
            I know it doesn't fit your set-in-stone narrative, but it is good news, nonetheless.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 03:48:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's because people who don't care about (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladyjames, aliasalias, Don midwest

      the lives of innocents keep deciding to kill them.

      You are aware of the fact that both Al Qaeda and the Taliban don't really care all that much when innocent civilians are killed by their bombs, executions, and suicide bombings, right?  They also don't mind school girls being poisoned, innocent construction workers being executed, and civilians being terrorized if they don't live according to extremist religious standards
      You just argued that since the Taliban doesn't highly value the lives of these civilians, we shouldn't care about them.

      The Taliban is not my role model.

      The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:07:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is an important question. However, I (8+ / 0-)

    disagree with your implied answer of zero. This is not how any wars or clandestine operations work.

    •  Wars are governed by U.S. law (15+ / 0-)

      and international law and treaties. Killing of American citizens without charge or trial would appear to violate several U.S. laws and the constitution. See, e.g., U.S. CONST. amend. IV (prohibiting seizure of a person without probable cause), amend. V (prohibiting deprivation of life or liberty without due process of law); 18 U.S.C. § 1119 (prohibiting murder of U.S. nationals overseas); Exec. Order No. 12,333, § 2.11 (prohibiting assassination).

      As would drone strikes in sovereign nations appear to violate international law.

      Apparently for al-Awlaki, Obama was relying on a secret Justice Department memo authorizing the killing. In a democracy, laws are public. We can read the Geneva Conventions or U.S. Code and learn what is allowed and what is not. Obama has repeatedly used secrecy to prevent Americans, and the courts, from determining whether his actions with drone strikes are legal.

      Regardless, Obama claims to have some standards, some line in the sand where he will not kill innocents, but Americans - the people he represents - have no way of knowing where that line is or ensuring that Obama stays on the right side of it.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:31:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pakistan seeking alternative to 'illegal' drone (6+ / 0-)

            strikes from U.S

        http://news.in.msn.com/...

        I read another article very similar to one like this on yahoo a day or two ago.

        I've read stories of Somali's who are terrorized by the thought of drones in the air and taking out neighbors and tribal leaders......

        I've read about children who cower in fear when they hear a drone humming in the still of the night.....

        •  drone humming in the still of the night????? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Medium Head Boy

          these things fly high, slow and quiet. That's the point of them. Someone is lying to you.

          Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

          by nickrud on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:35:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, drones are becoming more technologically (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladyjames, aliasalias

            advanced. They can fly higher and quieter, but even General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper hunter/killer uses a prop engine.

            The Reaper has a 950-shaft-horsepower (712 kW) turboprop engine, far more powerful than the Predator's 115 hp (86 kW) piston engine. The increase in power allows the Reaper to carry 15 times more ordnance and cruise at three times the speed of the MQ-1.[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/...
            In 2009, The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) published its drone noise study which clearly states that children recognize the noise profile of a drone:
            Military commanders readily admit that their enemies are getting smarter and more adaptive. Stories of insurgents surrendering to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) are long gone. These days, even children recognize the nasal drone of a small UAV, which means that what used to be an easy mission can quickly be compromised.  http://74.6.117.48/...
          •  Just a little bit of research would have (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladyjames, aliasalias

            prevented you from making such an uninformed comment. If you are going to support drones on this site, at least do your homework.

            From allenjo's comment below:

            It's terrifying for everyone on the ground because they can hear it, like a small plane. What is so unsettling is you have no idea when this missile is going to come and kill you.
            http://www.dailykos.com/...
          •  By the way, are you still making (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias

            the argument that children don't recognize the noise profile of a drone or a UAV?

            As I said, even the most technologically advanced drone or UAV, like the Reaper, still uses a prop engine.

            Any comment on this study?

            In 2009, The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) published its drone noise study which clearly states that children recognize the noise profile of a drone:

             

            Military commanders readily admit that their enemies are getting smarter and more adaptive. Stories of insurgents surrendering to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) are long gone. These days, even children recognize the nasal drone of a small UAV, which means that what used to be an easy mission can quickly be compromised.  http://74.6.117.48/....
            Are you really arguing that the terror of a small UAV , or drone, is different?

            You do realize that sometimes manned bombers follow smaller UAVs to drop bombs, don't you?

      •  You misapply the law, as usual. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Swig Mcjigger

        There are laws against killing citizens of other nations, too.  Tell me, do you think those laws make it illegal for the United States to fight a war?

        People who don't realize that the Congressional invocation of its war powers is legally significant need to go back to school.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:34:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  you supply a good reason to avoid war then. eom (0+ / 0-)

      "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

      by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:15:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder... (13+ / 0-)

    what the members of the Nobel Committee think of Mr. Obama's drone war...

    Personally, I am not comfortable with any single human being having the power of life and death over people anywhere, much less foreign citizens.  You touched on the point that the Presidential powers seized by Obama will inevitably pass to the next Chief Executive.  Should this election not go as Daily Kos would like, I expect to see many, many diaries next year blasting President Romney for his use of these powers.  It's rank hypocrisy, which I've pointed out before here in other contexts.

    Mr. Obama's national security policy is virtually indistinguishable from that of Mr. Bush, and in fact it is much more aggressive when it comes to drone strikes.  His domestic security policy has followed the same pattern of mirroring (and even defending the positions of) his predecessor, while adding even more draconian measures himself.

    According to the count of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, somewhere between 202 and 209 children have been killed in US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.  These numbers don't count other, more covert strikes in other nations such as Ethiopia, the Philippines, Sudan, etc.   And they also don't count the hundreds of drone strikes never reported or never confirmed as US strikes.  Is that number acceptable to Mr. Obama?  And how many children were counted as "militants" because they were teens?  The real number of children, and civilians overall, killed is likely much larger than reported.

  •  I don't know, really. (14+ / 0-)

    Another interesting question might be just how many innocent Americans need to be killed by terrorists before Glenn Greenwald gives his gracious permission for this country -- and especially this administration -- to do fuck-all about it.

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:18:14 AM PDT

    •  Glenn Greenwald is not the only one (17+ / 0-)

      questioning the wisdom of allowing Obama to unilaterally and in secret decide to kill American citizens without charge or trial. See Amy Davidson's must-read piece in The New Yorker:

      Brennan and other officials interviewed by the Times and Newsweek said that Obama had enormous faith in himself. It would be more responsible, though, if he had less—if he thought that he was no better than any other President we’ve had or ever will. The point isn’t just the task, or burden, he takes on, but the machine he has built for his successors to use. Perhaps, just to suggest a range, he could picture each of the Republican contenders from this past season being walked through the process, told how it works, shown some of those video clips with tiny people and big explosions, and taking it for a test drive. Never mind whether Obama, in particular, sighs or loses sleeps or tosses a coin when he chooses a target: What would it mean for a bad, or craven, or simply carelessly accommodating President to do so? In the end we are not really being asked to trust Obama, or his niceness, but the office of the Presidency. Do we?

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:37:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't like the Imperial Presidency either. (12+ / 0-)

        What I question is the ridiculous implied assumption that strikes on terrorist cadres are always illegitimate. I also don't see any ideas, either from Saint Glenn or from you, as to how exactly this country and our government should respond to terrorism.

        Other than just accepting it as a fact of life we're too morally compromised to do anything about, of course.

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:48:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Start with Constitutionally-acceptable actions (11+ / 0-)

          Article III courts have tried terrorists for years. Terrorism is not a new phenomenon, despite the propaganda. There are constitutional ways to combat terrorism.

          For example, NSA whistleblowers have repeatedly said that it was never necessary to invade Americans' privacy to monitor terrorists.

          http://www.youtube.com/...

          For example, several whistleblowers have also pointed to rapport-building interrogation techniques as more effective than torture.

          http://www.pbs.org/...

          http://www.thedailyshow.com/...

          We do not need to abandon the rule of law for security, even to be secure from terrorism.

          My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

          by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:00:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So the options are, you say (9+ / 0-)

            'rapport-building' and everything else?

            Newsflash: the 9/11 hijackers lived in this country for years. They still flew a couple of planes into two buildings about three miles from where I'm writing this.

            So I'd hazard a guess that the touchy-feely, let's-hug-this-out approach probably ain't going to work. You may not want to believe this, but yes, there are bad people in this world, and quite a few of them wouldn't think twice about killing you, me, or any other American, the more the better. These people don't give a flying fuck about our laws, or international law, or anything, other than mass murder and how best to commit it.

            And I'm not going to rend my garments that there are fewer of them today than yesterday.

            Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

            by MBNYC on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:20:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  She said (12+ / 0-)

              "rapport building" interrogation not rapport building generally.

              In order to defend this brutality, you erect a straw man.

              the ridiculous implied assumption that strikes on terrorist cadres are always illegitimate
              Few, if any critics, of the US Drone program, certainly not Greenwald or the ACLU or Human Rights Watch, say that all targeted strikes are illegitimate. They are questioning specific, known things about the program --

              that huge numbers of innocents are being killed and terrorized, that the US targets funeral parties and rescuers, that it uses "signature strikes" in which the identities of the targets are not known,  that it keeps everything about secret (except when it want to pump on Prez's tuffonterra cred), that it classifies all known dead men in "strike zones" as combatants, that drone warfare has spread from Af-Pak to Yemen and Somali, targeting groups that didn't even exist on 9-11...

              Now we could have a larger debate about the best way to fight terrorism (a saner approach imo would entail rolling back US imperialism and support for tyrants along with using truly targeted violence plus police-style enforcement) but this debate here is about specific policies.

              •  Sure, David. (6+ / 0-)

                Then why don't you lay out some counter-terror actions this government could take that would get the all-important David Mizner Stamp of Approval™. Other than, I don't know, doing, as I said, fuck-all about it. I'll wait, but verbal wankery like "rolling back U.S. imperialism" doesn't count.

                In other news, we don't know that whatever the White House is doing is causing 'huge' civilian casualties. That's arguably part of the problem and a question of definition. Conversely, we could ask just which level of carnage of or threat to our own people or friendly civilians you think we should tolerate before the U.S. takes action. Or is U.S. action never justified, because we're just not non-imperialist enough? And what exactly does 'imperialism' mean in this context? Or what responsibility does our government have in terms of keeping Americans safe, if any? What price do we pay for that safety?

                But another part of the problem is, quite frankly, people like you, who turn serious subjects like this into just another random Obama-bashing exercise. If you were trying to demonstrate bad faith, that would certainly be one approach.

                Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                by MBNYC on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:00:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, yeah, we get it (6+ / 0-)

                  You don't want to criticize American drone warfare [which, yes, is killing and terrorizing huge numbers of innocent people, including children, more than a hundred of whom have been killed] because Obama is doing it, yet you can't quite bring yourself to support it it either, because you're not a totally callous thug, so you have to pretend that I and other critics are America-hating pacifists.

                  Lame at it is, it's the about the only play you've got.

                  •  Not at all. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tytalus, Lawrence
                    You don't want to criticize American drone warfare blah blah blah
                    I just think you - and that mouse in your pocket, i.e. 'we' - are either hopelessly idealistic (the better option) and have no fucking clue what the world really looks like, or (the worse option) that you do understand, but that you'd really just much rather piously whinge about your own country and its elected government on the blogs than take a few minutes to understand that in the calculus of war, there are no good options.

                    I personally think it's the latter, not least because you spend your waking days and nights reliably shitting all over Barack Obama, but hey, that's just me.

                    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                    by MBNYC on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:26:29 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well then go ahead (5+ / 0-)

                      We'll table the question of civilian deaths because for you hundreds upon hundreds is not a "huge" number.

                      Let's address  2 issues:

                      the targeting of mourners and funeral parties
                      the categorization of all men in "strike zones" as militants.

                      Do you approve or disapprove?

                      •  Excuse me... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        emelyn

                        ...I'm asking the questions here. Not you.

                        Then why don't you lay out some counter-terror actions this government could take that would get the all-important David Mizner Stamp of Approval™. Other than, I don't know, doing, as I said, fuck-all about it. I'll wait, but verbal wankery like "rolling back U.S. imperialism" doesn't count.
                        And until I get some answers that convince me you're not becoming more and more the Naderite troll by the day, hour or minute, you can spare yourself the interrogation.

                        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

                        by MBNYC on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:55:50 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  The price you would pay for our safety (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  aliasalias

                  is the price of your soul. Our government officials swear an oath to defend and protect the Constitution. Not your physical safety. You would make  us all into fascists. You throw away that which makes America the country it aspires to be just to protect your sorry ass. If we throw away the Constitution and respect for international law then America and her ideals are not worth saving. We are no different then any run of the mill dictatorship.

