Skip to main content

View Diary: On Drones. (77 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Dude, your agenda-underwear is showing... (0+ / 0-)

    .... and it has visible poo stains.  

    Really: the anti-Obama cynicism totally undermines your arguement.  

    President Clinton asked Pakistan for help getting Bin Laden, and, what do you know?, Bin Laden scooted right quick.   Pakistani ISI is downright infested with Talibans.  In all probability Yemeni intel & LE are also infested with Talibans.

    What do you do when the locals are already infested to the point where asking them only results in the suspect scooting off to some even-safer-haven?  

    And, assuming that your objection is to the civilian casualties (I don't use the euphemism "collateral damage"), how'bout sniper-drones?   Equipped with long-range rifles, "one target, one bullet", just like the Marine Corps snipers but remote-controlled?  

    With that, we could identify senior AQs, and their tech support such as bomb-makers, and take them out with zero civilian casualties.  


    I'll be quite clear about this:  I believe the technology is evolving in that direction, and it will be possible to do it within five years.  In which case I whole-heartedly approve of that as an alternative to conventional warfare.  Take out the enemy leadership, one at a time, zero civilian casualties.  

    All of this should still require a Congressional declaration of war, and some kind of reporting and other checks & balances.  And there should be provisions whereby foreign hostiles can turn themselves in to international authorities (e.g. the UN) to be charged in international court.  But once war is declared, it's open season on enemy leadership, and their only option is to turn themselves in or face the prospect that their last words on Earth will be, "Oh look, is that a UFO?"

    "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

    by G2geek on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 07:11:53 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  You certainly have a lot of shoulds, and ifs, (0+ / 0-)

      assumptions, and hopes for success in killing the right people in your future scenarios.  That is a whole lot of karma you are assuming for yourself.  For your sake, I hope you are "right".  "Oh wow, I get to make the determination of who lives and who dies".  Best wishes to you in your exactitude and certainty.

      "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

      by helpImdrowning on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 07:39:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  if where you're coming from is... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical, SoCalSal

        ... principled pacifism, I can respect that.

        For that matter I'm basically a pacifist with a few exceptions: defense of self or innocent others, and defense of country against foreign attack.  I also believe in the "just war" theory, that seeks to restrain warfare to its most limited circumstances and objectives.  

        AQ demonstrated an attack capability equivalent to that of a small nation's military force.  They attacked both civilian targets and the headquarters of our national defense.  By any definition, if they were a nation-state, that would have been an act of war, and it would have called for us to go to war to eliminate any future threat from that source.

        In a world where technology and infrastructure can be hijacked for hostile purposes and used for mass casualty attacks by foreign sub-national groups, such groups have to be dealt with in a manner proportional to the nature of the threat.  

        AQ has demonstrated military-equivalent strength, so a military response is reasonable.  

        The fact that Bush basically fucked it up bigtime, and if anything made it worse, does not mean that Obama should unilaterally declare peace until the next time they hit us and kill a few thousand people, or a few tens of thousands.

        The minimal definition of military victory is to defeat the adversary's will to fight.  The key question is how to go about obtaining that result with the minimal risk to innocent persons.  

        Drone warfare is evolving toward precisely that goal: being able to snipe the leadership without causing civilian casualties.  

        Admittedly it causes civilian casualties now.  But those civilian casualties are far fewer in number than have occurred with any method of warfare since the advent of "modern" firearms in the mid 19th century.   And the trend of technology development is toward increasing accuracy and precision, thereby decreasing the civilian casualties.   All of this conforms to the "just war" theory.  

        As for the issue of who gets to make that determination:

        Our elected officials decide, and our military follows the lawful orders of the chain of command.  

        That means the moral burden is on us, the citizens, to elect Presidents who can be counted on to take their duties as Commander-in-Chief with the utmost seriousness and execute those duties with mindfulness and all due caution.  

        I believe that Obama has done so.  He has managed the exit from Iraq on schedule as he claimed.  He is managing the progress toward exiting Afghanistan as he claimed.  He took out Bin Laden and senior AQ leadership without widening the scope of American ground combat.  

        Those items demonstrate that he takes his duties as C-in-C with the utmost seriousness, mindfulness, and all due caution.  

        There's something else about Obama that I happen to know because it's a cognitive trait that is somewhat unusual and that both he and I have:  "Keatsian negative capability," the ability to doubt your own preferred hypotheses and subject them to rigorous scrutiny.  I saw that in him during the 2008 primaries, which is why I supported him in the first place.  People who actively doubt themselves are few and far between in national politics.  Those who do so with the degree of intellectual and emotional self-discipline Obama has demonstrated, are far fewer.  

        The bottom line is that war in any form is hell, and nobody knows it like the people who fight in it.  A thoughtful President also knows it because he has to deal with the diplomatic consequences, and he sees the returning coffins and speaks with families of deceased service members.  

        We didn't bring this upon ourselves, except perhaps by failing to go into the streets in huge numbers when Bush was "selected" in 2000, and again when the 2004 election was subject to enough questionable circumstances as to raise the legitimate question of whether it was overtly stolen.  

        But we did turn out in full force in 2008, and we elected the best of the best.  That does not mean that unpleasant realities will immediately go away.  Far from it: cleaning up after eight years of the Bush Admin's supreme ineptitude and neocon dogma in action, leaving us with multiple national crises and emergencies, should by all reasonable predictions take decades.  The fact that it has been managed as well as it has, is a strong point in Obama's favor.  

        If there's someone else you would rather have sitting in that office, by all means let us know.  

        "Minus two votes for the Republican" equals "plus one vote for the Democrat." Arithmetic doesn't care about their feelings either!

        by G2geek on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 08:18:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is nothing wrong with having an opinion (0+ / 0-)

      There is nothing wrong with having an opinion.  My opinion about drone strikes or the Obama administration is no more biased than your opinion about the same.

      You are correct Pakistan and its role in our war.  One of the reasons we can not leave Afghanistan is because of Pakistan.  US troops in Afghanistan regularly receive fire from over the Pakistan border (our supposed ally).  Indeed, the US drone strikes in Pakistan occur with Paki intelligence, and after the drone strikes, the Paki government will condemn the drone strikes.  So the government both aid and condemns the drone strikes at the same time.  And well they should because the Paki government is not liked by the people of Pakistan, in part because of the bombings the Paki people suffer at the hands of their ally, the US.

      So the question goes back to you: what do you do?  Invade Afghanistan where the war is not?  Invade neighboring Pakistan, our supposed ally?  Continue bombing our ally?  Go home and hope the problem goes away?

      What I suggest - stop the "war" and re-engage in police work - may be no more effective in stopping terrorism than our 11 years of war in Afghanistan.  But it does have the advantage of 1) conforming to US and international law; 2) stops the bombings of civilian non-combatants, 3) works with and not against an allied government;  4) aid our leaving Afghanistan; 5) is likely a great deal less expensive for US tax-payer.

      There are many good reasons to end drone strikes.  Continuing drone strikes and advocating drone strikes for the sake of president Obama's re-election is as groteque as supporting the war in Iraq so Bush could gain re-election.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 07:55:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site