            •  But you our actions entitle our enemies to strike (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aliasalias

              at us and justify their actions with the logic we use to justify our attacks on them. If we are entitled to torture the they are entitled to torture. If we are entitled to attack targets at will in a country other than our own with drones then so are they.

              International law and international opinion do not differentiate anymore between Al-Queada and ourselves. Or Israel and international terrorism. The world see us as unjust and bullying. And the world sees suicide bombing as legitimate when it is the only weapon you have at your disposal.

              Peace loving Ireland won its independence through a war of terrorism consisting of targeted assassinations led by Michael Collins. Many people would consider that terrorism against a much larger opponent. Israel started its war of independence by bombing the Hotel David without regard to civilian losses, again against a much larger opponent.
              And Al-Quada used suicide bombers to strike at a much bigger opponent. This is not to justify Al-Quada but to draw a comparison. This may not be the way you see the world but it is how much of the world sees the world.

              And when the world's largest superpower, without risking any loss of life for its citizens is able to kill at will and kill innocent civilians in a country that America is not even at war with with out warning then America must be prepared for attacks using the same criteria. America must expect blowback. And America must be prepared for the rest of the world to say "You had it coming".

          •  And when those fail or are non -starters (0+ / 0-)

            then what?

        •  The diary is cowardly in that way: (8+ / 0-)

          it raises the rhetorical question of how many, and refuses to provide any real guidance.   In response to you, she retreats to the process and complaining about checks and balances but never tells us what values and principles that persons making the decisions, or providing checks and balances, should use.

          Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

          by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:03:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  so what? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MBNYC, Deep Texan, joe from Lowell

        That fact that someone like Greenwald, who doesnt' give a crap about US terrorist deaths has company doesn't mean he's correct.

      •  Another bait and switch: complaining about process (8+ / 0-)

        doesn't answer your question.  Your asking, rhetorically, how many innocents to get a terrorist.  IOW, you've raised a question about what decision should be made, now how; you have to right now raise teh critieria that you think should guid the decisionm now who makes it.

        It's really depressing to see people raise the question, imply that the answer is an easy one, but not have the moral courage to say what it is, explicitly.  It's a cheap way to get rec listed.

        Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

        by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:01:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How many innocents does the US have to kill (7+ / 0-)

      before using 9-11 to justify things becomes an absolute joke?

      "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

      by Hayate Yagami on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:34:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  wow, that was a horrible comment. eom. (0+ / 0-)

      "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

      by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:16:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Alternatively. . . (6+ / 0-)

    Should we regard them as immune to our attacks every time there's a possibility of peripheral casualties?

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:19:30 AM PDT

  •  WWMRD? (0+ / 0-)

    what would mitt romney do?

    would things in this regard change significantly with a mitt romney presidency?  
    would the collateral casualty count go down?

    or would it go up?

    is this an obama issue, or is it a united states issue?

    i really want barack obama to get re-elected this fall.

    i don't want to ignore things he has done that i disapprove of (and these wars and their drones fall into that category.  i'm against these wars, though i do support those who choose to serve in our military.  and i do let president obama know my feelings by responding to his requests for input, by sending emails to and calling the whitehouse, by talking to my state reps, etc.)

    we need to address the real issue behind the behavior of our government.  

    i'm not sure that obama is creating the wheel here.  i'm thinking he's just rolling it along.  it's the wheel we need to re-design.

    and i really do want barack obama to be our next president.  not mitt romney.

    A hundred years from now...Watering lawns will seem as crazy as throwing diamonds on our lawns; we're throwing the world's most important resource - clean drinking water - on the ground. - Univ. of TX Professor Michael Webber

    by politik on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:30:35 AM PDT

    •  He created the Hit List. It's his. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      efraker, aliasalias

      He created Terror Tuesdays.

      He green lighted two teenage girls.

      I'd suggest that you set about changing his policies, if you don't want to support a President who does this.

      The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:17:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Droney, Droney, Droney song here: (0+ / 0-)

    Sung to the Schoolhouse rock song "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly get your adverbs here."
    Hmmmmm... hmmmmm... hmmmmm!!!
    Ready pop?
    Yep.
    Ready son?
    Uh-huh.
    Let's go!
    Let's go!
    One! two!
    Droney, Droney, Droney, get your drone strikes here.
    Droney, Droney, Droney, got some drone strikes here.
    Come on down to Droney's, get the drone strikes here!
    You're going to need
    If you want to smite or bleed,
    Or even think about it.
    Droney, Droney, Droney, get your drone strikes  here.
    Got a lot of Droney, jolly drone strikes here.
    Anything you need to make bleed and we can make it absolutely clear...
    A drone strike is a war crime
    (That's all it is! and there's a lot of them)
    That modifies life into death,
    It modifies  foreigners, or even Americans
    And so you see that it's positively, very, very, necessary.
    Droney, Droney, Droney, get your drone strikes here.
    Father, son, and Droney selling drone strikes here.
    Got a lot of drone strikes, and we make it clear,
    So come to Droney! (Droney, Droney, Droney)
    Hello, folks, this is Droney, Sr., saying we have every drone strike in the book, so come on down and look.
    Hello folks, Droney, Jr. here. Suppose your neighbor needs droning -- how are you going to do it? That's where droney comes in. We can also give you a special intensifier so you can drone him neatly or rather sloppily.
    Hi! Suppose you're going nut-gathering; your buddy wants to know where and when. Don’t tell him! He might be sending Droney!
    Get your drone strikes!
    Use it with an hellfire missile, it says much more,
    Anything destroyed can be destroyed some more.
    Anything you'd ever need is in the store,
    And so you choose very carefully every drone you use.
    Use it with a bomb, it tells us how you did,
    Where it happened, where you're going, where you've been.
    Use it with another drone strike-- that's the end.
    And even more...
    How, where, or when,
    Condition or reason,
    These questions are answered
    When you use drone strikes.
    Come and get it!
    Droney, Droney, Droney, get your drone strikes here.
    Quickly, quickly, quickly, get those drone strikes here.
    Slowly, surely, really learn your drone strikes here.
    You're going need 'em if you’re going to bleed 'em,
    If you write or talk or think about 'em ... Droney! (Droney, Droney, Droney)
    Announcer: If it's an drone strike, we have it at Droney’s! Bring along your old bombers, too - like B-52’s. We'll fit 'em out with our Droney attachment and make perfectly good drones out of them!
    (Get your drone strikes here!) Lots of good tricks at Droney’s so come on down.
    (Droney, Droney, Droney!)
    Drone strikes deal with terrorists, real and imagined
    (Droney, Droney, Droney!)
    Condition, reason, we don’t need ‘em
    (Father, son, and Droney)
    Comparison, contrast, just don’t think
    (Droney, Droney, Droney)
    Enrich your body count with drone strikes!
    (Droney, Droney, Droney)
    Besides, they're absolutely free (in the sense we have no control over them)!
    (Droney, Droney, Droney)
    At your service!
    Indubitably!

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. G.B. Shaw

    by baghavadgita on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:33:13 AM PDT

  •  Just wondering (9+ / 0-)

    For all those who aren't bothered by this....  Are you thinking these Middle Eastern human beings aren't as important as we are?  Are you thinking those children were not important to their parents?  Are you thinking that can't ever happen here, so you don't have to face the reality of it?  Just wondering if there isn't a video game aspect to this that makes people feel a bit comfortable with civilian deaths in other countries.  You can't believe that all people in the Middle East are fanatical, and deserve to die due to proximity, can you?    If we were at war with Great Britain, would that make a difference to you?  

    •  you're raising a false question (7+ / 0-)

      because the US did the exact thing while at war with Great Britain in the 1770's. And while at war with Italy and Germany in the 1940's.

      Not counting all the Belgians, Dutch, French and others killed by the US then.

      I hear talk about the Geneva Conventions somehow frowning upon the deaths of civilians in war, and specifically drone strikes. The Geneva Convention puts its blessing upon carpet bombing. Every time I see someone claiming the Geneva Convention says we can't fire drones I figure they're either disingenuous or uninformed, and generally not worth listening to.

      Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

      by nickrud on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:51:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How is it false? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladyjames

        Any question is valid when searching for honest answers.  I realize that previous war was hell and innocent people were lost.  However, this is not exactly a war situation any longer.  These are kill missions, that save our soldiers, at the expense of innocents who get in the way of our drone attacks.  So I'm asking about the importance of the people in other countries.  And if you think it can't happen here.  That's all.  

        •  firing howitzers at villages (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence

          where German troops are dug in was done to kill Germans without putting our troops at risk. French children died.

          What's the difference?

          Try to shout at the right buildings for a few months.

          by nickrud on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:11:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  so it would be ok (0+ / 0-)

            to fire howitzers at drug houses in LA, or at least across the Mexican border?

            all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

            by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:16:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  That those soldiers were actually shooting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias

            at our soldiers.

            We're not talking about civilians being killed in firefights.

            We're talking about the cold blooded decision to bomb civilians because we suspect that people who we suspect may support people who may someday harm us might be in the area.

            This is the difference between grabbing the gun of a guy trying to shoot you, causing the gun to discharge and accidently hit his son....

            and deciding to fire bomb your neighbors house with his family inside because you heard from the guy down the street that your neighbor said he wanted to shoot you.

            The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

            by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:22:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  But we were at war with all those countries (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpecialKinFlag

        you mentioned. We are not at war with Yemen, or Pakistan, or Afghanistan et al. And the Geneva Conventions that we refer to are the conventions of 1948. As well as the conventions on torture from 1984. The Geneva Convention does not bless carpet bombing, its only that we as a nation respect the conventions when it is in our benefit, When it is not convenient we ignore them.

        Which makes our moral high horse kindda wobbely

    •  Well, first off Afghanistan and Pakistan (7+ / 0-)

      are not in the Middle East.  They're in Central Asia.

      Furthermore, have you ever considered that some may support drone strikes in the Af/Pak region because they are often the most effective method for combating the extremist fanatic leaders that are responsible for huge losses in human lives?

      Due to their precision they also cause lower losses of civilian lives than other methods, such as conventional air strikes and soldiers on the ground.

      For example, far more civilians lost their lives in one year when Pakistan actually mounted an offensive into the F.A.T.A. than have lost their lives in a decade of drone strikes in that region.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:04:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so you are for (5+ / 0-)

        drone strikes in most american cities then too I guess, since gangs pose a much more real threat to violence and danger to the average american citizen then terrorism ever did.

        So drone strikes in LA and if you take out a few innocent kids, as long as you get a gang member or two, its all good, right?  right?

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:10:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, ladyjames, JesseCW

        for the geographical error.

        In my opinion, any innocent life lost is important.   Isn't that why we are over there in the first place?  

        •  I agree that every innocent life lost is important (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pozzo, tytalus

          That's why I think that it is important to state that drone strikes in the Af/Pak region probably are preventing more deaths of innocents than they are causing.

          I'll give you an example:

          A drone strike targets a high level Haqqani Network commander who was planning a suicide bombing in Kabul, which would have led to the deaths of dozens of innocent Afghans.

          The drone strike kills that commander, his deputy, and 5 of his fighters.  It also kills that commander's two wives and a son, who are in the room next door to the room that was targeted.

          Due to the Haqqani commander being killed, the suicide bombing in Kabul never takes place.

          So the question is was this worth it?  Are the lives of the Haqqani Commander's two wives and his son worth more than the lives of the dozens of innocent Afghans who would have been killed in the Kabul suicide bombing?

          How does one decide when faced with this kind of situation?  Is it right to cease all drone attacks, even if they are preventing the murder of ordinary Afghans?

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:10:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  oh brother (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BigAlinWashSt, burlydee, JesseCW, quince

            the old I have to burn the village down to save it mentality.  my god.

            Bad is never good until worse happens

            by dark daze on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:15:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Who was the most instrumental in originally (4+ / 0-)

            creating the Haqqani? The Taliban? Hekmatyar and the Hezb-e Islami? How did these previous allies become enemies? Do you not think that it was because of American foreign policy in these areas?

            What about the destabilization of Pakistan due to US military aggression and interventions in their sovereign country?

            First it was al Qaeda, then the Taliban, then the groups loosely connected with the Taliban, then the insurgents, then the Mujahedin not connected with the Taliban, then the Pakistanis. Where does it end?

            Exactly who is the US now fighting in the AfPak region and why? Most of the threat these people pose are only to the occupying forces. They were never a threat to America. They want them out because they have been terrorizing their civilians for a decade now.

            Keep this shit up and these people will eventually become a threat to US civilians. The US has over a century of "blow-back" and "unintended consequences" following it's ill advised interventions around the world. The AfPak region is no different. There is a price to paid for this misadventure - in both treasure and lives. Is it worth it?

            •  Ah, whatever. This couldn't be more false: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tytalus
              Most of the threat these people pose are only to the occupying forces. They were never a threat to America. They want them out because they have been terrorizing their civilians for a decade now.
              Al Qaeda proved quite clearly in various places of the world just how much of a threat it is.  You also ignore that most of the Al Qaeda people in the Af/Pak region aren't locals, ie. they are occupying foreigners.  Seeing that the majority of people killed in Afghanistan are civilians who are killed by Taliban and related groups, you saying that the greatest threat is to "occupying forces" is truly farcical.

              "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

              by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:49:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  How many al Qaeda are left in Afghanistan (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                aliasalias

                and Pakistan? Exactly who has the US been fighting and killing (and getting killed by) in Afghanistan? What is the ratio of al Qaeda to Taliban, to insurgents, to warlords, to ordinary Pashtuns who have taken up arms to avenge the death of a family member? What are the main reasons the Taliban (or insurgents or warlords) kill civilians?

                Separating the Taliban from al-Qaeda:The Core of Success in Afghanistan - pdf

                CENTER ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
                February 2011

                3. An Avoidable Insurgency The insurgency that emerged from 2003 onwards was not an inevitable response to the international intervention in Afghanistan. It resulted in part from policies that created an environment in which both segments of the Afghan population as well as the senior Taliban leadership perceived that they lacked real alternatives. Elements of the Pakistani state also thought they could use an insurgency in Afghanistan as pressure against the Afghan government and the U.S. Al-Qaeda has had little or no influence on the origin and course of the insurgency, though it has assisted with training and fundraising.

                The Relationship Between al-Qaeda and the Taliban - a Conversation with Felix Kuehn from CIP_online on Vimeo.


          •  What you are saying is... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac

            On the outside, looking in, it seems the easiest way to get things done, expedient, and effective to control the enemy and their plans...collateral damage is part of the equation.  But in my mind, we are the bigger enemy.  We've killed more, damaged more, and created more mistrust around the world than all the terrorist combined.  Terrorists will hit here and there, create chaos and fear.  We, annihilate, damage beyond recognition, and we do it not only to strike back at the 9/11 terrorists, but to control resources and hold power.  And also, making the few rich beyond their wildest imaginations.  It's going to come back on us someday, and then these drones will be a powerful tool turned against us, I fear.  We don't hold all the brain power in the world.  Nukes are horrifying, but drones are the nightmare IMHO.  

            •  I couldn't disagree more in regards to your last (0+ / 0-)

              sentence.  Nuclear war and nuclear attacks are pretty much the worst thing that could befall us all.

              In regards to Afghanistan, it was the Soviets, the Taliban(supported by Pakistan), and the civil war of the 1990s that did the most damage.

              Afghans were yelling and hollering for us to help them in the 1990s, yet the international community did nothing to help.  That basically led to them suffering terrible atrocities under the fascist Taliban Regime and also opened the gates for 9/11.

              75% of Afghans support the presence of international forces in their country at this time.  Even more support their own army, which we have been making tremendous efforts to train and build up during the last 3 years.  There's a reason for those high levels of support...

              Those are facts.

              It's also a fact that the Taliban/Al Qaeda extremists were initiating large scale ethnic cleansing and moving to genocide  of the Hazara people in the years prior to 9/11.  The Bush Admin let the leaders who were responsible for that escape and our current policy of drone strikes in the FATA in Pakistan is an attempt by the current Admin. to rectify the mistakes made by the Bush Admin.

              And as much as this diarist and others protest, it doesn't change the fact that it's working.

              "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

              by Lawrence on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:44:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You've left out the US's complicity in the (0+ / 0-)

                devastation of Afghanistan.

                   Afghanistan, the CIA, bin Laden, and the Taliban

                    With the support of Pakistan's military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, the U.S. began recruiting and training both mujahideen fighters from the 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and large numbers of mercenaries from other Islamic countries. Estimates of how much money the U.S. government channeled to the Afghan rebels over the next decade vary, but most sources put the figure between $3 billion and $6 billion, or more. Whatever the exact amount, this was "the largest covert action program since World War II" - much bigger, for example, than Washington's intervention in Central America at the same time, which received considerably more publicity. According to one report:
                    The CIA became the grand coordinator: purchasing or arranging the manufacture of Soviet-style weapons from Egypt, China, Poland, Israel and elsewhere, or supplying their own; arranging for military training by Americans, Egyptians, Chinese and Iranians; hitting up Middle-Eastern countries for donations, notably Saudi Arabia which gave many hundreds of millions of dollars in aid each year, totaling probably more than a billion; pressuring and bribing Pakistan-with whom recent American relations had been very poor-to rent out its country as a military staging area and sanctuary; putting the Pakistani Director of Military Operations, Brigadier Mian Mohammad Afzal, onto the CIA payroll to ensure Pakistani cooperation.
                    ...
                    Romancing the Taliban
                    ...
                    In 1994, a new group, the Taliban (Pashtun for "students"), emerged on the scene. Its members came from madrassas set up by the Pakistani government along the border and funded by the U.S., Britain, and the Saudis, where they had received theological indoctrination and military training. Thousands of young men-refugees and orphans from the war in Afghanistan-became the foot soldiers of this movement:
                    ...
                    The Taliban's brand of extreme Islam had no historical roots in Afghanistan. The roots of the Taliban's success lay in 20 years of "jihad" against the Russians and further devastation wrought by years of internal fighting between the warlord factions.
                    ...
                    The U.S. government was well aware of the Taliban's reactionary program, yet it chose to back their rise to power in the mid-1990s. The creation of the Taliban was "actively encouraged by the ISI and the CIA," according to Selig Harrison, an expert on U.S. relations with Asia. "The United States encouraged Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to support the Taliban, certainly right up to their advance on Kabul," adds respected journalist Ahmed Rashid. When the Taliban took power, State Department spokesperson Glyn Davies said that he saw "nothing objectionable" in the Taliban's plans to impose strict Islamic law, and Senator Hank Brown, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Near East and South Asia, welcomed the new regime: "The good part of what has happened is that one of the factions at last seems capable of developing a new government in Afghanistan." "The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis. There will be Aramco [the consortium of oil companies that controlled Saudi oil], pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that," said another U.S. diplomat in 1997.

                New Reactionary Regime Takes Power In Afghanistan
                October 21, 1996
                 ...
                Support by Washington

                According to the New York Times, the State Department has indicated that it would like to reestablish a presence in Kabul, "once security there improved." No U.S. embassy or diplomatic ties have been established there since 1979. Washington will send a diplomat to Kabul "in the next couple of days," State Department spokesperson Nicholas Burns said October 2.

                A Washington Post editorial the same day said, "The diplomatic task the U.S. has in Afghanistan is to apply what residual influence it may have there to the discouragement of further competitive intervention by Pakistan and Iran, which have backed the Taliban and the [former] Kabul regime respectively."

                Earlier that day, Mohammed Stanakzai, deputy foreign minister in the provisional government established by the Taliban, said that the rightist regime wanted "friendly and good relations" with Washington, and would welcome U.S. investments in Afghanistan.

                Unocal, the U.S. oil company that had plans to build a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan, said October 2 that the recent Taliban takeover would give a boost to the project. "If this leads to peace, stability, and international recognition, then this is a positive development," said Unocal vice president Chris Taggart.

                An editorial in the October 8 New York Times said the Taliban regime "has brought a measure of stability to the country for the first time in years."

                Not all capitalist regimes in the region are happy with the new government, however. Newspapers in Pakistan quoted Iranian officials describing the Taliban as "violent, narrow-minded and reactionaries."

                Oil barons court Taliban in Texas (fact is far stranger than fiction)

                "They were interested to know what it was for and what the star was," said Mr Miller, who hopes that Unocal has clinched the deal. "The first day, they were stiff and cautious. But before long they were totally relaxed and happy," he said. Unocal, which heads an international consortium of companies from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Japan, has been bidding for the contract since vast oil and gas reserves were discovered in Turkmenistan, one of the southernmost states of the former Soviet Union, in 1994. The fuel has so far been untapped because of Moscow's demands for high transport fees if it passes through Russian-controlled territory. The quickest and cheapest way to get the reserves out is to build a pipeline through Afghanistan.

                It will supply two of the fastest-growing energy markets in the world: Pakistan and India. The Unocal group has one significant attraction for the Taliban - it has American government backing. At the end of their stay last week, the Afghan visitors were invited to Washington to meet government officials. The US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban's policies against women and children "despicable", appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract. The Taliban is likely to have been impressed by the American government's interest as it is anxious to win international recognition. So far, it has been recognised only by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

              •  Drones (0+ / 0-)

                will have capability to do almost anything without detection.  

        •  No it is not why we are there (0+ / 0-)

          We have never fought a conflict to save non American lives

  •  Do you have a requirment of "high level" now? (10+ / 0-)
    Certainly these were not all high-level al-Qaeda operatives.
    It's interesting that you seque effortlessly from innocent civilians to low level AQ.  In your mind, is it equivalent?  Is the only possible defense one that kills just high level AQ without any other possible casualities?

    Maybe you should stop asking rhetorical questions and start being a little more up front about what you're suggesting for answers.  

    Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

    by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:40:02 AM PDT

  •  Apparently, all of them. The government isn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, happymisanthropy

    going to stop, and we aren't going to stop the government.

    I quit school very young, and never learned how to believe things just because I was told to.

    by socalmonk on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:44:27 AM PDT

  •  and even from a logical sense (8+ / 0-)

    take away morals and ethics, even from a logical sense, how many terrorist are we creating.  Im pretty sure if some country or leader sent a drone over here and killed innocent americans, those families and those communities arent going to become big fans of these murderers.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:46:01 AM PDT

  •  How many innocent deaths are acceptable? (7+ / 0-)

    Well lots of course especially if the are brown skinned people over there.  But god forbid a little blond kid goes missing then page Nancy Grace and the outrage machine.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:58:28 AM PDT

  •  Drone Data (9+ / 0-)

    The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has an extensive and well-sourced database of covert US strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.  

    Below is the data to-date for Pakistan alone.   Obama has authorized 278 strikes - more than 80% of the total operations.  

    CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004 – 2012
    Total US strikes: 330
    Obama strikes: 278
    Total reported killed: 2,479-3,180
    Civilians reported killed: 482-832
    Children reported killed: 175
    Total reported injured: 1,192-1,308

    Sources and Methodology

    Based on these numbers, each strike kills an average of 7-10 people, including 1-2 civilians, and injures 3-4 more.  What we don't know is how many of the rest of the 7-10 are boys/men being counted as militants just for being in the vicinity of the target.  The civilian total may be higher than it looks.
  •  I Do Not Have a Theoretical Upper Limit (4+ / 0-)

    But it cannot be based simply on the fact that the person is an alleged "terrorist."

    I am guessing that when the "murder club" or whatever you people are calling it these days meets to discuss potential targets, they are more interested in what those people either (a) are currently involved in or (b) are known to be planning/executing rather than whether or not they have ever committed a terrorist act before.  

    For example, I would support the wholesale annihiliation of an entire country...men, women, children, cats, dogs, whatever... if it is done to directly prevent the exact same from happening here.

    Obviously that is an extreme that we're not seeing, but you scale down appropriately.

    I am guessing (and I can only guess) that similar startegy is employed.

    Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

    by TooFolkGR on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:11:19 AM PDT

  •  Fret not, Jessalyn . . . (16+ / 0-)

    because our government has essentially re-defined innocence so that anyone killed by a predator drone blast must have been associating with the targeted terrorist, and is therefore guilty

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:14:57 AM PDT

  •  Nothing bad would happen because of this (0+ / 0-)

    Alcohol causes lots of deaths.  And even more bad marriages.  And it's proven to diminish your eyesight when the bar is closing.

    So we should ban alcohol.  Nothing bad would happen if we did that, right?

  •  You repeat a "falsehood" about Awlaki. (11+ / 0-)

    You should really familiarize yourself with the Abdulmuttallab trial.

    It is flat-out false to claim Awlaki was merely a propagandist.  He helped organize and carry out the attempted suicide bombing of an airliner.

    You are entitled to your own opinion, ma'am, but you mangle the facts on a consistent basis.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:29:06 AM PDT

    •  That's her MO (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell, Geekesque

      Woudn't expect this diary to be any different.

    •  Sorry, which Awlaki are we talking about? (7+ / 0-)

      The father or the son? Both were killed by drone strikes, on separate occasions even. Were both accused in the court of public opinion based on hearsay evidence in a third party's trial? Since you, joe, are being very factual this morning, I figure you might share a few more of those facts with us.

      •  You know exactly which one. Stop dodging. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Swig Mcjigger

        If you wish to familiarize yourself with the facts of the Abdulmuttlab trial and base your understanding on evidence - a very questionable assumption on my part, I know - then you are perfectly capable of googling the matter yourself.

        Should you ever bestir yourself to do so, you will discover that the guy who tried to set off the bomb on the airliner as it approached the airport in Detroit confessed to the FBI that Awlaki was actively involved in organizing and carrying out the attack.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:33:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please provide a link to your source (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SpecialKinFlag

          If you make a claim you should not expect me to verify it. You need to provide the verification yourself. A quote from a source would be good, a quote from a source with a name would be better.

          AND NO WIKIPEDIA !

    •  Good thing we had a trial (5+ / 0-)

      So a court of law could examine the evidence and conclude that Awlaki was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I mean, if the evidence is so clear-cut that should've been easy, right?

      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

      by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:26:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We didn't have a trial for bin Laden, or (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, sviscusi

        Mohammed Atef, etc.  

        Enemies get shot.

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

        by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:31:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Theoretically, we tried to capture bin Laden (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hayate Yagami, ladyjames

          And he was shot because he resisted arrest. Probably that wasn't actually the case--probably we could've arrested him and chose to kill him instead--and I think that was wrong.

          I don't know very much about Atef's case, but it seems we bombed his house instead of capturing him, which I also think was wrong.

          The point is, how do you know someone is an "enemy" if they're not shooting at you on a battlefield? Without a trial, all you have is US government accusations.

          (Insert the usual "How would you feel if it was a Republican President making these decisions unilaterally?" question here.)

          "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

          by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:41:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He wasn't resisting arrest. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo

            They were not trying to arrest him.  They were there to take him out of commission.  If he had surrendered, they would have had to taken it if it was safe to do so.

            But they were not there with the specific goal of taking him into custody.

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

            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:56:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If that is the case (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tardis10, ladyjames

              I believe that was wrong (both morally and legally). I believe we should've tried to arrest him if at all possible.

              But that's really a sidenote. More importantly: How do you know someone who isn't actively engaged in hostile actions is an "enemy" if you don't try them in a court of law?

              "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

              by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:01:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Courts of law are not set up to determine (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo, JNEREBEL, jdsnebraska

                who is an enemy.  That's out of their jurisdiction.

                Courts of law try people for violating domestic law.

                Whether someone in the field is an enemy is not a matter for the criminal justice system.  Never has been.  

                 

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

                by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:08:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You still have not answered my question (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  tardis10, ladyjames

                  Absent cases where someone is actively engaged in hostile action against you (what we used to call "war," though that word has apparently broadened in meaning recently), how do you know someone is an "enemy" if you don't give them a trial?

                  (Incidentally, as I'm sure you know, terrorism is a violation of domestic law. Seriously, there are statutes and everything. In fact, we have actually tried and convicted people in domestic courts for terrorism!)

                  "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                  by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:12:56 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Intelligence, monitoring communications, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo

                    spying, that kind of thing.

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

                    by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:29:06 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Those things are how the government (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ladyjames

                      Can know someone is an enemy. But without a trial, we have no idea if those are accurate, or even if they are accurate what exactly they're saying. (E.g., they accurately give information on a political opponent.)

                      I've lurked for a while so I know you to generally be a reasonable type, Geekesque. Are you really comfortable with the Executive having the ability to kill someone on the basis of secret evidence without any oversight? Even if you're comfortable with Barack Obama (or should I say John Brennan) having that power, are you comfortable with the next Republican President having it?

                      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                      by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:34:32 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I think Congress NEEDS to step up to the (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        tytalus, TealTerror

                        plate and provide more oversight and structure.  The problem isn't so much an executive power grab as a vacuum left by Congressional abdication.

                        Courts could play a role in this, but only if Congress creates it for them.

                        Part of the problem, of course, is that if we get legislation out of this Congress, it will only make things worse.

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

                        by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:58:27 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No argument here (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Geekesque

                          But if the problem is Congress isn't doing its Constitutional duty, which I agree with, how are we supposed to pressure Congress to change if we don't forcefully critique the Executive Branch policy? "I don't have a problem with what the President is doing but I think you should stop it anyway" isn't a winning argument.

                          "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                          by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:09:12 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  If there is one thing you can guarantee (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TealTerror, jdsnebraska, tytalus

                            about whoever is President, it is that they intend to be able to honestly say:  "I did everything within my legal authority to fight terrorists."

                            Guaranteed.  No President is ever going to have a 9/11 happen on their watch and then have it revealed that it was because they were as respectful of accused terrorists' civil liberties as Greenwald&Co want them to be.

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

                            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:19:33 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Unfortunately, you're right (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            aliasalias

                            But I ask again: If our goal is to change the legal reality, how do you expect us to do that without forcefully critiquing the President when he does the things we think should be illegal?

                            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                            by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:23:24 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  In general, complaints without (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tytalus

                            providing a workable alternative get ignored.

                            And, it's Congress that needs to act, so I'm not certain that criticizing the President accomplishes all that much.

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

                            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:35:32 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There is a workable alternative: (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Geekesque, ladyjames, SpecialKinFlag

                            Judicial oversight.

                            I still don't understand how we're supposed to get Congress to make an action of the President illegal, without criticizing the President for committing that action.

                            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                            by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:37:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  By noting that there are no standards (0+ / 0-)

                            governing the President, and that this is an area where Congress needs to create rules.

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

                            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:39:55 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There is a thing called the "Constitution" (0+ / 0-)

                            But now that the argument has devolved into one of rhetoric, I don't see much point in continuing it.

                            Good debate. I hope you at least recognize the concerns of civil libertarians in this area as being valid, even if you don't agree with them.

                            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                            by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:41:46 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I recognize the concerns, but I am less (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TealTerror

                            convinced that the Constitution provides an answer to every question.

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

                            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:43:44 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not every question (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Geekesque, ladyjames

                            Just this one.

                            Thanks for the respectful discussion. :)

                            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                            by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:53:25 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

            •  Spell it out-they were there to kill him (0+ / 0-)

              In cold blood. So there would be no trial. And think of all the paperwork they saved.

        •  Constitution (5+ / 0-)

          Does not allow assassination of American citizens without due process, including a trial.

          My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

          by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:55:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It does allow for the killing of enemies (3+ / 0-)

            Being an American citizen does not grant one the right to engage in hostilities without the US shooting back.

            People who join with the enemy put their own lives at risk.

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

            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:57:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's highly relevant, were we discussing (0+ / 0-)

              cases in which someone was actively engaged in hostilities against us.

              The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

              by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:30:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Due process (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geekesque

            doesn't necessarly require a trial.

            •  Let's look at the text, shall we? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, ladyjames, aliasalias

              http://www.archives.gov/...

              Amendment V

              No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law (emphasis added)

              It seems the Constitution requires due process "of law," not just (in the words of Stephen Colbert) a process that you do.

              Well, I'm sure it's an easy mistake to make.

              "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

              by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:18:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've looked at it (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Geekesque, Dr Swig Mcjigger

                "law" doesn't necessarily mean "trial", noted Constitutional Scholor Colbert notwithstanding.

                •  Is that so? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW

                  Then what, praytell, does it mean, "necessarily"?

                  "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                  by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:24:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, it is so (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Geekesque
                    •  Please answer the question (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

                      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                      by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:29:34 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Mathews V. Eldridge (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Geekesque

                        Mathews v. Eldridge, 425 U.S. 319, 96 S.Ct. 893, 47 L.Ed.2d 18 (1976) sets forth the basic test in analyzing how much process is due. A trial is not always necessary to satisfy due process requirements.

                        •  Completely inapposite (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          TealTerror, JesseCW, aliasalias

                          Matthews v. Eldridge was about property rights to social security benefits, and whether an administrative hearing was required before terminating those benefits.

                          It was absolutely not about a punishment - death - for which much much more process is due. There is no valid case law allowing a targeted execution without trial.

                          My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

                          by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:16:13 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Interesting (5+ / 0-)

                          Thanks for the citation. I was not aware of this. Apparently, there are three factors that determine how much process is due, so to speak:

                          1. The interests of the individual in retaining their property, and the injury threatened by the official action

                          2. The risk of error through the procedures used and probable value, if any, of additional or substitute procedural safeguards;

                          3. The costs and administrative burden of the additional process, and the interests of the government in efficient adjudication

                          In other words, if the individual would not be greatly injured and it would be overly burdensome on the government to have judicial review, you don't necessarily need a court to look at everything you do.

                          However, while there's obviously some subjectivity here, I think people have an overwhelming interest in retaining their life and are hugely injured by being killed, so absent a "ticking time bomb" scenario it seems reasonable to expect a neutral court to oversee things when the US government assassinates people.

                          You know what would be really nice? If the Obama Administration released its legal reasoning so we could have an actual debate instead of shadow-boxing like this. I wonder why they don't...?

                          "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                          by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:21:15 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Are you sure this applies (0+ / 0-)

                          Matthews v Elderidge is a case about a guy losing his disability benefits. Elderdrige argued that his benefits could not be cut off until after his first evidential hearing. He lost.

                          No. In an 6-to-2 decision, the Court held that the initial termination of Eldridge's benefits without a hearing did not violate due process. The Court noted that due process was "flexible" and called for "such procedural protections as the particular situation demands." The Court found that there were numerous safeguards to prevents errors in making decisions to terminate disability benefits and argued that "[a]t some point the benefit or an additional safeguard to the individual affected by the administrative action and to society, in terms of increased assurance that the action is just, may be outweighed by the cost."

                          www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_204
                          Chicago Kent College of Law.

                          Note that "[a]t some point the benefit or an additional safeguard to the individual affected by the administrative action and to society, in terms of increased assurance that the action is just, may be outweighed by the cost.

                          No show me where the safeguards are in the handling of those killed by drone strikes, or those unfairly jailed without Haebas Corpus.

                          There is supposed to be some form of due process. Matthews just held that this guys benefit could be cut before his hearing, not that he did not get a hearing.

              •  So you're saying Pakistan and Yemen are in our (0+ / 0-)

                legal jurisdiction?

                •  ...No? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW, ladyjames

                  Where did this question come from? I just pointed out that the Constitution requires due process of law before someone is killed.

                  But this is a good opportunity. If Pakistan and Yemen are not in our legal jurisdiction, what gives us the right to do as we please there without the permission of their local governments?

                  "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                  by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:25:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So the US Constitution grants rights to the world? (0+ / 0-)

                    wow, why on earth do we even have borders, social security numbers or any sort of political organization at all then?

                    Answer: self-defense, and we seek and gain permission from the Yemeni government to conduct strikes, as well as joint-actions against terror cells. Unlike Pakistan, Yemen works with us.

                    •  We were talking about Awlaki (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JesseCW, ladyjames, aliasalias

                      Who was a US citizen. Keep up.

                      Oh, I see. So the key issue is whether or not the local government cooperates with the US. (Never mind that the vast majority of actual Yemenis disapprove of this cooperation.) New question, then: if China claimed there were anti-Chinese "terrorists" in America and the United States refused to hand them over, would you support their right to bomb us to take them out?

                      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                      by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:42:30 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  IF there were Chinese terrorists in our deserts (0+ / 0-)

                        and we were doing nothing about it, and they were actively planning to carry out attacks, then no, I wouldn't be mad if China somehow figured out how to get to them.

                        •  Except the only evidence you have (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          JesseCW, ladyjames, pot, aliasalias

                          That they're terrorists is that the Chinese government says they are. Still fine with it?

                          "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                          by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:11:19 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Oh I'd wager if we were open to the sharing (0+ / 0-)

                            they'd be happy to share what they had. Methinks it would be cheaper for them if we nabbed or killed them.

                          •  Undoubtedly (0+ / 0-)

                            You have not addressed my main point. Pakistan has not given us permission to kill people within their borders. We do it anyway. We claim "self-defense," but we refuse to let anyone else see our justifications--and it's not like these people are pointing guns at us; we just believe they'll probably try to attack us at some point in the future.

                            The only reason I can see that someone would defend this is they trust the US government to have the best of intentions when it comes to foreign policy. I do not believe an unbiased review of the historical record would support this assumption.

                            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                            by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:57:01 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But you're ignoring that we have tried to work (0+ / 0-)

                            with them, repeatedly, and Wikileaks amongst other sources showed the Pakistanis at times actively harboring terrorists and misleading us, rather than assisting.

                            I know you don't trust the US government. That's the major disconnect here and sometimes these flame wars we get into would be stalled out if we just took a poll on that first, knowing that we would never agree or be able to compromise with someone who held an alternate reality to our own.

                          •  "They're not cooperating with us" (0+ / 0-)

                            Is not generally considered by international law to be adequate justification for violating another nation's sovereignty. If you believe the only way to protect ourselves is to kill Pakistanis without their government's permission, perhaps we should go to war with them.

                            I trust the US Government to protect (what it considers to be) its interests without much caring how much that harms others. I think history bears this out. (See for example, and just in this century: the Philippines, firebombing civilians in WWII, assassinating the democratically-elected Iranian President in the 50s, supporting dictatorships in Latin America throughout the Cold War, imposing crippling sanctions on Iraq in the 90s that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children...)

                            If you do trust those in power to generally do the right thing, it's not me you have issues with, it's the Founding Fathers.

                            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                            by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:17:56 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  And you wouldn't be mad if China (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          TealTerror, ladyjames, pot, aliasalias

                          killed a few hundred children in the process?

                          The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

                          by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:34:18 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  If it was because of an errant shot, absolutely. (0+ / 0-)

                            If it was because they were living around these guys (family of the mobsters, etc) and again, we didn't have any control over the area or refused to do anything, how could I possibly justify hard feelings?

                          •  And if it was because they decided (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TealTerror, aliasalias

                            they had the right to kill their enemies at home in bed, knowing their familes were home?

                            It's nice to know that it's all civilian lives you devalue, not just those of people who are not Americans.

                            "For example, I would support the wholesale annihiliation of an entire country...men, women, children, cats, dogs, whatever... if it is done to directly prevent the exact same from happening here." TooFolkGR

                            by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:57:06 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Even if innocent Americans died in the attack? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          aliasalias

                          And what if they were attacking American targets they accused of terrorism. For flouting international law and the will of the international community (our justification for attacking Iraq). For habouring terrorists Like the Cuban hijacker who lives today in Texas. Or the MEK a group on our State Dept terrorist list who fundraise in America with political celebrities like Ed Rendell. Or IRA terrorist supporters like US Congressman Peter King.

                          What have we done to bring these folks to justice?

                      •  Why did you mention Pakistan if we were talking (0+ / 0-)

                        about just Awlaki then? Try to keep up with your own spin.

                    •  The Government of Yemen is entirely (0+ / 0-)

                      illigitimate, and only continues to exist because we helped them crushed the Arab Spring.

                      The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

                      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:33:43 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  "Enemies don't get trials" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladyjames

          Yes.  I so profoundly misquoted you.

          We gave the damned Nazi's trials when we could.  

          The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

          by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:29:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  AFTER they were in custody. (0+ / 0-)

            We did not give them trials before they surrendered.

            Had bin Laden surrendered, he would have been entitled to a trial just like Hermann Goering was.  

            By the same token, if before surrender Goering was in a compound and our troops had a clear shot at him, they were fully allowed to shoot him.

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

            by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:39:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It is really convient when to get shot isn't it. (0+ / 0-)

          No pesky evaluating different stories. And less paperwork too.

      •  Like when we tried the Japanese navy? (4+ / 0-)

        Oh, wait - claiming that military strikes can only be carried out after a trial is a parody of liberalism invented by right-wingers, and only some sort of fool would fail to understand that.

        The government can shoot at enemy forces during a war.  No, really!

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:35:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is a difference (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, ladyjames

          Between soldiers staffing an enemy ship that is currently engaged in military action against our soldiers...

          And guys who are not currently doing anything of note, but we think are probably terrorists because...well, who knows? The government says so so I guess that's enough.

          I repeat: If they're not soldiers on a battlefield, how do you know they're the "enemy"?

          "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

          by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:43:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not a legal difference. (2+ / 0-)

            How many barracks full of "guys who are not currently doing anything of note" do you think we bombed during the Korean War, World War 2, and World War 1?  How many air fields?  How many hangers?  None of those targets were 'on the battlefield,' and in many cases, the people engaged in those military activities were actively working to conceal them, too.  Just like AQAP.

            It is the job of military intelligence to determine what targets to strike in a war, and the decision is, and has always been, in the hands of the military chain of command.  How did they know that Awlaki was an operational commander in al Qaeda?  Well, partly through the testimony of his co-conspirator, Abdulmutallab, and partly through other means of gathering intelligence about enemy operations.  Just like in every other war ever fought.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:49:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is the success of the Bush Administration (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              tardis10, JesseCW, ladyjames, aliasalias

              That even self-proclaimed liberals have swallowed their rhetoric on foreign policy hook, line, and sinker.

              There is a difference between the German military and AQAP, not the least of which is that the former is a military. WWII had an endpoint--the surrender of the German government--and a defined sphere of operations: Germany and the countries it invaded. What's the endpoint for the "War on Terror"? (Though we already know where the sphere of operations is: everywhere.)

              Most pertinently to this discussion, it is far more obvious whether or not someone is a member of the German military than whether or not they're a "terrorist." There is always some doubt, but if you can't see how it's far more clear-cut whether a building is an aircraft hanger rather than whether or not some dude is a "terrorist" (whatever that means), I don't think there's much I can say.

              How do we know the testimony of Abdulmutallab is accurate and uncoerced? How do we know the "other means of gathering intelligence" didn't screw up, like they have so many times in the past (Iraq comes to mind)? The answer is we don't. You just trust the US government to make the right decisions, at least if there's a Democratic President at the helm. I don't. And that's the difference between us.

              But for God's sake please don't call this a "war" unless you can also tell me when we can stop fighting it.

              "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

              by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:59:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Everything I described predates Bush by centuries. (2+ / 0-)

                The endpoint for the "War on Terror" was January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama took over, and ceased to prosecute what Bush called the "War on Terror."

                The war against al Qaeda, on the other hand, will end...well, why you read what the Secretary of Defense and Direction of Central Intelligence said on that topic last year:

                “Now is the moment, following what happened with bin Laden, to put maximum pressure on them, because I do believe that if we continue this effort that we can really cripple Al Qaeda as a threat to this country,’’ he told reporters on his plane en route to Afghanistan.

                “I’m convinced,’’ he added, “that we’re within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda.’’

                Panetta’s remarks were his first public comments since he became defense secretary July 1, as well as perhaps the most optimistic assessment by the Obama administration regarding the conflict with Al Qaeda.

                Panetta argued that the longtime strategy of trying to defeat the network by focusing largely on its senior ranks - an approach that analysts refer to as “decapitation’’ - was finally paying dividends.

                His statements about a fading Al Qaeda were echoed shortly after his arrival in Kabul yesterday by General David Petraeus, the outgoing commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Petraeus said US drone strikes in the remote tribal areas of Pakistan, near the Afghan border, had done “enormous damage’’ to Al Qaeda beyond the killing of bin Laden.

                “That has very significantly disrupted their efforts,’’ Petraeus added, “and it does hold the prospect of really a strategic defeat - if you will, a strategic dismantling of Al Qaeda.’’

                It's funny - all of this deep, heartfelt concern about how the Bush administration defined the war in a way that made it endless, and when the Obama administration reverses that doctrine and redefines the war into something with a definitive end, and describes how it is going about accomplishing that end, and redirects our efforts towards that end, and people who would have you believe they care deeply about that issue manage not to even notice.

                It makes you wonder how much of their rhetoric on the topic is genuine, and how much is just something they thought might be convenient to say in an argument.

                As for the actual, relevant point you raise - the higher level of difficulty in identifying targets - that is a very real operational challenge.  It is not legally relevant, though.  In every war we have ever fought, there have been situations in which it was not obvious whether this house or that dense spot in the woods or that truck full of men is or is not an enemy target.  Getting to the legal/constitutional question, making that call is the sole responsibility of the military during a war.  We should certainly hold the executive responsible if he and his subordinates screw it up, but it remains their responsibility.

                You just trust the US government to make the right decisions, at least if there's a Democratic President at the helm. I don't. And that's the difference between us

                No, it's not.  You "trust" the executive branch of the government to make that decision in every other wartime situation.  You trust them to figure out if a sonar ping is an enemy sub, and whether a certain farmhouse is being used as a divisional headquarters.  The actual difference between us is that I understand how the existing laws of war apply to this conflict, and you do not.

                But for God's sake please don't call this a "war" unless you can also tell me when we can stop fighting it.
                Again, I urge you to read the link I provided, which answers this question.

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:47:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  First of all, you didn't provide a link (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JesseCW, ladyjames, aliasalias

                  Second, this "war" stopped being against just Al Qaeda a long time ago and you know it. The people we're killing now are suspected "terrorists," not suspected Al Qaeda operatives. And while it may be the case that we're about to defeat Al Qaeda (though I'd prefer harder proof than "stuff Leon Panetta and David Petraeus said"), I see no endgame for lessening Islamic terrorism generally. Indeed, our current actions are most likely increasing the number of terrorists by making even more people pissed against the US.

                  Third, Obama stopped calling it the "war on terror," but he's basically doing the same thing as Bush did, as evidenced by the fact that the entire legal justification boils down to "we're at war." So no, it didn't stop when Obama was inaugurated.

                  Fourth, what exactly is meant by "strategically defeating Al Qaeda"? When there's nobody left who calls themselves "Al Qaeda"? When there's only a few people left who call themselves that? Even taking your quote at face value it doesn't provide a definite endpoint.

                  In every war we have ever fought, there have been situations in which it was not obvious whether this house or that dense spot in the woods or that truck full of men is or is not an enemy target.
                  Yes. But in every war we have ever fought, before now, there have also been enemy governments and militaries and soldiers and defined endpoints.

                  It seems to me (and, I think, to most judges throughout history) very odd to claim you can have a war when one of the participants is a loose rabble with no sovereignty or military, but I guess that just shows how little I know.

                  You "trust" the executive branch of the government to make that decision in every other wartime situation.
                  Well, not really. I recognize that due to the urgency of the situation the executive branch must be given leeway in a situation of armed conflict. However, once the conflict is over, I do expect there to be oversight and to give the victims the chance to sue the government should it be discovered they committed war crimes (see, e.g., My Lai).

                  And this is really the crux of the argument. The executive branch gets special powers during wartime because we simply don't have the ability to have judicial oversight over every case. But that's much different from today's situation. We're not actively engaged in armed conflict in Pakistan or Yemen (at least not officially). This isn't an example of the commander in the field having to make a life-or-death decision; it's a bunch of dudes in suits sitting in an air-conditioned room voting yea or nay on whether this person should die. We're not on a time limit; the vast majority of these guys are not going to kill Americans the next day. We have more than enough time for judicial oversight; the Executive just doesn't want it.

                  That's why I keep emphasizing that this "war" isn't against an enemy government and it has no defined endpoint. There's no urgency here. There's no necessity here. We're not ditching due process because we have to, like in wartime. We're ditching it because we want to.

                  "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                  by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:06:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The link from which the quote came: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo

                    http://articles.boston.com/...

                    Here ya go.

                    The people we're killing now are suspected "terrorists," not suspected Al Qaeda operatives.

                    This is just flat-out false.  You don't know what you're talking about.  Everyone targeted under Obama has been an al Qaeda target.  Not Hizbollah, not Hamas, not the Red Brigades, not the Tamil Tigers, but al Qaeda and its subordinate organizations.

                    Third, Obama stopped calling it the "war on terror," but he's basically doing the same thing as Bush did

                    ORLY?  He's invaded countries that had nothing to do with al Qaeda?  Link?  Because I've been following this pretty closely, and I don't remember any Iraq Wars starting under this President.

                    Fourth, what exactly is meant by "strategically defeating Al Qaeda"?

                    Petraeus has discussed this.  Here's a quote: “There may be elements of al-Qaida out there for some time, the ‘brand’ so to speak, but they will not be able to plan and execute strategic attacks,” he said.

                    That's the victory condition - not the total wiping out of everyone who calls themselves "al Qaeda," but the reduction back to the status of an "ordinary" terrorist group, one that cannot carry out strategically-significant attacks against us.  If you remember, this is basically the same doctrine that John Kerry was talking about in 2004, when he said that the "War on Terror" will be won when terrorism is reduced back down to a "nuisance."

                    Here's another link, addressing this question: http://www.defense.gov/...

                    We're not actively engaged in armed conflict in Pakistan or Yemen (at least not officially).

                    Yes, we are.  Ask Anwar Awlaki.  We are engaged in a different type of armed conflict, but it is still legally a war, being carried out through military means.  That means we get to shoot at the enemy.

                    It has never been the case that, during a war, it is only legal to shoot at the enemy when they pose an imminent threat.

                    Your opinion about whether we should be fighting a war is fine, but the fact remains that we are, and the actions taken against al Qaeda targets need to be analyzed in terms of the prosecution of a war.

                    It simply is not valid to argue that using means of war is illegal because you don't think we should be fighting a war at all.  If that is your argument, fine, but don't try to use bad law with no basis of support as a decoration to make what is a policy criticism seem more important.

                    Art is the handmaid of human good.

                    by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:35:06 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Responses (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ladyjames, aliasalias

                      Everyone targeted under Obama has been an al Qaeda target.

                      Oh please, this one's easy to rebut.

                      http://www.nytimes.com/...

                      One early test involved Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. . . .

                      The C.I.A. worried that Mr. Mehsud, whose group then mainly targeted the Pakistan government, did not meet the Obama administration’s criteria for targeted killing: he was not an imminent threat to the United States. . . .

                      Mr. Obama, through Mr. Brennan, told the C.I.A. to take the shot, and Mr. Mehsud was killed,

                      He's invaded countries that had nothing to do with al Qaeda?  Link?

                      First of all, this isn't what I was talking about and you well know it. If the entire justification behind this program is "we're at war," Obama is continuing the war Bush started, even if he's prosecuting it differently.

                      Second, have you ever heard of a country called "Libya"?

                      That's the victory condition - not the total wiping out of everyone who calls themselves "al Qaeda," but the reduction back to the status of an "ordinary" terrorist group, one that cannot carry out strategically-significant attacks against us.

                      And how will we know when that has occurred? And what is meant by "strategically-significant attacks"--surely any terrorist group is always able to carry out some sort of attacks against us?

                      Finally, the link you provided suggests that we've already dealt significant damage to Al Qaeda--and that was a year ago. In that case, shouldn't the "war" be over by now?

                      We are engaged in a different type of armed conflict, but it is still legally a war, being carried out through military means.

                      Really, legally a war? I don't recall us declaring a war against Yemen. Maybe I was sick that day.

                      Your opinion about whether we should be fighting a war is fine, but the fact remains that we are,

                      Every definition of war I've ever seen has required that both participants be governments. If we're fighting a war against Al Qaeda because we call it one, then clearly we're fighting a war on drug dealers because of the "War on Drugs."

                      "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

                      by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:52:37 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You do know there's also a war in Af-Pak, right? (0+ / 0-)

                        The strikes on the Taliban, on either side of the Durand Line, are part of the Afghan War.  We were talking about the other war, the war against al Qaeda, and whether it had been expanded beyond al Qaeda.

                        Also, the UN mission in Libya had nothing to do with the war against al Qaeda.  It was a completely separate operation, that had no connection at all to either of the wars being fought under the September 2001 AUMF.  You have to get out of the habit of treating everything that happens in Muslim countries as part of the same thing.

                        And how will we know when that has occurred?
                        Did you read the links I've provided?  Panetta and Patraeus are pretty specific about that: they seem to have a set of targets whose elimination would amount to the successful decapitation of al Qaeda.

                        And what is meant by "strategically-significant attacks"--surely any terrorist group is always able to carry out some sort of attacks against us?

                        A strategically-significant attack is one that, like the 9/11 attacks or the near-sinking of the Cole, does enough damage to compel a change in our actions.  Not all attacks are strategically significant.  Being able to kill three people with a suicide bomb in a shopping mall is horrible, but it isn't strategically significant.

                        It's important to understand that the administration's statements show that they understand this, and that they don't intend to fight the war until they achieve some mythical protection against any an all acts of terrorism - just that they intend to do what John Kerry said, turn it back into a nuisance.  This is a goal that is actually achievable, and does not imply an endless war, but a finite one.

                        In that case, shouldn't the "war" be over by now?
                        The Normandy break-out was a big victory, too.  Was the war over in the summer of 1944?  No, but it helped bring that end closer.  Now it's pretty much just Zawahiri left.  The war is almost over, but no, it's not completely over.
                        Really, legally a war? I don't recall us declaring a war against Yemen.
                        That's because we aren't fighting a war against Yemen.  We're fighting a war against al Qaeda - you might remember Congress voting to authorize it in September 2001 - and Yemen is one of the places we're doing so, just like Belgium, with whom we were not at war, either, was one of the places we fought a war against Germany. In this case, we're fighting that war against al Qaeda alongside Yemen, whose government is also at war with them and their local allies.
                        Every definition of war I've ever seen has required that both participants be governments.
                        Perhaps you need to look for definitions of military terms in places other than blogs written by people who take pride in their ignorance of all things military, because there is no shortage of wars that have been fought against non-state actors.

                        Art is the handmaid of human good.

                        by joe from Lowell on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 02:41:11 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  was it a war when we invaded Mexico to chase (0+ / 0-)

                  Pancho Villa? How come no one tallks about that? And what was the blowback from that exercise. And how would you feel as an American if another country decided we were the enemy in the war on terror and came into the US to assassinate a few terrorists like Bush, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Chaney, Panetta, Petraus, etc.

                  What if the Chinese or the Russians decided the world needed to be protected from the US. Would you grant them the same rights you grant our countries leaders. Do you not think the Russians have confidence in their leaders to make sure that only "bad" Americans died. Or that innocent American lives were a price to be paid to protect Russian lives. Or that the use of any weapons was acceptable as long as it kept Russian causalities down.

        •  We didn't know all of their names, either! (1+ / 0-)

          Or maybe FDR lost their roster.

          •  Cute (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            Maybe you will answer my question. If they're not engaged in active hostilities against us, how do you know someone is an "enemy" without a trial?

            "He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing."--Socrates

            by TealTerror on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:13:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  konoyaro yabanjin will have to do (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TealTerror

            since I don't know how to say disingenuous tool in Japanese.   My great-grandfather's former student and greatest failure sent a formal declaration of war, which sealed the deal.  Don't try to be a bigger konoyaro than Darwin made you.  

            "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

            by LucyandByron on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 03:37:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  When there is a war you can (0+ / 0-)

          when you are being attacked you can. While the Japanese were attacking Pearl Harbor the Japanese ambassador was delivering a Declaration of War to the State Department. It was supposed to be delivered at the time the attack started but was not delivered until after the Japanese Navy started to sail back home. We did not need to declare war on them, they declared war on us. There fore a legal state of war existed between us and Japan.

          But without a legal state of war military action is illegal. And we are not in a state of legal war with anybody. You may not like the law but that is the way it is. Instead of breaking the law we might start to change it. But until then we are law breakers.

    •  It hurts her argument, so she ignores it. (4+ / 0-)

      If she tried to plead this in a court filing, she'd face Rule 11 sanctions for unethical behavior.

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

      by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:32:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So far, zero (0) support for her factual claim. (5+ / 0-)

      The diarist made, quite vehemently, a point of fact, claiming that Awlaki was not an operational commander, just a propagandist.

      I've cited very good evidence to the contrary.  Not a single person has offered the slightest evidence for her story.

      But what's even more disturbing: nobody seems to care.  The truth just doesn't matter.

      That is profoundly depressing.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:54:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Evidence is linked in the diary (5+ / 0-)

        From the New York Times:

        Until about two years ago, few in Yemen or the Arab world had heard of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born propagandist for Islamic radicalism whose death President Obama celebrated as a major blow against Al Qaeda.

        “A dime-a-dozen cleric” was one response, by Gregory Johnsen, a Princeton professor who studies Yemen. Another: “I don’t think your average Middle Easterner knows who Anwar al-Awlaki is,” said Emad Shahin, a scholar of political Islam at Notre Dame University.

        While Western officials and commentators saw the end of Mr. Awlaki as another serious loss for Al Qaeda, a very different reception in the Middle East was the latest reminder of the disconnect between American aims and Arab perceptions. In a region transfixed by the drama of its revolts, Mr. Awlaki’s voice has had almost no resonance.

        “I don’t think this will really get people’s interest, I can’t imagine why it would,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center. “It seems totally irrelevant to how Arabs view the world right now. They don’t care about Awlaki.”

        My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

        by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:02:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did you paste the wrong passage? (4+ / 0-)

          That quote doesn't address the question of his involvement as an operational commander to the slightest degree, one way or the other.

          Nobody disputes that he was a propagandist as well as being an operational commander.

          So, once again, do you have even the slightest evidence that Abdulmutallab's testimony, and the statements from the intelligence agencies, are wrong?

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:50:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Which proves only that he was not a (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mets102, RhodaA, Hedwig, jiffypop, Pozzo

          popular figure in the Arab world, NOT your assertion that he was not an operational commander.

          Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

          by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:51:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So I suppose that next we will be killing anyone (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SpecialKinFlag

            who has had anything to do withe the Turner Diaries or the Anarchists Cookbook. I did the "google" thing and found no credible source that could give proof enough to kill someone that Alwaki was an operational commander. A NYT article claiming anonymous sources is not going to cut it when it comes to a life or death decision. Or did you forget how badly they screwed up their coverage of Iraq. An alleged single confession from someone who has not faced a trial and accepted a jail sentence and escaped the death penalty is not a credible source.

        •  That's opinion (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jiffypop

          Not evidence.

      •  You expected support? (1+ / 0-)

        Ever the optimist, you must be

      •  Truth is out of style... (0+ / 0-)

        Let us all feast on outrage.

        Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

        by angry marmot on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 06:43:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Please present your evidence. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpecialKinFlag

      The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:27:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Citation or its not true (0+ / 0-)
  •  Whw are people going to wake up (11+ / 0-)

    to the fact that industry is driving American policy?

    Whether it's BP being put in charge of it's own spill, or MI manufacturers endorsing killing a certain amount of people to create a constant need for their own wares by both sides,  or the so called prison-industrial complex needing a drug war, the US government has been abandoned to these interests of the very groups that it should be regulating, in many cases out of existence.

    In this case, the war on terror, being a replacement for the Cold War, needs to create real and imagined terrorists for it's continued existence.

  •  Awlaki - "The truth is more complex" (9+ / 0-)

    Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency, by Daniel Klaidman

    What worried President Obama most was Awlaki’s ingenuity in developing murderous schemes that could evade America’s best defenses. Already he had launched the Christmas Day plot, in which a Nigerian operative had nearly brought down a packed airliner by trying to set off explosives hidden in his underwear. Then, in October 2010, AQAP had managed to put improvised bombs—ink toner cartridges filled with explosive material—on cargo planes headed to the United States ... During the summer of 2011 Obama was regularly updated on a particularly diabolical plan that AQAP’s master bomb builder, Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri, was devising. The intelligence indicated that he was close to being able to surgically implant bombs in people’s bodies. The wiring was cleverly designed to circumvent airport security, including full-body scanners ...

    The capture of a Somali operative who worked closely with Awlaki produced key intelligence ... Finally, in the spring and summer of last year, U.S. and Yemeni intelligence started to draw a bead on him. A tip from a Yemeni source and a fatal lapse in operational security by the cleric eventually did him in.

    The standing orders from Obama had always been to avoid collateral damage at almost any cost ... But as the Americans were closing in on Awlaki, Obama let it be known that he didn’t want his options preemptively foreclosed. If there was a clear shot at the terrorist leader, even one that risked civilian deaths, he wanted to be advised of it. “Bring it to me and let me decide in the reality of the moment rather than in the abstract,” he said, according to one confidant.

    In September, U.S. intelligence tracked Awlaki to a specific house in Al Jawf province, where he stayed for two weeks—often surrounded by children. On the morning of Sept. 30, however, Awlaki and several of his companions left the safe house and walked about 700 yards to their parked cars. As they were getting into the vehicles, they were blown apart by two Hellfire missiles.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/...

    •  Shh, poor innocent al Awlaki was just an angry (6+ / 0-)

      blogger according to the diarist, who has not bothered to read or acknowledge a single report of the dozens out there linking him to terrorist operations.

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

      by Geekesque on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:30:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The "intelligence indicated" that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, ladyjames

      Saddam was a couple years from a nuke.

      Real intelligence is offered for review.

      The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:37:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No it did not (0+ / 0-)

        Many in the intelligence community were sounding the alarm that the program did not exist. They were ignored. No-one is really disputing the above. They're disputing the legitimacy of the way the decision was made -which is an argument worth having - but if your argument is going to rest on the assumption that the intelligence about Awlaki was wrong, that is an argument that I think you will lose. Better to build an argument that assumes its true and go from there.

        •  No. We're disputing claims made based on (0+ / 0-)

          secret evidence presented only in a star chamber, to a government we're supposed to trust because they're our politicians.

          "For example, I would support the wholesale annihiliation of an entire country...men, women, children, cats, dogs, whatever... if it is done to directly prevent the exact same from happening here." TooFolkGR

          by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:03:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The details have been pretty heavily covered (0+ / 0-)

            in the press. They've just never been revealed in an official capacity. I'm fine if people have a problem with the trust aspect of this. I was objecting to someone saying that they didn't believe such intelligence existed or the conclusions of it. That part seems naiive to me. You have to resolve your distrust with that aspect or we don't anywhere.

          •  ANd honestly (0+ / 0-)

            I don't see ANYONE making the "because they're our politicians" argument, that's a bit of subtext that everyone is reading into everything built on the assumption that no Democrat could rationally support this sort of thing unless a bias of that sort was at play. I find it to be extremely condescending. Some people here, myself included, see reasoning at work behind what is happening.

  •  How many? (5+ / 0-)

    I think it's a moral "lesser of bad choices" question, like the trolley problem. So, as few as practical, I guess. Is it possible to achieve zero? If so, how?

    I'd rather no one get killed. Failing that, the fewer the better.

    Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

    by SoCalHobbit on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:01:12 AM PDT

    •  Neither the Constitution nor U.S. law authorizes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, PhilJD, ladyjames, aliasalias

      the President to set aside the rule of law, regardless of the threat and even if it is the "lesser of bad choices," which hardly seems the case here. If Obama finds that the law does not allow him to protect America, he ought to seek to change the law, not simply "re-interpret" - a.k.a. twist, mangle, or shred - the law in secret.

      My book, TRAITOR: THE WHISTLEBLOWER & THE "AMERICAN TALIBAN," is Amazon's #1 Best Seller in Human Rights Books for February 2012.

      by Jesselyn Radack on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:06:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was addressing (0+ / 0-)

        the moral question in your title for which the answer is a number.

        It sounds like you have more of a legal objection than a moral one. I think the moral question is more fundamental, whereas legality doesn't necessarily imply fairness, justice, or morality. If you want to argue that the legal system works, fine, take the President to court... what could go wrong?

        Free University and Health Care for all, now. -8.88, -7.13

        by SoCalHobbit on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:26:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The argument for abuse is a good one, but (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure you know what the Obama admin's argument is: this saves American soldiers lives, since we do not have to commit boots on the ground.  If you don't deal with that argument, you won't change anything.

    "A Republic, if you can keep it."

    by Publius2008 on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:26:36 AM PDT

    •  With drone warfare, the US military has (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Publius2008, ladyjames

      no skin in the game. Historically, it has only been when American military casualties have become unacceptable that the US stopped many of its wars of aggression.

      What's to stop them now?

      •  The best argument is, if we have (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, ladyjames, Jarrayy

        the right to characterize people as terrorists and assassinate them, why should other countries not have a similar right--particularly with people who live here in the USA?

        "A Republic, if you can keep it."

        by Publius2008 on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:36:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  After how many dead US servicemen? (0+ / 0-)
          By early 2011, Mr. Obama had seen enough. He told his staff to arrange a speedy, orderly exit from Afghanistan.
          Military Fatalities By Year -  Afghanistan
          2001    12   
          2002    49   
          2003    48   
          2004    52   
          2005    99   
          2006    98   
          2007    117   
          2008    155   
          2009    317   
          2010    499   
          2011    418   

          If drones had been used from the very beginning and no Americans had been killed would Americans really care about Afghanistan?

          Looks like this won't end with the removal of al Qaeda. I figure the drone attacks in the AfPak region will continue to escalate in the coming years. American foreign policy will almost certainly guarantee continuing conflict in the area with new adversaries.

          But he was placing an enormous bet: his goals now focus largely on finishing off Al Qaeda and keeping Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from going astray. Left unclear is how America will respond if a Taliban resurgence takes over wide swathes of the country America invaded in 2001 and plans to largely depart 13 years later.
          •  I think you're right about the last part (0+ / 0-)

            but I think a withdrawal will help. A lot. And I think where we disagree is that I don't see any path to withdrawal that does not involve a lot of people dying, as counterintuitive as that might sound. That's why I was against going in in the first place.

          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

            The number of drone strikes in Pakistan has been decreasing since 2010. This year there have been 22 so far. By June 6, 2011, there had been 35, and by June 6, 2010, there had been 39.

            •  Do you know of any studies of drone strikes (0+ / 0-)

              in Afghanistan?

              Britain's part in deadly drone strikes

              Media reports of US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen are becoming almost a daily occurrence (Editorial, 6 June). By stark contrast, drone strikes by British and US forces in Afghanistan are almost invisible. Given that the US has more than 10 times the number of armed drones operating in Afghanistan – and that we know there have been more than 250 British drone strikes there – it is likely that overall there have been more than 2,000 drone strikes in the country. While under international law the launching of air strikes in Afghanistan is considered differently from those launched in Pakistan and Yemen, civilians in Afghanistan must still be protected, particularly in a situation where it is hard to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants.
              ...

  •  And this is why I am no longer a Democrat (7+ / 0-)

    Many Democrats are falling all over themselves to defend the endless slaughter of this president.

    I didn't support it under Bush and I sure as fuck don't support it under Obama.

    No wonder I evolved away from this blog a year ago.  It has been a real pleasure.  If not to check up on Wisconsin I wouldn't have stopped by back.

    Nice to see someone is still posting about Obama's human rights abuses.  Thanks!

    No nation can be great if it allows its elites to loot with impunity and prosecutes its whistleblowers. Geithner is destroying the things that made America great. -- Bill Black, white-collar criminologist & a former senior financial regulator

    by jboxman on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:19:10 AM PDT

  •  This issue illustrates one of the biggest concerns (11+ / 0-)

    that I have with modern politics. I don't believe that those hear defending the Obama administration's drone strike policy would have been defending these actions if they had been taken by the Bush administration. And if you think that Bush would have been wrong to these things, the only way to supporting Obama is hypocrisy.

    I wasn't against the Iraq war because a Republican started it. I was against the Iraq war because it was wrong. Similarly I am not against Obama's drone strikes because I am an Obama hater. I am against them because they are wrong.

    But some people seem to have adopted an IOKIYAD position. Which I feel is just as morally bankrupt and indefensible as when conservatives have a similar mindset.

    "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people." -Tony Benn (-6.38,-6.36)

    by The Rational Hatter on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:21:33 AM PDT

    •  I'm going to have to watch that movie, the Good (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, ladyjames, aliasalias

      German, to get some perspective here.........
       

      The film's title alludes to the notion of "a good German", one who ostensibly was not to blame for allowing Hitler to persecute the Jews and others, and who did not see the Holocaust as it occurred before his eyes.

      In addition, the title is an allusion to the phrase common among soldiers of the Allied Powers during the invasion of Europe after D-Day, that "The only good German is a dead German" - and the consequences of this death are seed for all that follows in the story of the film. Thematically, the film centers on guilt, and whether it is possible to survive the atrocities while being unaware of and not complicit in them.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

      by allenjo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:41:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why argue when you make the assumption of bad fth (0+ / 0-)

      on the other side? What's the point? You unilaterally eliminate the grounds for discussion. Would you like me to psychoanalyze you and determine what your motivation is in this fight? I would prefer to debate on the merits.

      •  Are you saying that if the Bush administration (0+ / 0-)

        had launched these attacks that resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians that you wouldn't be critical of those decisions? That's not a rhetorical question. I really want to know if you only think drone strikes that kill civilians are acceptable if a Democrat orders them.

        If you just think that drone strikes that kill innocent civilians are ok, then we disagree and I think you're wrong. Some things are just axiomatic.

        "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people." -Tony Benn (-6.38,-6.36)

        by The Rational Hatter on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 03:51:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For what it's worth (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe

          Here's what I believe:

          I opposed the war in Afghanistan and protested at the time.
          I opposed the war in Iraq and protested at the time.
          I opposed both not out of altruistic reasons but because I thought they were bad ideas. This has turned out to be right.

          I also believe that once we went into these places, the argument of just leaving became untenable. (This is one of the reasons I opposed going in in the first place.)

          At this point, my tentative support of the drone program is that I see it as part of a larger picture wherein we are trying to reset our priorities. This involves three things:

          1. Dislodging our selves from Iraq and Afghanistan
          2. Shifting our strategy to one that targets individual terrorists and groups, rather than one that involves nation building in the middle east (this was the goal of both misguided wars)
          3. Minimizing political fallout which - let's face it- could jeopardize both of the above.

          Step one of this process was shifting focus from Iraq to Afghanistan - something that was required in order to draw down in Iraq. Once it became clear that Karzai was not a reliable partner, step two was to produce a withdrawal time zone for Afghanistan. In order to minimize political fallout and to prevent an instant break out of total chaos, step three was to tie said withdrawal to a temporary troop surge that would give us "breathing room". Step four was to up the drone attacks, so as to put in place a system that can exist after we withdraw and to put Al Qaeda into a state of operational chaos that would buy us time and, again, "breathing room". Step five will be getting the fuck out of Afghanistan.

          I've known that this is what Barack Obama would do since the time he was a candidate - he made it pretty clear - and I supported him in the primaries partly for that reason, because i thought it was a smart strategy for ending this unholy clusterfuck of a situation that Bush put us into.

          So it doesn't come to Dem or Repub for me. It comes down to one guy who was trying to expand a troops-on-the-ground-government-toppling-project across the entire middle east and one guy is being calculated and ruthless in undoing that goal.

          It is these two qualities that set you off but I think they may be the only thing that can save us.

          So to answer your question: if a Democrat got us stuck in a goddamn quagmire and a Republican was being ruthless in trying to get us out of it, yes I would probably support him, because I believe that the quagmire is ultimately worse for civilian life and more morally craven than the painful extraction.

          I would also add that I think the questions Jesselyn brings up about rule of law are valid ones but unfortunately, we are in an extremely fucked up political environment. If I were Obama, I would not jeopardize the withdrawal by handing Republicans a mallet to beat me with on an easily demagogical issue.

          Is that amoral? On a micro, every day scale, yes. On a macro scale, I think it's debatable. And being president requires you to think in those terms.

          I think we should push hard for rule of law just as everyone here is doing. I think you should criticize the president.
          But I also don't fault the president for refusing to listen to those criticisms at this time and place. Let's get the hell out of the quagmire first.

          dislodge

          •  Ya know... I don't agree with you but I respect (0+ / 0-)

            your opinion. I'd write a counter but I don't think we're going to come to any sort of agreement. We just disagree on this one.

            "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people." -Tony Benn (-6.38,-6.36)

            by The Rational Hatter on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 09:58:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The alternative is sending (9+ / 0-)

    troops into hostile territory to arrest these suspected terrorists and bring them out of said territory alive so they can stand trial, OR just letting them fester, regroup, and grow, and hope and pray that they never attack us again.

    Which one?

    Facebook
    Up-to-date weather forecasts and information at State of the Skies.

    by weatherdude on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:29:31 AM PDT

    •  Oh come now, liberals like her don't have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weatherdude, Pozzo

      to live in the real world.

      Where would they stable their unicorns?

      •  the real world (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, Jarrayy, ladyjames, aliasalias

        but research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children.  A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.

        Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.

        There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days. Because the attacks are carried out by the CIA, no information is given on the numbers killed.

        Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

        by greenbastard on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:17:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  State-sanctioned extra-judicial executions (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladyjames, aliasalias, SpecialKinFlag
          John Brennan, the president’s top counterterrorism adviser, argues that the US has the right to unilaterally strike terrorists anywhere in the world, not just what he called ‘hot battlefields’.

          ‘Because we are engaged in an armed conflict with al- Qaeda, the United States takes the legal position that, in accordance with international law, we have the authority to take action against al-Qaeda and its associated forces,’ he told a conference at Harvard Law School last year. ‘The United States does not view our authority to use military force against al-Qaeda as being restricted solely to”hot” battlefields like Afghanistan.’

          State-sanctioned extra-judicial executions
           But some international law specialists fiercely disagree, arguing that the strikes amount to little more than state-sanctioned extra-judicial executions and questioning how the US government would react if another state such as China or Russia started taking such action against those they declare as enemies.

          http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/...

          Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

          by allenjo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:42:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  John Brennen of the Bush Admin, of the executive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            allenjo, ladyjames

            branch says its ok. That doesn't make it ok.

            and people on this site argued against these same things, once upon a time.

            I don't know why you highlighted the part that argues in my favor:

            But some international law specialists fiercely disagree, arguing that the strikes amount to little more than state-sanctioned extra-judicial executions and questioning how the US government would react if another state such as China or Russia started taking such action against those they declare as enemies.

            Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

            by greenbastard on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:58:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We are on the same side here, green. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ladyjames, aliasalias

              That the administration thinks that it can make its own laws and states that the "US has the right to unilaterally strike terrorists anywhere in the world" strikes terror in my heart.

              Who defines who is a terrorist? It goes back too much to those kidnapped and taken to the "torture prisons", and we know many of those were innocent and later released.

              No, just because Brennen said it doesn't make it true or right.

              I abhor this sense that America is not to be bound by any laws. I feel that we are becoming a lawless nation.

              Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

              by allenjo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:15:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Is this Red State or Dkos? (4+ / 0-)

        The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

        by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:43:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "liberals like her" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LucyandByron

        If you aren't a liberal, why the fuck are you here? Liberalism is the point of this site.

        "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

        by joey c on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:37:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They never have alternatives. (4+ / 0-)

      Or, their alternative is "don't do anything" which calls into question their credibility in an unbiased evaluation of military actions.

  •  "The more the US bombs, the more they grow." (13+ / 0-)
    Gregory Johnsen of Princeton University is an expert on Yemen and he told me that the rain of drone attacks has strengthened the hand of terrorists there.

    "Look at Yemen on Christmas Day 2009, the day the so-called underwear bomber attempted to bring down a flight over Detroit.

    "On that day al-Qaeda numbered about 200 to 300 individuals and they controlled no territory. Now today, two-and-a-half years later, despite all the drone strikes al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has tripled in size, it's now around 1,000 members and it controls significant territory.

    "The more the US bombs, the more they grow."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

    Daniel Ellsberg, “It was always a bad year to get out of Vietnam.”

    by allenjo on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:32:45 AM PDT

  •  Look at democrats sound like the Bush admin (9+ / 0-)

    in defending what was once openly scorned by democrats.

    How long before some defender of these policies says the constitution isn't a suicide pact.

    How much defending of this must you see before you realize things have changed in party, and the Bush paradigm is being fully institutionalized.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:45:47 AM PDT

    •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lawrence

      The fight against al Qaeda has always been and continues to be supported by most Democrats.

      Personally, I far prefer the selective drone strikes utilized by this administration over the full-scale invasions and "shock and awe" from Rumsfeld et al.  It's not even close.

  •  So 247,500 people were saved by Obama? (3+ / 0-)

    Maybe that's why he has the Peace prize and you don't?

    Conventional methods for fighting terrorists in that part of the world killed at least 250,000 people under Bush, and probably double or even quadruple that.

    If Obama can put much more focus on drones and prevent that much death, I think that's great.

    You can argue that it's immoral for me to think that.

    I can argue it's immoral for liberals like you to pretend the real world alternative to Obama's policies isn't far far worse.

    •  ah the same justification for torture (6+ / 0-)

      Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

      by greenbastard on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 10:53:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't even make sense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo

        There was no justification for torture that hinged on the idea that more conservative administrations would do far worse things if we didn't torture.

        Throwing around nonsense like that just makes liberals like you look brainless and irresponsible.

        Yes, you hate people who point out how liberals contribute to war crimes by only allowing black and white solutions in their moral universe: ie no death or unleashing monsters like Cheney.

        People like you are far more responsible for Cheney's evil than people like me or Obama.

        Alternative solutions to the problem of terrorism are needed, and they do need to be tested and proven to result in less death. That's what Obama has done, thank God.

        If people like you were successful in undermining the efforts of people like Obama, you wouldn't achieve a more peaceful world. You'd end up with Cheney telling the world that his solution is the only solution available.

        Your way is the way of mass death, and it's inhuman.

        •  no, it's that torturing and killing one can save (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, aliasalias

          many others, that's the same justification

          Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

          by greenbastard on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:07:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and the Peace Prize is now an insult to that prize (0+ / 0-)

            Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

            by greenbastard on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:13:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Killing one can save many others in war (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pozzo, Lawrence

            Torture isn't effective.

            But killing military leaders is.

            I've always felt that war should be less about killing poor soldiers who fight wars for leaders, and more about leaders duking it out - as much as that's possible.

            And in the end, those Al Qaeda leaders are going to be targeted one way or another.

            We have several real world options for how to do that.

            The traditional way results in 250,000+ deaths.

            The Obama way evidently results in, worst case, 2,500 deaths.

            Your way of non-violence involves 250 unicorns, but unfortunately unicorns don't exist, so I can't include it in the real world options list.

            Once the technology exists to create unicorns, I'll happily go with that way if it satisfies America's agenda wrt terrorism and results in less death.

            •  less attacks on me, and more on the issue (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, ladyjames, burlydee

              would be appreciated.

              The alternative to breaking the sovereignty of other countries (which invites the same against us) and assassination from the air -is to work with the govts involved and get on the ground.

              Assassination has widely been condemned, especially by democrats, until now.

              Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

              by greenbastard on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:29:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Working with" the military in Pakistan (0+ / 0-)

                is one of those items that's not on the real world list in my opinion.

                I don't think they have any interest in undermining Al Qaeda, quite the opposite actually.

                The military runs Pakistan, not a government.

                I prefer the drone attacks to getting involved in a war with Pakistan in order to take down their military (the underlying problem in much of this).

                War has also been widely condemned by Democrats.

                If we could have no war and no drone attacks and no terrorism, I'd prefer that, certainly.

                But I'll take drone attacks over war.

                War is just an assassination that necessitates a lot of poor people dying before you get to take out the leader anyway.

                I'm just not willing to put an intellectual and moral purity test over saving as many people as possible in the Mideast, given American citizens' expectations on taking out terrorists.

                I think playing those games with these issues is actually the real moral failing.

                And I think liberals have been guilty of it for a long long time. And I think it's killed hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, or tens of millions.

                •  pakistan wants an alternative (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ladyjames, aliasalias

                  http://online.wsj.com/...

                  they see these killings of their citizens (the collateral damage), and the assassinations on their land as a breach of their sovereignty, and it is

                  Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

                  by greenbastard on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:55:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes it is (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Pozzo

                    It is a breach of their sovereignty.

                    If they want to go to war over it, they can try.

                    I wouldn't start it, but they can try to take that position.

                    If people feel they can trust the folks who harbored Bin Laden to take out Al Qaeda operatives, you can do that.

                    If they prove they can do what our drones are doing in their stead, great.

                    And once they prove it, we can stop our drones and I'll be extremely happy.

                  •  At least they say they do (0+ / 0-)

                    in reality, their government supports the drone attacks. They have to make protest of course, or else they will end up looking like total stooges and that would not be smart politics.

            •  But that's not the reason for drones (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BigAlinWashSt

              It's because Americans prefer not to risk any of their own lives, and no other lives matter.  Some are passionate about preserving the lives of blastocysts, and call that defending life.   We have not yet reached the point of thinking deeply about the meaning of life.

              "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity" -W.B. Yeats

              by LucyandByron on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 03:49:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Our invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with (5+ / 0-)

      "fighting terrorists".

      The club is all their law, to keep all men in awe That they no vision saw to maintain such a law

      by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:45:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But it's part of the real world and the way (0+ / 0-)

        our country operates according to the traditional way we conduct these operations.

        Our military decided they needed Iraq as a base of operations to conduct this larger ground assault against Al Qaeda. They thought it would draw terrorists to Iraq. They didn't care that it was immoral and illegal. That was the real world result in terms of how we can expect our military and political leaders to behave.

        And that's why Obama took that option off the table for those crooks by focusing on drone attacks.

        •  I don't think it was the military that decided (6+ / 0-)

          to attack Iraq.  It was Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the neocons in that administration.  The military saluted and obeyed orders, but I don't think many of the generals thought it was a very good idea.

          As for why those politicians wanted to attack Iraq, whatever the reason was, I don't think it was for Iraq to serve as a means to attack Al Qaeda.

          The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

          by lysias on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 01:44:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're naive about most of the people (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Last Years Man

            who work at a high level in our military.

            And I also think you overestimate how much Democrats were really "unclear" as to what was happening and the real motivations behind it.

            They just didn't have the political will after 911 to not play along.

            •  I'd have to be shown evidence that most (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Last Years Man, JesseCW, fuzzyguy

              of the people who work at a high level in the military would have adopted such a boneheaded tactic.  My experience with them (and I have worked as a mid-ranking officer in the Pentagon) is that most of them are far too intelligent and professionally minded for that.

              The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

              by lysias on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 03:45:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  That's simply not true. The Pentagon was not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BigAlinWashSt, fuzzyguy

          pushing for that war - Bush was.  And he was pushing for it before the towers fell.

          Obama isn't blowing childen to bits with drones because it magically prevents the Pentagon from invading Pakistan.

          He's doing it because, for whatever reason, it's what he wants to do.

          "For example, I would support the wholesale annihiliation of an entire country...men, women, children, cats, dogs, whatever... if it is done to directly prevent the exact same from happening here." TooFolkGR

          by JesseCW on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:02:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know, Jessalyn, how many? (6+ / 0-)

    If it IS single digits is that OK?  If it's tens of thousands is that equal to the the tens of thousands killed in terrorist attacks?  Do we get 1 civilian for every roadside bomb?  10?

    Who determines who's innocent?  Who defines terrorists?  Does my friend have a right to grieve the friends dead in a coffee shop bombing, or is it "their" fault for insisting on a State of Isreal?

    Until there was real intel, the common wisdom was OBL was a toothless has-been.

    There are no good answers here.  There's no moral highground.  Terrorism is a losing proposition all around.  Denying that it exists didn't work well for us 9/11/2001.  Pretending we can fight terrorism from the moral highground  is specious.  

    My question to is this.  How angry will you be if the next terror attack kills your family?  How often will you ask why our system didn't prevent it?  How many innocent civilians will die for a corruption of religious beliefs?  

    You write outrage very well, but you miss the complexities and our choice to be ignorant of the reality of terrorism.  

    I have no answers to these questions, just regrets that we preferred to see ourselves as the good guys when we were toppling governments and funding the Taliban & AQ.  

    I appreciate being told the truth for a change.  Every damn thing Obama says that you denigrate is a change I can believe in.  He's treating us as though we're smart enough and mature enough to live with imperfections and gray areas.    

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 11:04:36 AM PDT

    •  The diarist refuses to answer her own question or (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pozzo, sviscusi

      to provide any principles for helping decided it.

      Rather, everything she says is an excuse as to why she needn't engage in her own chosen topic:  either the constitution forbids the operations making them all a moot point, or she needs intel, or something.

      Despite being unwilling to answer the questions herself, she's perfectly willing to say that we don't know if Obama would answer the question with "thousands".   His silence in her diary is damning: her evasions is proof of her high standards.

      Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really thinks thats the best of all possible Americas.

      by Inland on Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 12:03:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You need help answering that question? LOL (0+ / 0-)
        •  I'm not afraid to try. She is. And maybe you. (0+ / 0-)

          It's a serious question that deserves serious consideration.   If the diarist isn't willing to try, and just passes the buck to the Constitution or the president, than she shouldn't be both posing it and condemning others for doing her ethical and constitutional considerations for her.

          You have anything to add in terms of an answer, or are you just the guy adding a laughtrack to matters of life and death?

          Romney is campaigning to be President SuperBain; his cure is to cut wages, end pensions, let companies go bankrupt, and let the assets of production go dark or be sold to China. He really